Football: Bridges takes a tip from Shearer

Bobby Robson's rejuvenated side see their bubble burst by another striker from the North-east

Leeds United 3 Newcastle United 2

Bowyer 11, Kewell 39, Shearer 42, 54

Bridges 77

Half-time: 2-1 Attendance: 40,192

MICHAEL BRIDGES finally took note of an impromptu lesson in finishing from another north-east striker to seal victory in a match that would have been all over long before if he had taken his earlier opportunities.

The recruit from Sunderland, with five goals before this game in an encouraging start to his Leeds career, was the main culprit as his side failed to turn their overwhelming first-half superiority into a match-winning lead.

He could have had four and should certainly have had a hat-trick, hitting the crossbar and putting two simpler chances wide as he found space at will but not the composure to take advantage of it.

The question mark hanging over the afternoon was just how false a dawn Newcastle's eight goals against Sheffield Wednesday the previous weekend would turn out to be. The answer suggested by the opening stages of this match was that it was about as counterfeit as it could be.

Leeds, with Erik Bakke making an impressive first appearance of the season in midfield, were slicing a ponderous Newcastle defence to shreds and Bridges had already had one effort saved by Steve Harper before they took the lead after only 10 minutes.

The lively young Norwegian Bakke was largely responsible, sliding a pass into the path of Lee Bowyer, who scooped his shot up and over Harper into the top corner of the net.

Harry Kewell and Alan Smith both had chances as Leeds ran rampant, but the best inevitably fell to Bridges, who missed the target after being set up beautifully by Smith. Six minutes before half-time, that seemed to matter less when David Batty's deep cross from the right bounced up perfectly to be despatched by Kewell's thunderous header.

If you can blow up a bubble on the strength of one win, however emphatic, Newcastle's was in the process of being burst. It was time for Alan Shearer to demonstrate that last week's five goals against Wednesday's token resistance did represent a real wakening of his predatory instincts.

Two minutes after Kewell's goal, he brought Newcastle back into the game with an equally unarguable header. Nigel Martyn became one of eight players booked after carrying the ball out of his penalty area, Nolberto Salano flighted in the free-kick and Shearer met it precisely as it begged to be met.

There was still time at the end of the half for Bridges to squander yet another invitation to join the party, with Smith again the provider.

The feeling was growing that there must be a price to pay for his profligacy and sure enough, nine minutes after the break, Shearer was the man to extract it. Didier Domi crossed from the right, Kieron Dyer, full of invention all afternoon, raised the boot to flick the ball away from Lucas Radebe and Shearer drilled it past Martyn.

If last Sunday's performance showed what the Bobby Robson rejuvenated Newcastle could do to sitting ducks, this seemed to be compelling evidence that they could also fight their way back from adversity.

For a time, their rekindled confidence made the visitors look the more likely side to snatch a win, but David O'Leary brought on the former Newcastle discard, Darren Huckerby, for Smith and almost immediately the ploy paid off.

Bowyer, who had kept driving Leeds forward even when their afternoon was showing worrying signs of going into reverse, picked out Huckerby on a left-wing run. He wasted no time in making an impact, squaring it for Bridges to finally get it right.

In a moment, Bridges had crossed the gorge that separates success from failure for a striker and his previous omissions were forgiven if not forgotten.

O'Leary still believes he needs to add an experienced striker to his squad if Leeds are to be a genuine threat this season. He will have seen nothing here to change his mind, because well as his young forwards blended together, the lack of a killer touch could have cost them dear.

O'Leary was quick to recognise this but was also full of praise for his young side: "No disrespect to Newcastle but we should have been four or five goals up by the break", he said.

"In the end we got out of jail. But I always thought we were going to win the game because the way we played, particularly in the first half, was superb. We played the way I want us to and it would have bean a crime if we hadn't taken the three points."

Robson, although disappointed, was full of praise for Shearer. "Alan again led by example. He has shown great leadership qualities and great movement and proved quite firmly that he is back on form."

With Temuri Ketsbaia joining the Newcastle injury list after sustaining ligament damage, Shearer will need to maintain his current form if Newcastle are to continue their recovery.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own