Martins saved Newcastle

May 12th, 2009 - 5:36 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 12 (DPA) Substitute Obafemi Martins hit the vital goal as Newcastle United came from behind to beat Middlesbrough 3-1 and climb out of the relegation zone.
Middlesbrough Monday took an early lead through a Habib Beye own-goal, but Steven Taylor levelled within six minutes.

With 19 minutes left, Martins, less than a minute after replacing Michael Owen, gave Newcastle the lead.

Peter Lovenkrands, another substitute, swept in a third goal with four minutes remaining to give Alan Shearer his first win as Newcastle manager.

The win lifts Newcastle to fourth bottom, above Hull City on goal difference, and three points clear of Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion. Sunderland are two points further clear.

“We’ve been under a lot of pressure,” said Newcastle forward Mark Viduka, who used to play for Middlesbrough.

“It was a massive game for us. The start we had wasn’t the best, but we showed a lot of character to come back from that. I played with a lot of those boys and have very good memories. Whatever happens I wish them all the best.”

Newcastle had begun as the sharper side, with Mark Viduka twice almost laying in Michael Owen in the opening minute, but the first goal went the other way.

Alves played in Tuncay, who turned Beye superbly.

His initial effort was blocked by Steve Harper, but as the luckless Beye backtracked, he stumbled over the prone goalkeeper and inadvertently stabbed the ball into his own net to gift Middlesbrough their first league away goal of the year.

“We had a terrific start, but there were a few turning points in the game,” said Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate.

“Even though we’ve lost, I’m very proud of a group of young men. We haven’t managed to win it, but there’s two games left, and we’ve got to try to win those two.”

Viduka almost immediately hit the post with a snap shot, and Taylor then blasted over from close range.

The centre-back, though, made amends in the ninth minute, powerfully heading in from Danny Guthrie’s corner.

“It was the best feeling ever, to get us back in the game,” Taylor told Setanta Sports. “It’s a massive win, but now we need to build on it.”

Jones tipped over from an Owen header, and Marvin Emnes, making his first start for Boro, slid just wide after running onto the rebound after Harper had blocked his initial shot, but by half-time it was still level.

Newcastle started the second half the better, but the first shot on target came from Gary O’Neil, his drive being beaten away by Harper.

Play flowed engagingly from end to end, but the lack of attacking quality from which both sides have suffered this season was evident: there was effort aplenty but little in terms of imagination or ruthlessness.

With 20 minutes remaining, Shearer took off Owen for Martins.

“You make substitutions at that time hoping to make an impact,” said Shearer. “Maybe its better to be a lucky manager than a good manager. I couldn’t have asked any more from them, and they couldn’t have given any more.”

With his first touch Martins stepped inside Matthew Bates; with his second as he slipped, he jabbed the ball past Jones.

Replays showed that Kevin Nolan had been offside as he touched the ball on for Martins, but the home crowd, seeing their side ahead for the first time in two months, weren’t too bothered.

The win was confirmed with four minutes remaining as Martins headed on for Nolan, who crossed for Lovenkrands to smash a third.

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