Football: Newcastle denied by Dunn

Newcastle United 1 Blackburn Rovers 1 After extra time; Blackburn win 4-2 on penalties
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The Independent Online
PENALTIES CAME early at St James' Park last night. With the scores tied at 1-1, Newcastle and Blackburn both missed from the spot in the final three minutes of regulation time in this Worthington Cup fourth round tie.

First Alan Shearer, to the delight of the travelling Rovers support, shot high into the Sir John Hall Stand after Gary Croft was judged to have felled George Georgiadis. Then, in injury time, Shay Given dived to save Jeff Kenna's penalty at the other end; David Batty, another one- time Rover in the home ranks, having been punished for balking Tim Sherwood.

It was left to 18-year-old David Dunn, Blackburn-born and bred, to settle the tie in the actual penalty shoot-out. He stepped up to beat Given and put Rovers into the quarter- finals after Aaron Hughes and Dietmar Hamann missed for Newcastle and Sherwood hit the bar for Blackburn.

It was not exactly the "rocket boost" Roy Hodgson said his Rovers needed to relaunch their stuttering season, but then again they did not have many cylinders to fire on.

Indeed, with Chris Sutton suspended, Kevin Gallacher suffer- ing from a broken arm and Nathan Blake cup-tied, Kevin Davies was the only specialist striker Hodgson could place in his firing line, and the pounds 7.25m acquisition has been shooting blanks since 19 January, the afternoon of his last goal. Shearer, whose move from Southampton to Blackburn cost a more modest pounds 3.3m, lined up without a goal in seven games, but his barren spell only lasted a further eight minutes.

Hamman controlled a through ball from Nikolaos Dabizas and picked out Shearer with an inch-perfect chip from the left; the head of the England captain did the rest.

It left Blackburn not so much chasing the game as striving to prevent further damage, with five men packing their midfield and the forlorn Davies in not-so-splendid isolation up front. It took them half an hour to even venture within range of Given's goal but when they did they equalised, Sherwood scoring with a low, angled drive.

It was the unsettled Blackburn captain's third goal of the season and it was Newcastle who were unsettled thereafter, Dario Marcolin heading against Given's left-hand post in the 66th minute. The woodwork was rattled again in extra-time, a Shearer drive deflecting off Darren Peacock and on to Filan's crossbar.

Ultimately, though, the night did not belong to the Blackburn old boys. Dunn, a Blackburn new boy, had the decisive final say, and Rovers' performance was no mean feat considering the absence of nine first-team squad members and the early blow they suffered.

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Given; Barton, Hughes, Dabizas, Pearce; Georgiadis, Hamann, Batty, Glass (Speed, 51); Shearer, Dalglish. Substitutes not used: Barnes, Serrant, Charvet, Harper (gk).

Blackburn Rovers (4-5-1): Filan; Kenna, Henchoz, Peacock, Croft; Johnson, Dailly, Sherwood, Marcolin (Dunn, 91), Duff (Davidson, 72); Davies. Substitutes not used: Broomes, Thomas, Fettis (gk).

Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe).