Shearer And That Missed Penalty
Ipswich come to SJP for the first time since 2002 ... the day Alan Shearer let them off the hook. LAST TIME IPSWICH CAME TO ST JAMES' PARK ... 2001/2 NEWCASTLE UTD 2 IPSWICH 2 NEWCASTLE: Given, Hughes, Dabizas, O'Brien, Distin, Solano (Lua-Lua 76), Jenas (Dyer 65), Acuna, Robert, Shearer, Cort (Ameobi 76). Subs Not Used: Elliott, Harper. IPSWICH: Sereni, Makin, McGreal, Hreidarsson, Venus, Wright, Peralta (Magilton 83), Holland, Clapham, Marcus Bent (Armstrong 86), Stewart. Subs Not Used: Marshall, Counago, George. Att: 51,115 Alan Shearer experienced the thrilling highs and unbearable lows of football in a matter of five minutes as Newcastle could only draw at home against relegation-threatened Ipswich. Bobby Robson's Magpies were in the end grateful for Shearer's late equaliser to rescue a point - and save face - after Marcus Bent's double had put Ipswich in the driving seat, but the Newcastle captain also wasted a chance of victory by missing a penalty in injury time. The manner of the miss was almost as bad as the cost to Newcastle in terms of points, Shearer skewing the spot-kick horribly wide and then holding his head in despair as the referee blew the final whistle. It was a case of Ipswich biting the hand that once fed them. Robson, who did so much for the East Anglians during the 1970s and 80s, could have done with a helping hand with Chelsea breathing down Newcastle's necks. League defeats by Arsenal and Liverpool are one thing. A fortunate home draw against a relegation candidate is rather different and Robson's Magpies are now just three points ahead of Chelsea, who are in hot form, in the fourth Champions League spot. At least Robson should have Kieron Dyer for the rest of the season. TheEngland midfielder has spent a miserable eight weeks on the sidelines with a stress fracture of the foot, but came off the bench against the side where he began his career. Ipswich began as if they lives depended on it - not surprising after four consecutive defeats which had dragged them back into serious relegation trouble - and in the opening seconds Jamie Clapham struck a 25-yard shot which Shay Given was forced to tip past the post. Newcastle's first attack of note saw Nolberto Solano free Alan Shearer with a brilliant pass over the defence but the Newcastle captain wasted good possession by attempting a low cross instead of cutting the ball back to the unmarked Jermaine Jenas. Ipswich's early spark had been dampened and Carl Cort came close to extinguishing it altogether. Cort controlled Solano's fabulous long pass on his chest, held off John McGreal and fired in a low shot but just too close to Sereni, who was able to save. The frustration was building for Newcastle, and Jenas had a 20-yard shot deflected wide off Mark Venus before Shearer provided the best moment of the half. He won the ball on the edge of the area, slipped it to Laurent Robert and then hit the return pass first time while running across the box. Sereni did quite magnificently to parry the shot, and once again Newcastle were thwarted. As in the first half, Ipswich began the second at the gallop. First, Bent beat the offside trap and set Stewart up for a shot which was blocked, Jermaine Wright firing the rebound high. Stewart should have done better with an attempted lob, but he made up for it when he created a goal for Bent in the 50th minute. The Ipswich striker looked just level with the Newcastle backline as he sprinted onto Stewart's header and sidefooted the ball through Given's legs. Newcastle fought back and on the hour, Solano was fouled needlessly by Venus and Newcastle had a free-kick in a perfect position for Robert: 25 yards out, slightly to the right of goal. The Frenchman did not disappoint - though his performance until then hadbeen less than impressive - and he curled a wicked free-kick into the corner of the goal with Ipswich keeper Sereni doing a passable imitation of a statue. Three minutes later, all Newcastle's good work was undone. Sereni's long kick upfield was missed by Dabizas, and to compound the error Andy O'Brien then made a hash of controlling the ball. Bent capitalised fully, shooting low past Given for his second of the game and ninth of the season. After the goal, Robson thrust Dyer into the fray but to the anger of many Newcastle fans, young Jenas - who has already established himself as a crowd favourite - was the player to make way. Dabizas should then have scored a legitimate goal when he ran onto Robert's angled ball but somehow shot wide from six yards out. Robert provided a quality cross from a seemingly innocuous position andShearer planted a header into the top corner to send waves of relief rippling around the stadium. In injury-time came a moment of pure drama when McGreal clattered Acuna in the area. Riley pointed to the spot, Shearer stepped up and against allexpectation missed. It was the last kick of the match.
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