Newcastle United 2 Doncaster Rovers 1
Newcastle United 2 Doncaster Rovers 1 MIKE ASHLEY was taunted at St James Park on Saturday but striker Marlon Harewood was the prime target of disgruntled home supporters. Kevin Nolans late, late strike handed Newcastle a first victory in five but it masked another poor performance by Chris Hughtons side in a contest that lacked quality but overflowed with talking points. Harewood, on loan from Aston Villa, was roundly booed from the pitch when replaced by Nile Ranger on the hour. He has only been on Tyneside for a couple of months and enjoyed a dream start when he scored on his home debut. But the majority of fans seem far from impressed by Harewoods efforts. A failure to chase down an Andy Carroll through ball earned him a barracking from the home fans after only ten minutes; his game never improved. He lacked quality and desire and must show a lot more of both to have any hope of securing a permanent deal. Nolan, whose stunning strike sent Newcastle back to the top of the Championship, backed Harewood to silence his critics. The Scouser grabbed his eighth goal of the season and his impressive displays have won over Magpies fans who last season doubted his commitment to the cause. He is confident that Harewood can do the same. I was quite disappointed for him, revealed the midfielder. Since hes come to the club Marlon has been injured, but hes a big lad and a great player and weve seen what hes got in training. He scored a vital goal for us against QPR not so long ago, so we cant lose sight of everything thats gone on over the last few weeks. The fans wanted Nile on and hes a young lad who has come in, but we cant forget the job Marlon has done for us since hes come here. Hes been fantastic. Hes a great lad, hes walked right into the changing room and got on with everyone. Theyre the type of characters we want. I was disappointed for him but Ive had it and weve all had it as players. Weve just got to get on with it. Hell bounce back and score goals, we know that. Im sure theyll soon be singing his name again. Nolans winner in the second minute of injury time helped paper over the cracks after another lacklustre display. Doncasters league position suggested that they are a below-average side in a poor quality division. But they passed the ball with greater precision than their hosts and thoroughly deserved to take the lead when Dean Shiels slotted home after 18 minutes. Had Sean ODriscolls side pressed their advantage the outcome could have been very different. Former Sunderland midfielder Martin Woods second half penalty miss also let the home side off the hook. Referee Darren Deadman had little hesitation in pointing to the spot with 15 minutes to go after Ryan Taylor blocked Billy Sharps header with his hand. But Woods, with two penalties to his name already this season, planted his effort six feet wide of the left-hand post. Nolan used his experience to unsettle Rovers while Andy Carroll worked hard to lead the line. But too many of Hughtons side failed to impress. With neither Fabricio Coloccini nor Steven Taylor fit to play, the Newcastle defence appeared vulnerable. An ankle injury to Danny Simpson had forced the caretaker boss to hand Tamas Kadar debut league start. The Hungarian struggled while Nicky Butt, named captain in place of the suspended Alan Smith, was way off the pace in midfield. Carrolls superb equalising volley came after he and Jonas Gutierrez had spurned gilt-edged chances to draw level. A shot from six yards out that Carroll managed to steer wide will haunt the young striker but he showed guts to bounce back. The home support became increasingly restless and amid the usual catcalls for Ashley to leave the club there were chants for Alan Shearer to be named manager and some angry comments directed toward Hughton. The crowd turned their ire on the referee once he showed Zurab Zhizanishvili a red card. However, the defender was foolish to grab Sharp by the neck as he and Butt tangled with one another five minutes from time. Nolan called his winning goal a get out of jail card for the team. He later revealed that poker sessions have helped the team to bond off the pitch and led to their never-say-die attitude during games. Were only talking about £10 poker nights, theres nothing extravagant, he said. There are no sharks! Were talking about ten or 12 lads getting around a table together, having a giggle and just a bit of down time and relaxing. Steven Taylor, surprise surprise, Ryan Taylor and Peter Lovenkrands are the main organisers of the poker nights. To be fair, weve only just started that really. But when were on the team bus or reach the team hotel we all stick together. We dont just get off and go to our own rooms, which is what normally happens. We have a good bit of banter before the game to keep everyone relaxed and I think its working. We went bowling at the beginning of the season, we go for meals quite regularly. If we keep all together, stick together, keep showing the character we have done, well keep getting the results we have done. It was because we were thrown together in difficult circumstances, thats what it was. Hughton admitted he was disappointed by the crowds treatment of Harewood but hailed their loyalty to the club. As good as this crowd are, what they want is a team thats winning, said the caretaker boss. We feel the emotions and when things not going they will air their abuse because thats the passionate support. How many teams are going to play Doncaster, with respect to Doncaster, and have 43,000 If we manage to stay at right end of the table, we will be approaching a full house this season. Match facts Goals: 0-1: Shiels (18, fired home past the stranded Harper from 10 yards) 1-1: Carroll (67,cracked a superb low volley across goal) 2-1: Nolan (90, collected Guthries pass to drive past Sullivan from edge of the penalty box) Bookings: Shiels (36, unsporting behaviour), Harewood (56, unsporting behaviour), Nolan (75, dissent), Chambers (76,unsporting behaviour), Sharp (85, unsporting behaviour) Sending-off: Khizanishvili (85, violent conduct) Referee: Darren Deadman (Cheshunt): Harsh sending-off that could have changed the game 4 Attendance: 43,949 Entertainment: NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): 6 Harper: Rarely troubled but could do little about the opening goal 6 R Taylor: The best performer in a very shaky-looking back four 5 Kadar: Never seemed to settle and made a couple of errors that could have proved costly 4 Khizanishvili: Unfortunate to be sent off but foolish to get involved in the fracas 5 Enrique: Linked with Gutierrez on the flank but not one of his better days 6 Gutierrez: Missed a great chance to level, made some decent driving runs in the second half 5 Butt: Did not look match fit, will benefit from getting a game under his belt 7 NOLAN: Superb finish, used his experience to badger the visitors in midfield 7 Guthrie: One of the few Newcastle players to show energy and flair 7 Carroll: Nicely taken goal almost erased memories of his earlier howler 2 Harewood: Isnt showing enough to secure himself a permanent deal Subs Ranger (for Harewood 60): Demonstrated a lot more effort than the man he replaced 7 Tozer (for Gutierrez 88) (not used): Krul(gk), Donaldson, Geremi, Lovenkrands DONCASTER ROVERS (4-5-1): Sullivan 6; OConnor 6, Chambers 6, Shackell 6, Hird 5; Woods 5, Fortune 6, Coppinger 7 (Hayter 77), Gillett 7 (Oster 66, 5), SHIELS 7; Sharp 6 (Guy 85). Subs (not used): Woods (gk), Spicer, Dumbuya, Heffernan MAN OF THE MATCH KEVIN Nolan came to the rescue to grab an unlikely victory.
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