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Sam Allardyce has added Alan Smith up-front for the first time this season as a striker alongside Oba Martins against Everton today. The decision to be made as the first choice Mark Viduka can’t make it because injury.
Newcastle start the match immediately with a series of serious threats inside the Everton half and have an early two corner kick.For the first time, Smith-Martins duet is causing real problems for the Everton defenders. They combine to work together for an opening for Martins, who skips inside Yobo’s challenge on the edge of the area but drags his left-footed strike wide of Howard’s upright.
Another Premier League debutant, Jose Enrique produce an excellent United move to feed Milner on the left, the young winger gets by the Everton full-back Tony Hibbert and drives the ball to the by-line before pull-back for a queue of Magpies bodies inside the penalty area, but Yobo reads the situation and forces a corner from Milner’s cross.
The Toon Lads finally have the deserved goal in 42 minutes after N’Zogbia slips the ball wide to Smith and he pulls back across goal, Lescott can only half hack the ball clear.
Nicky Butt gets ahead of former Man Utd team-mate Phil Neville before curling a beautiful right-footed effort into the top corner and beyond a despairing Tim Howard to give the Geordies a lead.
The second half shows a little bit improvement by the visitor side as the Magpies look to turn the tempo down a bit.
James McFadden being replaced by Andy Johnson who is later produced an equalizer for the visitors in 53 minutes.
Smith also get his 5th yellow card this season and having one-match suspension because of it for a sliding challenge of Lescott, although it looks he’s got the ball before his feet.
Newcastle made double subs in 74 minutes with Emre takes Milner’s place and Oba makes a way for Owen. The visitor also replaced Stephen Pienaar with Leon Osman.
The replacements made immediate impact for the Magpies with Owen and Emre look promising. In 80 minutes, Newcastle have a penalty appeal waves away by the referee when Emre bursts into the box and goes down under the challenge of Lescott.
Finally, in 86 minute Emre proved that he is worth to be in first team squad with his goal.
Owen returns a ball into a crowded penalty area where Lescott heads away, the ball only goes as far as Emre and he lets fly with an absolute screamer which nestles into the bottom corner of the Gallowgate End as St.James’ Park erupts – 2-1 to the Geordies! YEAAHHHH!!!!
We have a very breath-taking end at second half with Owen scores to make it 3-1.
This time Emre is the provider for unmarked Michael Owen who heads in the Turk’s free-kick from eight yards out for his third of the season.
Inside the five minutes of injury time, Shay Given failed to safe wicked Smith’s deflection from Mikel Arteta’s cross, to give a glimpse of hope for the visitor side. But the Lads playing well to keep the lead until the final whistle.
Well done Lads, next time better for Given (if) when Allardyce make his call again for him to guard the Magpies goal. But imho, Steve Harper will soon back to his post for the next Newcastle United game, as Given has given too many goals for the opponents so far, 6 goals in three games in charge.
NUFC: Shay Given, Habib Beye, Jose Enrique, Abdoulaye Faye, Cacapa, James Milner (Emre 74″), Nicky Butt, Geremi (David Rozehnal 88″), Charles N’Zogbia, Alan Smith, Oba Martins (Michael Owen 74″)
Subs: Steve Harper, Steven Taylor,
EFC: Tim Howard, Phil Neville (Yakubu 90+1″), Tony Hibbert, Leighton Baines, Joseph Yobo, Joleon Lescott, Mikel Arteta, James McFadden (Andy Johnson 46″), Stephen Pienaar (Leon Osman 74″), Lee Carsley, Victor Anichebe
Subs: Phil Jagielka, Stefan Wessels
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Attendance: 50, 152