Beye ends Magpies' woes
Habib Beye headed a last-gasp goal as Newcastle ended their winless run with a 2-1 victory over Birmingham.
By Peter Fraser
Last Updated: 09/12/07 11:36am
Under-pressure Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce was thankful for a last-gasp header from Habib Beye as his side ended their winless run with a 2-1 victory over Birmingham at St James' Park.
Things did not start well for Newcastle, who had not won since the 3-1 victory over Tottenham on 22nd October, as Birmingham grabbed the lead when Cameron Jerome took advantage of some poor defending from David Rozehnal to score on nine minutes.
However, the lead did not last long as Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins was brought down in the 18-yard area by Mathew Sadler on 37 minutes and the Nigerian promptly sneaked an equaliser past Birmingham goalkeeper Maik Taylor from the penalty spot.
Newcastle then attacked in waves and were unfortunate not to take the lead before the half-time whistle as Taylor produced fine saves to deny and Martins and James Milner.
After the break Birmingham were comfortable and they could have regained the lead had Sebastian Larsson not dragged a good chance wide, but Beye met a 90th minute Emre corner to head in his first goal for Newcastle and earn his side the points.
Barely had Newcastle broken sweat, when they found themselves trailing once again, and where it had been the brilliance of Emmanuel Adebayor which had hurt them in midweek, this time it was their own defensive inadequacies which did the damage.
Defender Rafael Schmitz's long ball forward was little more than hopeful, but Rozehnal allowed Jerome to outstrip him before rounding keeper Given and shooting into the empty net.
The hosts were unfortunate not to be back on terms on 27 minutes when Martins met Charles N'Zogbia's dipping free-kick just two yards out, but saw Taylor pull off a fine reaction save.
Nicky Butt's departure through injury 14 minutes before the break brought Mark Viduka on to the field, and his side finally broke through five minutes later.
Martins set off to chase a loose ball inside the penalty area and was tripped by the prone Mathew Sadler, and referee Rob Styles pointed straight to the spot.
The Nigeria international stroked the ball low to Taylor's left, and although the keeper got a hand to it, it went in off the post to level the scores.
Jerome saw a shot on the turn saved by Given on 39 minutes as City briefly rallied, but it was the Magpies who finished the half with the wind in their sails.
Taylor had to tip a close range Milner effort over the bar in the 41st minute - but the goalkeeper needed the assistance of the woodwork seconds later when the England Under-21 international shot from 20 yards.
Midfielder Fabrice Muamba drilled a right-foot shot just over from 25 yards and then Sebastian Larsson fired just wide after being set up by Jerome.
Given had to save smartly at his near post from Liam Ridgewell as he flicked Larsson's corner towards goal, before Milner whistled a right-foot shot across goal in the 56th minute.
Newcastle were belatedly starting to find their feet once again with Martins troubling the City defence with his pace, although no-one was able to take advantage of N'Zogbia's inviting 66th-minute cross.
Alan Smith fired wide from a tight angle on 71 minutes and with Emre joining the fray as a replacement for Geremi seconds later, the Magpies launched their final push.
Viduka headed well wide from an N'Zogbia free-kick eight minutes later and Martins forced a save from Taylor two minutes later - but the drama came at the death.
Emre saw strong appeals for a second penalty for handball by Larsson waved away a minute from time, but regained his composure to curl a corner to the near post for Beye to score.
|Newcastle United||Team Statistics||Birmingham City|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|6||Shots on Target||2|
|6||Shots off Target||3|