The Day Shearer Ducked The Keane Haymaker!
A sad statistic ... the last time we beat Man Utd at St James' Park was TEN years ago. We won a 7-goal thriller and Shearer called Roy Keane a "Dickhead". Happy days! 2001/2 Newcastle 4 Man Utd 3 NEWCASTLE: Given, Griffin, Elliott, O'Brien, Dabizas, Solano, Acuna, Lee (Barton 45), Robert, Shearer, Bellamy (Distin 90). Subs Not Used: Harper, Lua-Lua, Ameobi. MAN UTD: Barthez, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Blanc, Brown, Beckham, Veron, Keane, Giggs, Cole (Scholes 59), van Nistelrooy. Subs Not Used: Carroll, Butt, Silvestre, Johnsen. Att: 52,056 Newcastle captain Alan Shearer handed manager Bobby Robson a precious victory over Manchester United in his 100th game in charge. The former England skipper struck eight minutes from time to win a pulsating encounter which ebbed and flowed throughout. The home side looked to have it won just seven minutes into the second half when defender Nikos Dabizas made it 3-1 after Laurent Robert's brilliant free-kick and and Rob Lee's first goal since April last year. But the visitors, who had equalised through Ruud van Nistelrooy, then scored twice in a minute through Ryan Giggs and Juan Sebastian Veron and looked the more likely winners until Shearer's intervention. And in a fiery finale, Roy Keane was dismissed for the second time in three seasons at St James' Park for aiming a blow at Shearer. Andy Cole and Dutchman van Nistelrooy linked up in attack for the champions, while there were returns for midfielders David Beckham and Giggs. Shay Given, Dabizas and Lee - all rested for the Worthington Cup victory over Brentford in midweek - were all back, as were Craig Bellamy and Robbie Elliott, both substitutes on Wednesday night. Robson sent his players out under orders not to be afraid of the task that lay ahead, and they needed his advice from the off to put the visitors under extreme pressure. The game was only four minutes old when the nevertheless impressive Laurent Blanc was penalised for a foul on Shearer 25 yards out and Robert took control from the free-kick. With Beckham, Veron and Nolberto Solano on the pitch, the match had a glut of dead-ball specialists, but any of them would have been delighted with the the left-footed strike which the Frenchman sent rocketing into Fabien Barthez's top corner to give his side the lead. But the men from Old Trafford have not established themselves as one of the best sides in Europe for no reason, and they flew at their hosts in the search for an equaliser. Giggs, Beckham and Veron in particular got the bit between their teeth and, despite some sterling work from opposite numbers Lee and Clarence Acuna, began to feed Cole and van Nistelrooy with increasing regularity. The equaliser duly arrived on 29 minutes when the Dutchman turned smartly on a knock down from Cole and drove a low shot past Given. Referee Steve Bennett waved away strong penalty appeals from the home side seconds later when Bellamy was sent sprawling by Phil Neville's challenge, and they were still brooding on his refusal when Lee lifted the gloom after 34 minutes. Picking the ball up inside his opponents' half, he ran forward before unleashing a right-footed strike which bounced in front of Barthez, who could only help the ball into the net. The Old Trafford side should have equalised five minutes before the break when Giggs picked out van Nistelrooy unmarked at the far post, but he hit his volley into the ground and Given was able to push the ball over the bar. The home side were never going to be able to sit on their laurels after the break, and they went about preserving their lead in the best way possible by adding a third goal within seven minutes of the restart. Solano's corner was half-cleared to Robert and his shot from distance cannoned into Dabizas, who reacted first to lash the ball into the roof of Barthez's net. But that simply served to sting the Red Devils further, and their response was devastating. Former Magpie Cole was jeered from the pitch as he made way for Scholes on 59 minutes. But his side were back in contention within four minutes when Giggs smashed a volley past Given and then Veron capitalised on some sub-standard defending to thump home the equaliser barely a minute later. Beckham, Giggs and Co battled to make their hosts pay, and Barthez was a virtual spectator for much of the half. Blanc nicked the ball off Bellamy's toe in front of goal on 78 minutes and his side raced to the other end for Scholes to force a fine save from Given. But the home side were not done as Bellamy exploded past Blanc and fed Solano, whose shot was blocked by Barthez, but Shearer followed up to hammer a piledriver into Blanc on the line and into the back of the net. Scholes saw two late efforts drop agonisingly wide as the Magpies rode their luck. However, Bellamy could have made it five deep into injury-time after rounding Barthez, but he shot wide.
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