Football: Wingless Magpies go from Dyer to worse

Newcastle United 1 Dyer 52 Charlton Athletic 1 Rommedahl 53 Half-time: 0-0 Attendance: 51,114

As they prepare to fly out for their mid-winter break in the United Arab Emirates, the players of Newcastle United might care to peruse the traffic-safety notice on the Dubai Police Academy's website. In addition to advising visitors to "use the horn only when necessary", a wise instruction to Premiership players on such trips, there is a warning to "be alert and expect others to make mistakes".

Even as Kieron Dyer shot Newcastle into the lead at St James' Park yesterday, seven minutes into the second-half, he might have expected a defensive lapse to undermine his effort. Less than a minute later, a lack of alertness and basic control on the part of Andy O'Brien gave Dennis Rommedahl the opportunity to draw Charlton level from their first chance of the game.

It was the 43rd goal conceded in Newcastle's ever-faltering Premiership campaign. Graeme Souness's Magpies - painfully wingless up front and all in a flap at the back - were hanging on desperately for a point thereafter. At the final whistle, they were given the bird by the unimpressed inhabitants of their home roost.

"I can understand the crowd's frustration," Souness said later. "They want to see goals. When we did score, we gifted Charlton a goal inside a minute. If you look at the way we gave the ball away in that area, it was not what you would call top-class defending. It was disappointing."

Indeed, it was. And what compounded the frustration of the dejected Toon Army was a disappointing lack of top-class attacking support for Alan Shearer - and a stifling absence of wingers, or "wide-working players", as Souness prefers to call them.

It is four years now since Shola Ameobi broke into the Newcastle first- team, yet the young man who Bobby Robson described as "a lanky Bambi" continues to be the same beguiling enigma - blessed at times with the assured touch of a Dennis Bergkamp and at others with the more prickly control of a Titus Bramble. The latter was predominately in evidence yesterday, as Shearer shouldered the burden of striving for a breakthrough.

Newcastle's veteran captain very nearly caught Dean Kiely napping with a smart shot on the turn in the seventh minute, and also tested the Charlton goalkeeper with a header - two chances teed up from deep by Amdy Faye. With Faye dictating much of the first-half play, it was such one-way traffic that even O'Brien was encouraged to step forward. From fully 40 yards, his right-foot effort was heading for the target until Kiely diverted it, pushing the ball up and on to his crossbar.

By the interval, Newcastle were rapidly running out of steam, their lack of width increasingly evident. Charlton had yet to live up to their name: Athletic. It was a different in the second-half, although it took Dyer's goal and O'Brien's blunder to spark Alan Curbishley's men into life.

The breakthrough, after 52 minutes, stemmed from an up-field punt by Bramble - headed on by Shearer, via the flailing Chris Perry, for Dyer to chest down and beat Kiely with a crisply-executed half- volley. The Toon Army were still celebrating when O'Brien failed to control a ball on the right-edge of the Newcastle penalty area, shunting it to Rommedahl. The Dane curled a right-foot drive around Given and in off the far post.

Souness glared at his wrist-watch in exasperation. The lead had lasted less than a minute. It might have been worse for Newcastle thereafter, though, as they proceeded to live on borrowed time. The home guard went AWOL and Rommedahl roamed menacingly free.

He poked one glorious chance wide and had another saved by Given. Paul Konchesky, Matt Holland and Luke Young also let Newcastle off the hook.

The Magpies did mount a late attacking flurry, Laurent Robert and Patrick Kluivert having elatedly entered the fray. The jeers at the final whistle, though, were entirely predictable.

"Graeme Souness is getting the sack," the Charlton fans chanted from up in the Milburn Stand. Worryingly for the Newcastle manager, it was a theme applauded by potential mutineers in the Toon Army.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
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

ICT Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified ...

DT Design and Technology Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are urgently for ...

Maths Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experienc...

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

Day In a Page

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
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
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
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on