Football: Newcastle stir memories with spectacular display

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The Independent Online
Newcastle. . .3

Portsmouth. . 1

KEVIN KEEGAN continues to play the alchemist. Newcastle, who escaped relegation only on the final day of last season, moved above Charlton to the top of the First Division yesterday with their sixth win in six games. Mick Quinn scored twice against his former employers and David Kelly added another to delight England's second-biggest crowd of the day - 29,885 - at a jubilant St James' Park.

Pompey, playing their pleasing passing game, were worth Guy Whittingham's late goal, but Jim Smith's side were never a match in terms of energy and enterprise up- front for the club he used to manage. United started irresistibly. Lee Clark, the North-east's Young Eagle of the month, strode the St James' turf with an almost Gazza-esque self-belief and nearly scored in the first minute with a deflected shot that Alan Knight did well to push round the post.

Clark's industry and skill led directly to Quinn's opener in the 17th minute. The England under- 21 midfielder played a defence-destroying one-two with Kevin Sheedy on the left and sped off down the by-line. Clark's cross, hit hard and rising to head height, was met beautifully by Quinn 10 yards out.

Quinn, starting for the first time this season in the absence of the injured Gavin Peacock, was just wide with another effort seconds later. His striking partner, the deft David Kelly, went as close on the half-hour before scoring Newcastle's second four minutes from the break. It stemmed from a splendid passing move which would have revived memories of Gazza for many, and Gallacher for a few. Clark, dubbed by many as the 'new Gazza', left Alan McLoughlin, the Portsmouth midfielder, in his wake 20 yards out, before slipping the ball through to Quinn. With the gentlest of touches the well-built target man transferred the attack to Kelly, who was running across the edge of the area. He stepped over the ball twice to confuse Pompey's defence before firing left-footed into the far corner of the goal.

Portsmouth regained some of the initiative after half-time, but their approach work was ruined by weak finishing. Newcastle soon re- discovered their concentration and pushed in search of the third goal. It came in the 74th minute when Franz Carr slipped down the left and crossed for Quinn, unmarked at the far post, to drive the ball home from five yards.

Pompey's consolation came seven minutes from time when Colin Clarke's cross was headed in by Whittingham for his sixth League goal of the season. But not even this gatecrashing could stop the Geordie party.

Newcastle United: T Wright; B Venison, J Beresford, L O'Brien, K Scott, S Howey, F Carr, M Quinn, D Kelly (A Thompson, 83 min), L Clark, K Sheedy. Sub not used: B Kilcline. Manager: K Keegan.

Portsmouth: A Knight; A Awford, R Daniel, A McLoughlin, K Symons, S Doling (S Murray, 45 min), W Neill, M Kuhl, D Powell (C Clarke, 45 min), G Whittingham, C Burns. Manager: J Smith.

Referee: P Wright (Northwich).

Goals: Quinn (17 min, 1-0); Kelly (41 min, 2-0); Quinn (74 min, 3-0); Whittingham (83 min, 3-1).