Season 2007-08 Result
Blackburn Rovers 3-1 Newcastle United
 D.Bentley 54,
 D.Bentley 67,
 K.Tugay 92.
 O.Martins 47.
Date: 01/12/2007  Venue: Ewood Park  Competition: Premiership
Crowd: 27,477
Match Report Submitted on 04/12/2007 by ?

But for two moments of brilliance from David Bentley, United may well have won today – and won handsomely.

Luck – and defensive composure – were what The Toon lacked. After a first half so short on incident that it felt as long as a lifetime, the second period was so action-packed that it flew by.

Obafemi Martins took less than 90 seconds after the restart to nod Newcastle ahead, only for the impetuosity of Charles N’Zogbia to give Bentley the chance to display his dead-ball expertise. His clinical free kick contrasted with the failure of Joey Barton and Martins to convert glorious chances to restore United’s lead. And even after Bentley had made the most of the run of the ball to fire Blackburn ahead, Newcastle never stopped believing – or pressing. Ultimately though, despite claims for a second-half penalty, the visitors paid the price for going all-out for victory – and redemption for the farce of a week before. Tugay’s injury-time goal flattered Blackburn and, coming on the back of another three-goal setback, may yet be used to insult Allardyce. But this defeat bore little other resemblance to the Liverpool debacle, and 7000 travelling fans knew it. Magnificent throughout, they refused to turn on team – Joey Barton included – or manager after the final whistle. The opposite, in fact.

Whatever becomes of Allardyce, those fans can attest to him being hard done by in this game. You want further proof? Try losing Abdoulaye Faye to injury barely 24 minutes after welcoming him back from injury.

With Faye, Barton and Milner in – Emre, Luis Enrique and Mark Viduka dropped – Allardyce made his own comment on United’s previous “performances”. And it was clear his players knew they owed their fans a debt – the early bruises sported by several Blackburn players, proof as much.

There was assurance about Newcastle in possession too, although a wayward shot by Habib Beye was their only early effort on goal. True, the defensive wounds left by Liverpool were all too easily opened up when Roque Santa Cruz marched clean through on Shay Given, only to lift his finish well wide. And Faye swiftly compounded Allardyce’s concerns by hobbling off.

And so United were beaten again.

But, this time, they didn’t look down and out.