Season 2005-06 Result
Newcastle United 2-0 Portsmouth
 C.N'Zogbia 41,
 A.Shearer 64.
 A.Griffin.
Date: 04/02/2006  Venue: St.James' Park  Competition: Premiership
Crowd: 51,627
Match Report Submitted on 06/02/2006 by Johna
SHEAR RELIEF

At the start of the season Portsmouth at home would not have appeared to be a glamorous must see game but given our current predicament, it actually turned out to be quite a memorable day.

Firstly all credit and praise must go to Alan Shearer for becoming THE greatest goal scorer in our clubs famous history. Congratulations Alan, you are an absolute legend who has committed his all to his beloved home town club despite the financial and trophy laden promises of certain clubs who will remain nameless. Your place in history is now guaranteed for the foreseeable future.
Now down to the game….our first since the overdue departure of Mr Souness. As commented mid-week, enough was enough and he was finally removed. I truly believe this man and his tactics and motivation skills (not) could have taken us down!

So what would today bring? First of all a team-hug!!!!! What was going on… a United show of solidarity and teamwork…lack of commitment not allowed under Glenn and Al.

We then lined up 4-4-2 with the usual suspects in the back 4, Nobby and Charlie on the flanks, with Emre and Scotty in the middle and Al and Shola upfront. Portsmouth started with one upfront in Mwarawari and a 5 man midfield of ex Spurs players, Mendes, Davis and Routledge, Alessandro and O’Neill, at the back, Kiely Taylor, Primus OB and Griff.

From the off the crowd were up for it with noise rolling down from the stands. This obviously inspired the team who played with commitment and passion from the off. What a refreshing change to see us play with width, Emre prompting and probing, Parker shifting bark, winning every 50/50, 40/60 30/70 and even 20/80 ball!! Both Nobby and Charlie prepared to take the ball wide and at the fullbacks.

Kiely played extremely well foiling Charlie and making a superb double save from Shola and Al. Then in the 41st minute, the ball was worked wide to Nobby who lobbed a great ball back into the 6 yard box where Al got infront of his marker to head downwards at goal. Kiely again saved brilliantly with his feet but the ball broke free to Charlie who calmly passed the ball into the bottom corner past Kiely’s despairing dive. So the team were applauded off for the first time in 3 months clearly good value for our 1 goal lead with Shay not having one shot to save.

Harry changed things around at the start of the second half bringing on Parmarot for Griff and Todorov for Routledge and playing 2 upfront. This made more of a game of it and Portsmouth started to edge their way back into with Davis and Mendes gradually making an influence. Surprisingly enough, our back 4 coped with everything although it has to be said that they were up against a distinct lack of quality…”down with the makems”seemed an appropriate cry!

The moment 51,000 fans had been waiting for duly arrived in the 64th minute. Shola played in Al one on one ….the ground held its breath and then big Al shot early past Kiely …cue mass hysteria as the ground erupted to salute the greatest centre forward England and Newcastle have ever seen….Goal number 201.
There’s only one Alan Shearer echoed around the ground whilst all the Newcastle players mobbed him and Alan was truly overcome. The praise continued for a full 5 minutes and big Al duly acknowledged the Gallowgate end as history sunk in!

Given then proceeded to give us a scare as he launched himself at Mwaruwari but fair play to him he stayed on his feet and tried to find the net form out wide with Bramble clearing easily. The game was now effectively over as a contest and we still had time to see both Dyer and Bowyer brought on together by Roeder (tongue in cheek??) and we passed Portsmouth out of the game over the final 15 minutes. So all is well that ends well and the 3 points came as a massive boost but more importantly there was width, passion, commitment and some semblance of tactics.

Just to note, Nobby’s corners were excellent placed right into difficult areas for the keeper to defend. Despite not scoring from any of these, it was a welcome change to see good deliveries into the box. Charlie had a great game, full of running, pace, delivery not scared to put a tackle in and a good goal as well. On another day, he probably would have been man of the match but that award was well and truly won by the outstanding Scott Parker. He was absolutely awesome, throwing his body into challenges he had no right to win and coming up with the ball. He ran his legs off covering the back 4, breaking up Portsmouth attacks and spraying passes about the park. Congratulations to the man of the match sponsors who rightly picked him when pressure must have been high to award it to Al…..

One laughable moment was when Griff let Babayaro know he was there…splendid tackle that put him 3 foot up in the air…rightly got a yellow card but was worth the look on Babayaro’s face as he picked himself up…made me laugh!!

There is still a long way to go however this was a good start and the team spirit was excellent. With a bit of fight copied from Parker, who knows…our season may still be alive through a bit of luck in the cup draw combined with our players returning to form. It was good to feel excited again about coming to the game!!!!