Owen rescues Magpies
Michael Owen rescued Newcastle a point as he secured a 1-1 draw with Birmingham at St Andrews.
By Peter Fraser
Last Updated: 17/03/08 10:52pm
Newcastle striker Michael Owen rescued his side a point as he pounced to secure a 1-1 draw with relegation rivals Birmingham at St Andrews.
Magpies manager Kevin Keegan remains without a win in the nine games since his January return to the Newcastle hot-seat, but Owen ensured that the pressure did not mount upon his boss as he was in the right place at the right time in the second half to cancel out James McFadden's opener.
The first half had been a scrappy affair, but McFadden opened the scoring on 33 minutes when he took advantage of some weak defending from Newcastle centre-back Abdoulaye Faye to latch on to a long ball from David Murphy and prod past goalkeeper Steve Harper.
However, 10 minutes after the interval Owen displayed his trademark predatory instincts to pounce on a rebound after Obafemi Martins had forced a fine save from Maik Taylor to equalise.
Newcastle then dominated the second half, but they could not find another goal to leave honours even and Keegan still searching for his first victory.
In the first half, McFadden quickly made his presence felt as the former Everton player unleashed a 20-yard drive which took a slight deflection off Habib Beye and flashed only a couple of feet wide of Harper's goal.
Fabrice Muamba had scored his first Blues goal against Portsmouth last week but he lacked composure when lofting his first-time shot over the bar from 15 yards out after good play by Mikael Forssell and McFadden.
The Magpies were unconvincing in defending a Gary McSheffrey corner and the ball bobbled about in the box before Forssell poked a low shot just wide.
Another McSheffrey corner was met by Blues central defender Radhi Jaidi but he failed to connect cleanly with his header which flew wide.
It was 24 minutes before Newcastle had a worthwhile effort on goal with Owen just too high from 20 yards out after being found in space by Martins.
But after 32 minutes McFadden broke the deadlock with his ninth goal of the campaign - and his fourth for Blues since his £6million move from Goodison Park.
There appeared little danger when left-back Murphy lofted the ball into the Newcastle box but McFadden was able to turn Faye before clipping the ball wide of Harper into the corner of the net.
McFadden appealed for a penalty after being challenged by Faye but referee Howard Webb was well positioned and waved play on.
McLeish was forced to make a half-time substitution with the limping Sebastian Larsson replaced by Stuart Parnaby.
Birmingham began where they left off and Harper denied Forssell from close range after good play by McFadden.
Not to be denied
After 50 minutes Owen - unmarked 10 yards out - tried to curl the ball past Taylor but the Birmingham goalkeeper made an excellent reflex save to deny him at the expense of a corner.
However, Owen was not to be denied and after 55 minutes he grabbed an equaliser with his seventh goal of the campaign.
Taylor again did well to parry away a low drive from Martins but Owen was the first to react to the rebound and clipped it into the corner of the net.
Newcastle defender Steven Taylor was booked for bringing down McFadden before Maik Taylor pushed aside a stinging drive from Jose Enrique.
The visitors finished the stronger and Maik Taylor had to be alert to keep out a shot on the turn from Martins, with Birmingham's only offering in the closing stages a long-range drive from substitute Mauro Zarate.
|Birmingham City||Team Statistics||Newcastle United|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||5|
|7||Shots off Target||7|