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.
New day (slowly) rising – As Brasileirão gets underway, Brazilian football stumbles, rather than leaps into the future
The average Serie A crowd last year was 13,000 - comparable to Australia’s A-League.
by James Young
24 May 2013 04:31 PM
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
Why Manchester City were willing to fork out $500m on stake in MLS
Champions League final: Biggest German invasion since the fifth century as Borussia Dortmund face Bayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich: 50 things you should know about the Champions League final
Champions League final preview: Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund
Champions League Final: Can Jürgen Klopp and Borussia Dortmund stop the Bayern Munich machine?
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 3 Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims
- 4 EDL marches on Newcastle as attacks on Muslims increase tenfold in the wake of Woolwich machete attack which killed Drummer Lee Rigby
- 5 Farewell, Shameless. Your heirs have work to do
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.