Kluivert on target for revitalised Newcastle

Newcastle United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0
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The Independent Online

For the first 51 minutes of Newcastle's FA Cup campaign, Graeme Souness was the Premiership manager whose side could not break down the obstinate Ryman League part-timers of Yeading, so by last night he was entitled to take some pride in what has changed. This Newcastle team are still some distance from being the conquering force that their city demands, but they have done enough to vindicate their manager.

For the first 51 minutes of Newcastle's FA Cup campaign, Graeme Souness was the Premiership manager whose side could not break down the obstinate Ryman League part-timers of Yeading, so by last night he was entitled to take some pride in what has changed. This Newcastle team are still some distance from being the conquering force that their city demands, but they have done enough to vindicate their manager.

Newcastle have a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and are one home tie away from the quarter-finals of the Uefa Cup, and seeing the way Souness hugged his assistants at the final whistle gave a clear explanation of how much victory meant. Their performance could not be described as emphatic, and Martin Jol was dismissive of a series of decisions by the referee Rob Styles, but then this has been a long and difficult journey for Souness and he has long been due some good fortune.

His chairman Freddy Shepherd made a rare radio address yesterday in which he ventured to say that any return to St James' Park for Craig Bellamy would be "difficult" and there can be no doubt now that the Welsh striker's departure has defined Souness's reign. Without him they have gone 10 games undefeated and Souness's only sign of temper yesterday was when Bellamy's name was mentioned.

Newcastle's good fortune was plentiful in a match that came close to a replay as Tottenham's siege of the Newcastle goal increased in intensity in the final stages. Holding on to a lead given to them by Patrick Kluivert's fifth-minute goal, Lee Bowyer appeared to handle on two separate occasions in the penalty area but play was waved on by Styles. Then Anthony Gardner was controversially ruled to have fouled Shola Ameobi as he won a loose ball that Robbie Keane prodded home.

Jol was very critical of Styles after the game and suggested: "I didn't think we would win anything today with this man in black." By the time he finished the Tottenham manager had given over to more sober reflection. "It was all about the decision-making today," he said. "In England I've learned a nice phrase 'You win some, you lose some' but we couldn't win with the referee today."

Indeed, Styles had fallen back in love with his famous yellow card, one that he brandished nine times in a match in which it was hard to remember a bad tackle, but he was not the only obstacle to Tottenham's progress. The Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given was outstanding once again, no more so than when he threw himself in front of a blast from Frédéric Kanouté and then picked himself up to block Jermain Defoe a second later.

The Newcastle defence lost Titus Bramble to a hernia problem - he will be out for up to four weeks - but Newcastle at least have a rejuvenated winger in Kieron Dyer, whose mastery of Thimothee Atouba was not fully exploited. In the centre of midfield, it was Tottenham who were pre-eminent. Michael Carrick passed the ball better than any player, but even he was eclipsed by the industry of Michael Brown.

Just as when they beat Chelsea in the previous round, Newcastle's winner came from Kluivert. Stephen Carr's pass to Alan Shearer was laid off to Dyer, who returned the ball to the veteran centre-forward on Tottenham's right wing. He rumbled past Ledley King and from the touchline picked out Kluivert, who poked the ball home.

Souness talked about a new "self-belief and togetherness" in a match that he said his team "would not have won two months ago". The manager said: "We bossed it for the first half but Spurs have a right to be feeling hard done by. I am absolutely delighted to be in the semi-finals but I think that two months ago we probably wouldn't have held on."

Souness saidthat he would like to play his old club Blackburn Rovers in the final, but, with Manchester United and Arsenal still around, even the most optimistic Geordie would find that vision difficult to credit. As improbable as it was to imagine them losing to Yeading in January, there can be no doubting the progress Newcastle have made since then.

Goal: Kluivert (5) 1-0.

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Given; Carr, Boumsong, Bramble (Jenas, 40), Hughes; Dyer, Bowyer, Faye, Robert (Milner, 81); Kluivert (Ameobi, 70), Shearer. Substitutes not used: Harper (gk), Butt.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Robinson; Pamarot (Marney, 80), Naybet (Gardner, 88), King, Atouba (Keane, 63); Davies, Carrick, Brown, Ziegler; Kanouté, Defoe. Substitutes not used: Cerny (gk), Edman.

Referee: R Styles (Hampshire).

Booked: Newcastle Boumsong, Ameobi, Shearer. Tottenham Atouba, Brown, Pamarot, Ziegler, Naybet, Davies.

Man of the match: Given.

Attendance: 51,307.

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