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Match Report


Posted Sat 19 Sep 09 at 17:15 PM


Newcastle 3
Taylor 6, Nolan 61, Carroll 84

Argyle 1
Duguid 50

IN a time like this, it is important to take the positives.

Argyle looked good, passed the ball nicely and even matched their superior opponents for spells of the game but for the second time in a week, left the field to a standing ovation without any points.

Premiership class shone through at St James' Park with goals from Steve Taylor, Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll putting a battling Argyle to bed, despite Karl Duguid's well taken equaliser at 1-0.

At 1-1, the final score line would have flattered Newcastle but, as they moved through the gears, their dominance became clear and they are surely a side that will once again compete in the Premier League come next August.

After a rugged performance against Watford at Home Park on Tuesday, manager Paul Sturrock had opted to shake things up again, bringing in new boy Shane Lowry and not so new boy David Gray into a 4-3-3 system at the expense of Krisztián Timár and David McNamee.

Both defenders dropped to the bench and took their places alongside James Chester, another Manchester United youngster shipped down on Friday as reinforcements to Argyle's so far leaky defence.

Newcastle's team was star-studded as ever with former England internationals Alan Smith and Joey Barton alongside other household names such as Geremi, Steven Taylor and Kevin Nolan.

Despite entering the arena to the intimidating cries of 50,000 Geordies, it was Argyle who had the first chance of the match inside two minutes - Cillian Sheridan doing well to feed Duguid, whose shot from the edge of the box was saved by veteran 'keeper Steve Harper. Duguid had another strike soon after, sending a volley just over the bar.

But Argyle quickly found out just how deadly Newcastle can be when, with their first corner of the game, a defensive mix-up allowed Taylor to nod the Magpies ahead from close range. Again, a lack of concentration from a corner proved costly.

The noise level around the ground rose, not least in part to the wholehearted encouragement coming from the 2,500 strong contingent of the Green Army, housed high in the Gods in level seven of the Leazes End of St James' Park.

Argyle were beginning to look good on the break and could have equalised had Jamie Mackie chosen to feed the shot-happy Duguid instead of going it alone.

Newcastle were just as hot and were unlucky not to go two ahead on ten minutes when Peter Lovenkrands' low shot back across goal was excellently saved by Romain Larrieu.

The front three were passing it around nicely but often found their paths thwarted by Alan Smith, who was playing in the Carl Fletcher-type holding midfield position.

Cillian Sheridan got off a shot just before the half-hour mark, beating the hobbling Danny Simpson to unleash a low drive that Harper parried and then smothered, and the neat little moves continued with snap shots from Chris Clark and again from Duguid but nothing really seemed to trouble the keeper.

Then came the chance of the century to get back into the game when, with Jose Enruqiue dithering, Mackie pounced, took the ball to the by-line and crossed and cut it back. With Gow ready for the tap in, Steven Taylor put his foot in and knocked the ball against the post and then away to safety.

Straight back down the other end again and it was Newcastle who again threatened, Carroll this time finding himself denied by the a fantastic save from Larrieu.

As the fourth official's board came up, the game descended into a bit of physical point scoring, Mackie and Carroll both going into the book for robust challenges.

Within five minute of the restart, Argyle were level thanks again to neat work from the front men. With the ball on the counter, Cillian Sheridan played a neat one-two with Gow and dinked over a cross, which Duguid met in the middle to force home.

The Argyle fans went wild, politely asking their Geordie counterparts why they weren't singing anymore.

Argyle now began to dominate and could have taken the lead had Harper not been alert enough to tip Gary Sawyer's curling effort over the crossbar.

Despite the chances, defensive indecision cost Argyle dear again and Nolan capitalised, nodding in from close range to restore Newcastle's advantage.

With 15 minutes to go and the game opening up a bit, Duguid had an opportunity to level from David Gray's clever cut-back, but the measured curler drifted inches wide of the far post.

United were having their chances to, the cream of which was a Carroll diving header that sailed just over the crossbar.

Carroll was looking more and more dangerous on every attack six minutes from time, and he put the game to bed with a powerful finish from inside the area.

The disheartened Pilgrims' trudged off to a rapturous round of applause from the fantastic Green Army but still search for their first win of the season.

Newcastle (4-4-1-1): 1 Steve Harper; 12 Danny Simpson (16 Ryan Taylor 31), 2 Fabricio Coloccini, 27 Steven Taylor, 3 Jose Enrique; 17 Alan Smith (capt), 20 Geremi, 4 Kevin Nolan, 7 Joey Barton (8 Danny Guthrie 59); 11 Peter Lovenkrands (30 Nile Ranger 59); 24 Andrew Carroll. Substitutes (not used): 26 Tim Grul (gk), 13 Zurab Kizanishvili, 22 Nicky Butt, 25 Kazenga Lua-Lua,.

Booked: Carroll 45

Argyle (4-3-3): 1 Romain Larrieu; 39 David Gray, 11 Kári Árnason, 37 Shane Lowry, 18 Gary Sawyer; 6 Chris Clark (14 Rory Fallon 81), 4 Carl Fletcher (capt), 2 Karl Duguid; 26 Alan Gow (25 Alan Judge 76), 21 Cillian Sheridan, 8 Jamie Mackie, Substitutes (not used): 23 Kyle Letheren (gk), 3 Jim Paterson, 5 Krisztián Timár, 10 Bradley Wright-Phillips, 16 David McNamee,.

Booked: Gray 4, Mackie 45, Árnason 78

Attendance: 42, 989 (2500 away est)

Referee: Scott Mathieson

Chris Parsons

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