Blackburn get the game underway attacking the visitor, but Newcastle calmly anticipated them. The Lads seems to forget ing last weekend horror against the Kop and start the game with their heart sets to make the Toon Army proud of them.
In an early attack from Given long ball sets Milner on the attack. He has space to attack but pick out Oba Martins who hurtling into the right-hand side of the area but his ball lacks of direction and drifts away for a goal kick. Given have couple of easy save in the opening minutes from David Dunn's efforts.
In a dangerous ten minutes minutes of play where Newcastle is often being caught, David Dunn nicks the ball past the sliding challenge of Nicky Butt 20 yards from goal and is caught by the United midfielder – Martin Atkinson shows no hesitation and shows Butt a yellow card. Bentley takes the resulting free-kick but Given saves comfortably in the middle of the goal.
Later on 16 minutes of play, Blackburn has a dangerous movement with Tugay zips a pass into the feet of McCarthy 30 yards out, the South African then flicks the ball into the path of the forward running Santa Cruz.
The Paraguay striker breaks the offside trap and is clean through with only Given to beat, United's number one alert the danger and rushes from his line to narrow the angle. Luckily for him and the Magpies, Santa Cruz's chipped effort drifts wide of the upright for a goal kick.
Unluckily for Faye, he has receiving treatment for a knock to his ankle. I thik he is not in a match fitness condition and being replaced by Stephen ‘I hope he's good today' Carr.
the Magpies best chance of the half coming as Barton plays a clever ball in-behind Emerton for Martins to scamper after, the Nigerian retrieves and drills a low ball across goal which Blackburn fail to deal with.
The ball eventually spins loose for Geremi who's shot is blocked by Samba, still the ball is not cleared and Barton is next to have a crack but he scuffs his right-footed effort into the ground to have the American Friedel saves.
Newcastle looks to have enjoyed this game more than our last couple match and a giant banner with some positive chants from travelling Toon Army. This is good, and Barton would love it I'm sure.
From a series of good ball possesion in attack and neat passes released Martins scooping an outrageous pass in-behind the backline and set the ball for Alan Smith to run onto.
Toon striker decides to shoot first time rather than take a touch but the effort loops over the crossbar much to the relief of the home crowd – that was wor real opening of the first half. We are playing football today, getting it down and passing unlike the last few games.
Allardyce clearly has changed his approach for this one. We have lots of movement and everyone is looking for the ball. This is something that we are all wanted to see from the Lads, and the Toon fans are surely getting behind the team.
The only breath taking moment for the Magpies is in the injury time when Rozehnal turns into trouble 40 yards out after receiving a pass from Shay Given. The Irishman is still stranded when David Bentley takes aim off the ball for the empty net, luckily for United his strike is wayward couple of yards wide.
Certainly an improvement in general by Newcastle United team in first-half performance, the Geordies love this and hopefully the second-half will be more attractive and we can get the best out of this game. C'mon lads!!!
Blackburn Rovers FC:
Brad Friedel, Andre Ooijer, Christopher Samba, Stephen Warnock, Tugay, Brett Emerton, Aaron Mokoena, David
Bentley, David Dunn, Benni McCarthy, Roque Santa Cruz
Subs: Jason Brown, Robbie Savage, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Steven Reid, Jason Roberts
Newcastle United FC:
Shay Given, Habib Beye, Charles N'Zogbia, David Rozehnal, Abdoulaye Faye (Stephen Carr 25″), Nicky Butt, Joey Barton, Geremi, Alan Smith, Oba Martins, James Milner
Subs: Steve Harper, Mark Viduka, Emre, Jose Enrique
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Attendance: 27, 477