Class of Shearer has final say at reunion

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The Independent Online

Perhaps the tide is turning on the Tyne. This victory - hard fought rather than impressive - carried Newcastle up to fifth, a place ahead of their opponents whose recent progress had been in sharp contrast to the decline of the Premiership's early leaders.

Perhaps the tide is turning on the Tyne. This victory - hard fought rather than impressive - carried Newcastle up to fifth, a place ahead of their opponents whose recent progress had been in sharp contrast to the decline of the Premiership's early leaders.

It ended a two-match sequence of home league defeats and Alan Shearer scored twice in front of the St James' Park faithful for the second time in four days, which will have done no harm to hisconfidence.

"Shearer was absolutely outstanding. It was a great exhibition of centre-forward play apart from the two goals," said the Newcastle manager, Bobby Robson. "We came from behind, we hadn't won at home in the league for some time and we beat my old club. I am delighted."

Newcastle began by playing the sort of neat, one-touch football you would expect of a side with so many South Americans among its number, but Ipswich matched the hosts pass for pass. And where the Toon's attacks tended to break down in over-elaboration, Town's time-honoured approach of getting the ball to the by-line and crossing it brought the early chances.

Newcastle's defence , in which gaps appeared so alarmingly against Bradford in midweek, rode their luck until the 13th minute. Then Jermaine Wright saw his shot palmed away by the Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given but only as far as Marcus Stewart, whose first effort was blocked. He quickly pounced on the rebound to score through a forest of legs to register his sixth league goal of the season.

But within ten minutes Newcastle were back on terms, and it was a vintage Shearer goal from an old-fashioned long ball beyond the back four.

Alain Goma supplied the chip and the former England captain controlled the ball expertly before thumping it from 12 yards beyond Richard Wright's left hand, and into the far corner for his first home league goal of the campaign.

The Ipswich captain, Matt Holland, almost restored their lead when Kieron Dyer kicked his stooping header off the line, but Newcastle came out the stronger after the interval with a more direct approach.

The visitors' tigerish defending held them at bay until the 66th minute, when Mark Venus was adjudged to have mistimed his challenge on Shearer in the area. And the striker claimed his second from the penalty spot.

"The referee was 50 yards away, but the crowd shouted, Shearer fell and the referee gave a penalty," said the Ipswich manager, George Burley. "But Venus played the ball."

Robson, not surprisingly, saw it differently and felt his side were the ones hard done by. "Alan says he took his legs away, and as Venus was the last man he should have been sent off," he added.

Shearer said: "It was very important we won today after our previous home performances, and we knew how important the match was to our manager against his old club."

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