Newcastle 1 Manchester Utd 2: Fizzy Fergie is seven up
05 March 2009 02:19
Ryan and Steven Taylor, inseparable since they teamed up at Newcastle, will want to forget last night's defeat by champions Manchester United who continued their relentless march by restoring their lead in the Barclays Premier League to seven points.
Steven Taylor, 23, has not heard the last of his pointless and vicious punch to the side of Cristiano Ronaldo's head, which was missed by referee Steve Bennett. Once the match official and the FA hierarchy have seen replays of the incident, the England Under 21 captain is likely to face a disciplinary hearing and suspension.
After Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand had chased Taylor to the halfway line and then earned a booking for remonstrating with Bennett after the half-time whistle, Ronaldo and Taylor continued their spat in the tunnel and had to be pulled apart by other players.
A ban for Taylor will simply add to the growing problems for Newcastle's caretaker manager Chris Hughton, whose record now reads one win from eight games in temporary charge.
And it was midfielder Ryan Taylor who gifted Sir Alex Ferguson's champions their club recordequalling 11th League victory in a row which gives them back their supremacy over nearest rivals Chelsea and Liverpool
with a valuable game in hand.
Anfield boss Rafa Benitez had pleaded with Newcastle to do their bit to help Liverpool's faint title hopes, as if a club threatened by the bottom three - and home games with Arsenal and Chelsea now coming up - needed any motivation.
For all Newcastle's endeavour and commitment, which was evident from the first minute but sadly lacking for much of their dreadful season, Ryan Taylor's misjudgment completely ruined their night when the score stood
He slipped as he tried to chest a long punt from halfway from Wayne Rooney back into the path of goalkeeper Steve Harper, but the decision to use his upper body rather than his head was not exactly wise.
The loose ball fell at the feet of Ji-sung Park, who clipped it across to Dimitar Berbatov and the striker sidefooted past the sliding Fabricio Coloccini to score his 13th of the season.
Ferguson's men could have added to their lead after that but Harper made a number of excellent saves, denying Berbatov, Ronaldo and Rooney with the kind of stops which support the theory that the club can cope with the loss of Shay Given.
Newcastle had deserved their ninth-minute lead with a goal which denied Edwin van der Sar the European record for clean sheets in the process.
Ferguson was upbeat afterwards, but admitted: 'We could have been two down actually. They were pumped up for it and it was a hairy spell for us, but coming back from one down is a good result for us.'
Holland international Van der Sar was mocked by chants of 'dodgy keeper' from Newcastle supporters for the role he played in Peter Lovenkrands' second Newcastle goal since he was signed on a free transfer by Joe Kinnear in January.
Lively Jonas Gutierrez seemed to catch Van der Sar by surprise when he turned inside John O'Shea in the visitors' area and unleashed a deadly, bouncing cross-cum-shot which skimmed off a surface that still had a light covering of snow.
Edwin van der Sar (had conceded a first League goal in 1,311 minutes
Van der Sar spilled the Argentine's shot into the path of Lovenkrands, who tapped home from close range. The goal meant Van der Sar had gone 1,311 minutes without conceding a goal but he fell 80 minutes short of breaking Bruges keeper Danny Verlinden's record.
And the United keeper was fortunate not to concede a second as Newcastle took the game to the champions, creating one sweeping move on the counter-attack which Obafemi Martins should have finished.
Gutierrez and Lovenkrands created the opening for Martins who powered past Nemanja Vidic at the edge of the area but unleashed a low shot into the side-netting. Martins was also denied on the line by Ferdinand when Van der Sar spilled a Ryan Taylor corner.
Vidic, who should have scored from a Michael Carrick corner, was then booked in the 19th minute for a reckless challenge on Martins at the edge of the penalty area and new signing Ryan Taylor clipped his right-footed free-kick over the bar.
Seconds later, Ferguson's side were level with a goal which demonstrated their frightening power and pace on the break. Park and O'Shea played an incisive one-two around Jose Enrique down the right, O'Shea played the ball in to Rooney's feet and the England striker turned Fabricio Coloccini with embarrassing ease just inside the box before unleashing a shot which flew past Harper in an instant.
The defeat means Newcastle have won once in their last 12 games and they have now gone six without a home win - a record which could well be extended to eight after Arsenal and Chelsea have visited.