Ryan Taylor's winner sparks triple celebration
A JUBILANT Ryan Taylor was toasting a triple celebration in the wake of Saturday's derby-day winner at the Stadium of Light. First, the full-back embarked on a delayed 27th birthday celebration, having been forced to spend most of his actual birthday in a hotel room on the eve of this weekend's game. Second, he sparked an early party to mark the impending arrival of his first child, with his partner, Kimberley, due to give birth in the next seven days. And third, he wrote his name into Newcastle United folklore by scoring the only goal of the game as the Magpies recorded their first win at the home of their greatest rivals, Sunderland, since April 2006. As far as hat-tricks go, that's not exactly a bad one. It's certainly been some week, said Taylor, who followed in the footsteps of Liam O'Brien and Scott Sellars to score a free-kick winner against Sunderland. That one was for the little bump in the Mrs' belly. I am going to give that goal to the baby. It's our first, and it should be here in a week or two maximum. It's also a nice delayed birthday present. It's not nice spending your birthday in a hotel room away from the Mrs, especially when she's about to drop. I had an afternoon at home (on Friday) with the family, and they had a birthday cake ready. But then I had to leave to link up with the rest of the squad. Most important of all though, it's a big game for the club and the fans. We all know what it means to them to beat Sunderland. If nothing else, Saturday's winner surely puts Taylor back into credit in the eyes of the fans, who have seen him score a succession of direct free-kicks against Newcastle down the years. Ironically, one of the most memorable came on Boxing Day 2007, when Taylor scored the only goal of the game against the Magpies for a Wigan side that was managed by a certain Steve Bruce. Bruce sold the full-back to Newcastle as the make-weight in the deal that took Charles N'Zogbia to the DW Stadium. Three years later, and the Liverpudlian came back to haunt the Sunderland manager in some style. I've scored quite a lot of goals against Newcastle in the past, said Taylor. But hopefully this will cancel them off. I'm a Newcastle player, I love being part of the club, and I want to play here for as long as possible. I work on the free-kicks, so to have it pay off in such a big game as this is fantastic. They don't always come off, but when they do they're special moments, and I don't think you can score a better one than away to your rivals in front of the away fans. I saw it go in, and before I could react, there were about seven bodies on top of me. It's gone in, and before I could celebrate, I got piled on. I celebrated after that though. Steven (Taylor) said, 'Come on, let's go over to the fans'. We went bananas and the fans were doing the same. Taylor would not even have been playing on Saturday had Newcastle succeeded in their week-long chase for a replacement for Jose Enrique. Talks with PSV Eindhoven broke down over the possible transfer of Dutch international Erik Pieters, although Alan Pardew remains keen to resurrect a deal and travelled to Holland yesterday to watch the defender in action. Further talks are planned for today, with Newcastle officials hoping to reach an agreement that will see Pieters receive permission to travel to the North-East. However, with the Magpies keen to keep their options open, Lyon full-back Aly Cissokho remains an alternative target. Pardew is determined to land a new left-back before the transfer window closes on August 31, but having acquitted himself excellently in the opening two games of the season, Taylor insists he will not be relinquishing his starting spot without a fight. I welcome competition, he said. Although if we'd got a left-back in before the Arsenal game, I might not have been playing. As it is, I'll keep on playing and giving my best. Even though left-back is not my natural position, I will always put in a performance to stay on the pitch. It's been a tough start for everyone, but for me personally, to get through the game against Arsenal in an unfamiliar position was difficult. You don't play against world-class players like Gervinho and (Andriy) Arshavin every week, but it went well. We ground out a result, and that just shows what team spirit we have in there.
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