Newcastle 2 Watford 1: Martins double glosses over Luque absence

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The Independent Online

Eventually this match was worth waiting for - not that Albert Luque stuck around to find out.

The Spaniard beat a hasty retreat, his face betraying the anger felt at his latest snub as he strode towards his car before kick-off after learning that his expensively acquired talents were again surplus to requirements. Not that Glenn Roeder was too perturbed at the actions of a player he can't wait to see the back of after their relationship reached its nadir.

"You're not going to lead me into a comment that will give you a headline," the Newcastle manager said. "It's a fuss you want? It's a storm-out? You're looking for an angle but it's becoming boring."

Roeder's laissez-faire view is at odds with that of many supporters. Newcastle have hardly been the Harlem Globetrotters of the Premiership this season, but most fans would expect a player who takes £45,000 each week to feel a sufficient sense of duty to remain in situ and support his team-mates for a couple of hours. And if he doesn't, he needs reminding of it by the manager. That clearly is not Roeder's style. "I don't think any of our fans would have felt better for seeing Albert sat in the stands," he added. A straw-poll conducted immediately afterwards suggested otherwise.

Roeder continued: "I could name two Chelsea players who weren't involved against us on Wednesday who I saw on their way home beforehand, and I didn't see Jose Mourinho making a big thing about it."

Obafemi Martins is doing his utmost to progress beyond the stage of expensive embarrassment, the Nigerian's rehabilitation gathering pace courtesy of second-half goals that take his tally for the season to eight, five of them in the last four games for the £10m former Internazionale striker.

The 22-year-old sealed a third consecutive home victory in front of Steve McClaren - who witnessed the latest unimpressive return from injury by Kieron Dyer - with a confidently-taken late winner from Damien Duff's deflected cross to add to a glancing header at the outset of the half.

Martins angered Adrian Boothroyd as he escaped unpunished after an ugly challenge on James Chambers that forced the defender off with a badly gashed ankle. The Watford manager said, "The referee didn't see it, but I'm sure if he looks at it again he might change his mind."

Watford remain bottom with a single victory after failing to capitalise in the wake of Hameur Bouazza's close-range equaliser.

Boothroyd added: "We don't quite have that strength in depth but we'll address it in January when I envisage adding to the squad."

Goals: Martins 49 (1-0), Bouazza 57 (1-1), Martins 86 (2-1).

Newcastle (4-4-2): Given; Huntington, Taylor, Ramage, Babayaro; Milner, Butt (Parker 75), Emre (Duff 67), Dyer; Sibierski, Martins. Substitutes not used: Rossi, Srnicek (gk), Pattison.

Watford (4-4-2): Lee; Chambers (Mariappa 62), DeMerit, Shittu, Stewart; Smith (Francis 77), Bangura, Mahon, Bouazza; Young, Henderson. Substitutes not used: Chamberlain (gk), Powell, McNamee.

Referee: M Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

Man of the match: Martins.

Attendance: 49,231.

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