Football: Lee's late winner saves the day for Newcastle

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The Independent Online
Newcastle United 1

Everton 0

Just when it seemed Everton had held out, a midfield general called Robert Lee arrived to smash through the barricades at St James' Park last night.

For 88 minutes, Howard Kendall's side stood firm against the force that blitzed the pounds 400m might of Barcelona last week - but then the Toon Army's captain fired the winning shot. Darren Peacock slung the ball hopefully forward, Ian Rush touched it on, and Lee crashed a right-foot drive of the underside of the Everton bar.

It was a cruel blow for Kendall, who supported Newcastle from the terraces in his early years and who made his debut at St James' for Preston North End as a 16-year-old.

As Kenny Dalglish was quick to acknowledge: "Everton deserve a lot of credit. They fought very hard and served their club well." Indeed they did, and without the defensive services of the slavish Slaven Bilic for the last 28 minutes. Booked for felling Keith Gillespie just after the break, he was shown red by Graham Poll as soon as he clattered clumsily into Faustino Asprilla.

Leading from the back with authority, Bilic had been the influential figure in the encouraging start Kendall saw his side make. Alessandro Pistone made promising headway as an overlapping left-back but it was not until the 18th minute that Everton were obliged to cope with a serious threat.

The instigator, to no great surprise, was Asprilla, whose improvised flick left the recalled Jon Dahl Tomasson with a clear chance the Dane ought to have buried but squandered, delaying his shot long enough for Paul Gerrard to parry.

Tomasson looked to be the pick of Dalglish's new recruits in Newcastle's pre-season matches, but he has yet to make an impact in the Premiership. His first goal proved elusive again in the second-half as he missed his kick when John Barnes found him on the left edge of the six-yard box.

Danny Cadamarteri, retained in the Everton starting line-up after his goalscoring full-debut against Barnsley at Goodison on Saturday, looked as likely a scorer as Tomasson or Asprilla. The 17-year-old proved a handful - and, on at least one occasion, an elbowful - for Philippe Albert before making way for Duncan Ferguson with 14 minutes to go.

Everton have not won at Newcastle since Boxing Day 1986, when a 4-0 victory contributed towards their second title in three seasons. But Kendall never did get to lead his champions into European Cup battle and he did not take kindly to losing to the championship-less Champions' League heroes last night. He kept his thoughts to himself as he made a hasty departure on the team bus, suffering an acute case of the blues.

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Given; Watson, Peacock, Albert, Pistone; Gillespie (Barton, 76), Batty, Lee (Beresford, 90), Barnes; Tomasson (Rush, 76), Asprilla. Substitutes not used: Howey, Hislop (gk).

Everton (4-4-2): Gerrard; Barrett, Watson, Bilic, Hinchcliffe; Stuart, Grant (McCann, 84), Speed, Oster; Barmby (Ball, 64), Cadamarteri (Ferguson, 76). Substitutes not used: O'Connor, Southall (gk).

Referee: G Poll (Tring).

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