Newcastle United 3 Aston Villa 1: Sibierski's late show douses Villa fightback

Newcastle United's supporters may ponder the gradual yet encouraging transformation of Aston Villa and wonder, perhaps wistfully, about what might have been.

In the not so distant past it was the Magpies' long-suffering fans who were being enticed by the prospect of Martin O'Neill, new American owners and the cash injection necessary to rejuvenate a talented squad lacking strength in depth. This result, given late gloss by the substitute Antoine Sibierski's 90th-minute goal, suggests Newcastle can prosper without wholesale change in their quest for success but, even in defeat, Villa appear better placed to make long-term progress.

In Ashley Young and John Carew, a strikeforce worth more than £14m, O'Neill has fashioned a forward line which fuses raw pace with power and, once the two gel, expect the goals to flow. Young opened his account with confidence midway through the first half and his partner could have had a hat-trick were it not for the woodwork, Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper's glovework and a controversial decision to disallow a goal. If United deserved their win then neither of Villa's impressive debutants deserved to taste defeat.

"Their partnership bodes well for us but I wasn't best pleased with the goal which wasn't given," said O'Neill, after the referee Howard Webb had penalised Carew for a perceived foul on Sibierski. "It was a big moment in the game and it was blatantly obvious that it was a goal. If anything it was the other way around. But I was very encouraged by the performances of John and Ashley and the two were a threat all night long."

James Milner scored his third goal in as many games within five minutes of kick-off, a thrilling drive brought the home crowd to its feet. Two minutes later Kieron Dyer was unchallenged as he headed Milner's cross beyond the Aston Villa goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen, and O'Neill's team suddenly appeared unlikely to improve upon their record of five points from a possible 33 prior to the match last night. When Newcastle's captain, Scott Parker, struck the crossbar it seemed a matter of when, rather than if, United would increase their lead.

However, a period of typically unconvincing defending from the hesitant Magpies allowed Villa to reduce the deficit through Young, and Carew saw a fierce header strike Harper's upright two minutes before the interval.

Had Harper, again deputising for the injured Shay Given, not pulled off a dramatic reaction save from Carew within a minute of the restart it is likely that O'Neill's players would have gone on to secure maximum points. "From the moment they scored their second goal we were in charge of the game," added O'Neill, who concluded a deal for the Celtic midfielder Shaun Maloney late last night.

The Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder was a relieved man and admitted: "Not for the first time this season we conceded a rotten goal and the momentum swung in their favour. After that we survived and that's all we could do."

Goals: Milner 5 (1-0); Dyer 7 (2-0); Young 25 (2-1); Sibierski 90 (3-1).

Newcastle (4-4-2): Harper; Carr, Taylor, Bramble, Huntington; Milner, Butt (Sibierski, 33), Parker, Duff; Dyer, Martins. Substitutes not used: Srnicek, Edgar, O'Brien, Carroll.

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Sorensen; Bardsley, Mellberg, Cahill, Bouma (Angel, 85); McCann, Petrov, Barry, Agbonlahor; Carew (Berger, 69), Young. Substitutes not used: Taylor, Davis, Hughes.

Referee: H Webb (S Yorkshire).

Man of the match: John Carew.

Attendance: 49,201.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders