Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 3-2 Sunderland (October 2005)

Goalscorers: Shola Ameobi 34, 37, Liam Lawrence 35, Stephen Elliott 41, Emre 63

Teams:

Newcastle United: Shay Given, Peter Ramage, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Steven Taylor, Stephen Carr, Emre (Amdy Faye 81), Scott Parker, Charles N’Zogbia, Nolberto Solano (Lee Clark 80), Shola Ameobi (Michael Chopra 79), Alan Shearer

Sunderland: Kelvin Davis, Justin Hoyte, Steven Caldwell, Gary Breen (Alan Stubbs 42), Nyron Nosworthy, John Welsh (Julio Arca 45), Dean Whitehead, Liam Miller, Liam Lawrence, Stephen Elliott, Andy Gray (Anthony Le Tallec 79)

Referee: Rob Styles, Attendance: 52,302

In October 2005, both Newcastle United and Sunderland were struggling in the lower reaches of the Premier League. Sunderland had just one victory to their name all season, which had come in their last away match ironically at fellow north east rivals Middlesbrough. Newcastle didn’t even score a goal in their first four matches of the campaign and only Manchester City had left Tyneside pointless so far. This was a massive match for both where more than just local pride was at stake.

Graeme Souness was the Newcastle manager at the time and he was missing his summer arrival Michael Owen who was injured. Shola Ameobi was therefore recalled to the starting XI to partner Alan Shearer. He was a menace all afternoon and showed Geordie supporters that there was more to the team than just Shearer & Owen. Newcastle were the better side before taking the lead in the 34th minute. Ameobi connected with Emre’s inch-perfect corner and his header beat Kelvin Davis. It would trigger an incredible spell of four goals in just seven minutes.

Considering how low on confidence Sunderland must have been with just five points registered from nine matches, they didn’t show it. Liam Lawrence equalised almost straightaway with a precise drive that left Shay Given helpless. Sunderland were showing character. Unfortunately, their defending was not upto to scratch. Ameobi lost his marker again to nod in Charles N’Zogbia’s hooked cross just three minutes later. Ameobi always seemed to save his best football for derby days against the Black Cats.

Moments later, parity was restored once again. Stephen Elliott curled an absolute beauty into the net from 25-yards out. It silenced the St James’ Park faithful. Despite having bossed possession and having the better of the chances, Newcastle were not leading at half-time. They weren’t ahead at the interval but they would be by the full-time whistle. The excellent and energetic Emre crashed in a free-kick from distance that bounced off Davis’ left-hand post and into the net. The excitable Turkish midfielder then ran to the touchline to leap into Souness’ arms. This was a moment he would never forget.

Sunderland kept pressing as they looked to equalise for a third time in this see-saw battle. Elliott managed to lob Given when played in by Anthony Le Tallec but this time, the crossbar intervened. The Irish goalkeeper then managed to parry another effort from Elliott around the post.

Afterwards, Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy said: “I think we could have done better than to concede from corner kicks but my players are giving me, the club and the supporters’ value for money.”

Sunderland would win only two more matches all season and went down with just 15 points. Newcastle sacked Souness in February 2006 but rallied to finish seventh in Shearer’s final season as a professional footballer.

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