Newcastle United 2 Norwich 1

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 28 October 2004

Chelsea will arrive on Wednesday November 10, four days before the visit of Manchester United, leaving Newcastle with four successive home games with the other two against Dinamo Tbilisi and Fulham To all intent and purpose, Norwich should have been dead and buried in a devastating first half that Newcastle dominated from start to finish, but only managed a 2-0 interval lead.

Earlier this season the Canaries found themselves in a similar position at St James' Park and pulled back to salvage a point and 2-2 draw.

And in fairness to Norwich they made a good fight of it, but in terms of quality, the Premiership strugglers were never in the same class as Newcastle who taught them a footballing lesson.

That's now ten matches unbeaten for Newcastle since the departure of Sir Bobby Robson as the inspirational Graeme Souness stretched his golden start to nine games without defeat.

Souness rang the changes and was full of praise for his side that saw a debut for Ronny Johnsen and first starts of the season for Steve Harper and fit again Titus Bramble.

"Some of our football in the first half was excellent," oozed the Newcastle boss.
 
However, Souness complained: "In the first half at times we were too casual in getting into the box. At 2-0 we were comfortable but the game was never over."

Norwich found themselves back in contention following a clumsy foul from Shola Ameobi on Mathias Svensson with the striker heading away from goal.

Souness was unconvinced by the spot kick award and added: "I'd like to see the penalty incident again. A scoreline of 2-1 looks close and it wasn't like that."
Newcastle got off to a dream start with a goal after just 78 seconds.Laurent Robert's unswinging corner ran loose inside the box and in the ensuing scramble it was Jermaine Jenas who forced the ball over the line.

After that it was a one-way procession towards the Norwich goal in that first half as Newcastle produced some stunning end-to-end football that tore the City defence to shreds.

Ameobi should have doubled the tally after four minutes when Patrick Kluivert produced some stunning skills to release the striker in a one-to-one with Robert Green but fired into the sidenetting.

There was a warning when Damien Francis was picked out by Marc Edworthy, but headed over.

Ameobi looked an odds on scorer when his right footed curler was destined for the top corner but struck the head of the unexpected Jason Shackell and flew out for a corner.

Ambrose then cut in from the left and Green parried and even had time to recover to keep out a Jenas follow up.

Kluivert had a goal bound effort deflected wide and the overworked Green managed to keep out a long-range Robert effort.

The long awaited second goal arrived four minutes from the break when Ambrose powered into the area and was fouled by Edworthy. With Alan Shearer sitting on the bench, the responsibility was left with Ameobi who coolly sent Green the wrong way.

This was United's third penalty in as many matches and in the space of six days following Shearer's successes at Panionios and at home to Manchester City last Sunday.

The warning signs were there again the dying minutes of the half when Francis put over from five yards and Shackell saw a header go across Steve Harper and bounce to safety off the bar.

Ameobi's push opened the door for United old boy Huckerby and while Harper guessed right when diving left the power of the shot was too much to keep out.

Ironically that was Norwich's first shot on target and they managed just one more.

James Milner's surging run set up Ambrose with a chance to put it out of reach in the closing minutes but he shot straight at Green.

Both Kluivert and substitute Craig Bellamy then had chances, but those two first-half strikes proved sufficient.

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