Football: Shearer style is spoilt by defence

Football Ferencvaros 3 Newcastle United 2
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The Independent Online
Newcastle United paid the price for slapdash defending in their Uefa Cup second round first leg match in Budapest last night. And Kevin Keegan admitted that his team had only themselves to blame.

He said: "You talk about going away and keeping it tight for 15 or 20 minutes, but suddenly we were 2-0 down. But then we began really playing. I thought we were going to win it but I was disappointed in how we played in the second half. We made too many mistakes and they deserved to edge it."

Ferencvaros posed a constant threat with quick breaks down the flank, and it was one such move that led to their first goal in the seventh minute. Vasile Miriuta hit a long pass towards Ferenc Horvath, and John Beresford barely moved.

With the rest of the Newcastle defence nowhere to be seen, Srnicek raced out of his area but then stopped. Horvath had no trouble in rounding the Newcastle goalkeeper and he slid the ball under Darren Peacock's despairing dive. Beresford's frustration was only too apparent, and seconds later he was booked for a wild challenge.

Ten minutes later Newcastle fell further behind, and again sloppy defending was to blame.

Peacock and Steve Watson were dragged wide by Igor Nichenko and Horvath was left in yards of space to meet the cross. Horvath's header came off the post, but nobody picked up Krisztian Lisztes running in to tuck the rebound away with Srnicek floundering again.

Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand were finding it difficult to elude their markers, and Newcastle's first chance came from a free-kick floated into the penalty area. Ferdinand timed his jump well, but his header flew straight to Jozsef Szeiler.

It was Shearer who conjured up a desperately needed goal in the 25th minute. He appeared boxed in near the corner flag, but Sergei Kuznetsov, who had already been booked for pulling Shearer down, and Norbert Nagy were reluctant to commit themselves to a tackle. Shearer sent a raking cross into the six-yard area for his strike partner and Ferdinand eluded Janos Hrutka to power a header into the bottom corner.

Ten minutes later, Newcastle were back on level terms, a score that hardly seemed possible given how badly the game had started for them. David Batty's surging run from midfield took him to the edge of the penalty area, and this time it was Ferencvaros who were guilty of sloppy defending. Batty was allowed the space to centre the ball to Shearer, who stood unmarked. His fiercely hit volley gave Szeiler no chance.

Newcastle almost took the lead when Ferdinand set up Rob Lee. His shot was palmed on to the post by Szeiler and rolled agonisingly across the face of goal before the keeper scrambled back to tidy up.

Early in the second half, Ferdinand had a goal disallowed for offside and it briefly looked as if Newcastle had restored some order to their defensive chaos. But in the 57th minute Beardsley gave the ball to Nichenko, the defence stood off and Lisztes scored with a powerful drive.

Newcastle surged forward in search of another goal and both Shearer and Lee went close. Shearer thought he had scored the equaliser in the final minute, only for an offside flag to deny Newcastle again.

Ferencvaros: Szeiler; Kuznetsov, Telek, N Nagy, Horvath (Zavadsky, 60), Szucs, Hrutka, Miriuta, Nyilas, Lisztes (Hollo, 80), Nichenko. Substitutes not used: T Nagy, Simon, Arany.

Newcastle United: Srnicek; Watson, Beresford, Peacock, Albert, Batty, Lee, Gillespie (Ginola, 65), Beardsley, Shearer, Ferdinand. Substitutes not used: Asprilla, Clark, Hislop, Elliott.

Referee: L Sundell (Sweden).