Football: Fowler equal to Shearer's strike

Newcastle United 1 Liverpool 1

Newcastle will be seeking their first win in seven Premiership matches when Alan Shearer returns to Ewood Park on Boxing Day. The former Blackburn Rover scored his 13th goal since becoming the football world's pounds 15m man but it proved insufficient at St James' Park last night to haul his home- town team back on to a winning track.

Robbie Fowler's 104th goal for Liverpool, his 19th of the season, earned the leaders a point on a ground where they have not won for nine years, since Peter Beardsley and Mark Lawrenson were on their side. The result was more satisfactory to the latter-day Anfield men, even though they may have been disappointed not to have exploited increasing signs of nerves in the home ranks in the final 10 minutes of a contest that was always compelling, even if it never quite soared to the inspirational heights of the seven-goal thriller at Liverpool in April.

The consolation for Newcastle, who were 10 points clear of the field going into Christmas last year, was not falling the same distance behind this term's pacesetters. Seven points, even with a game in hand, will be difficult enough for Kevin Keegan's side to make up. As the manager himself duly acknowledged: "It keeps us in touch. We're not playing well but we can still win the League. I certainly believe that."

The Newcastle manager was in the unfamiliar position of watching his team play a home match as underdogs and he was confronted with immediate cause for concern as Stan Collymore burst forward from the kick-off and only an offside flag denied Fowler a goal in 10 seconds. The perceptive prompting of John Barnes and Michael Thomas provided Keegan with additional troublesome food for thought, but Newcastle had succeeded in drastically staunching the red tide before they struck the first blow in the 28th minute.

Les Ferdinand headed David Ginola's left-wing free-kick against the bar and Shearer pounced, unconventionally directing the loose ball past David James with his knee. It was typical of Newcastle that the assurance then drained from their play.

Steve McManaman, having been adeptly policed by Robert Lee, broke free to rifle a shot into the side-netting and Fowler twice shot wide when well-placed before finally hitting the target in first-half injury time. McManaman skipped down the left and squared the ball for Fowler to swivel and shoot into the Gallowgate End net.

Newcastle might have regained the lead three minutes into the second half. Certainly, Ferdinand could hardly have wished for a more inviting opportunity than that with which his striking partner provided him.

Shearer drew applause for the nonchalant manner in which he trapped a high ball on the half-way line and he followed up by delivering a first- time through-ball that split the Liverpool defence and left Ferdinand with a clear shot on goal. James saved that and then tipped efforts from Shearer and Lee wide as Newcastle built up a head of steam. It was Thomas, though, who emerged as Liverpool's saviour.

The man whose sharp-shooting as a Gunner was responsible for denying the Merseysiders what would have been their most recent title, in that dramatic Anfield decider in 1991, was stationed with admirable foresight on the Liverpool goal-line with 18 minutes to go.

His header stopped Steve Watson's chipped shot and Liverpool, thereafter, looked the more likely winners. Newcastle creaked nervously at the back every time the visitors worked the ball through to the threatening feet of Collymore and Fowler.

Roy Evans was content enough, though, to depart with a three-point lead at the top of the Premiership. "We're in the best position," he said. "To come here and get something is a good result for us."

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Srnicek; Watson, Peacock, Albert, Elliott; Gillespie (Barton, 90), Lee, Beardsley, Ginola (Clark, 36); Shearer, Ferdinand (Kitson, 85). Substitutes not used: Brayson, Hislop (gk).

Liverpool (3-4-1-2): James; Ruddock, Babb, Wright; McAteer, Thomas, Barnes, Bjornebye; McManaman; Collymore, Fowler. Substitutes not used: Matteo, Berger, Kennedy, L Jones, Warner (gk).

Referee: P Alcock (Redhill).

Last night's results, page 19

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
media
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Manager, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent Uncapped Commission Structure: ...

Sales Executive, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting entertainment comp...

Retail Business Analyst

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Ecommerce/Retail/E...

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz