Cort strike decisive for Newcastle

Click to follow
The Independent Football

But for their revival under Bobby Robson, Newcastle could have been playing in the same division as Burnley this year, but they knew a little too much for their generally well organised opponents last night in a run-out that will not have told either manager a great deal.

But for their revival under Bobby Robson, Newcastle could have been playing in the same division as Burnley this year, but they knew a little too much for their generally well organised opponents last night in a run-out that will not have told either manager a great deal.

A headed goal from Carl Cort to add to the two he had already scored in pre-season friendlies, did the trick for Newcastle, but heavy conditions made this hard work for the Premiership side.

Still July, but the preparations of clubs for the challenges of the coming season arealready almost indecently well advanced. Newcastle, just back from a two-match trip to America, had two of their notable newcomers in their starting line-up at Turf Moor in Cort and Daniel Cordone, but no Alan Shearer.

Burnley, promoted as runners-up to Preston in the Second Division at the end of last season, paraded Kevin Ball, Phil Gray and Lee Briscoe, all experienced men at a higher level, in the torrential Lancashire rain, but no Ian Wright to brighten the scene any more.

There was a special jeerreserved for Kevin Gallacher, as a former Blackburn player, but it was Cordone who created the first moment of danger for Burnley, cutting in from the left and firing in a shot that was saved at full stretch by Paul Crichton and pushed around the post.

The horrible conditions did not make it easy for either side to strike up any rhythm, but an overlapping run by Newcastle's Warren Barton ended with a shot saved at the foot of the post.

Ball, the combative former Sunderland player, made his presence felt by probing in midfield and eventually finding Glen Little on the right. This time, his footing failed him as he tried to form the cutting edge of Burnley's first real attack.

After 25 minutes, the home side came frustratingly close to opening the scoring, Steve Davis meeting Little's corner with a powerful and welldirected header, cleared off the line by Andrew Griffin.

Almost immediately, Griffin made a crucial contribution at the other end, flighting in the early cross that picked out Cort, the lanky £7m signing from Wimbledon heading almost nonchalantly past Crichton. Burnley may already be pleased not to be facing him when they play Wimbledon in their first home game in the First Division.

Newcastle could have been two up 10 minutes later when Cort dispossessed Davis and back-heeled the ball into the path of Gallacher. It was intricate stuff for a sodden pitch, but Gallacher could not get his shot away cleanly.

Burnley made a series of changes to their personnel at the interval, but Newcastle remained in control, with Alain Goma an assured presence in the middle of their defence. It was the half-time substitute, Nikos Dabizas, however, who made the vital tackle when Andy Cooke ran through and threatened an equaliser.

Cort thought he had a second with a volley from Barton's cross, but it was only the side-netting he had disturbed. As the same player failed with another good chance to his feet, the positive impression he had made earlier in the match began to fade.

Comments