| Newcastle United’s Alan Shearer (right) gets the ball away from Middlesbrough’s Gareth Southgate during their English Premier League match at St James’ Park in Newcastle on Monday. The Magpies won 2-0. (Reuters)
London: Newcastle United’s recent revival continued as they beat local rivals Middlesbrough 2-0 at St James’ Park Monday to record their fifth win in six English Premier League outings.
Goals from Shola Ameobi in the first half and Stephen Caldwell late in the second sealed victory for Bobby Robson’s men who moved up one place above Middlesbrough into eighth.
A miserable night for the visitors was completed when French defender Franck Queudrue was sent off for the second match in a row after a second bookable offence.
The victory was Newcastle’s fourth in succession at home, including the surprise 1-0 Champions League win over Juventus two weeks ago.
“We’re doing somersaults up here at the moment,” said Newcastle manager Robson. “We’ve ground out a good result in a tough derby match. We had three games in seven days last week and we’ve got three in six days now. What the players have been doing is super-human.”
The former England manager singled out 19-year-old Jermaine Jenas, the Man-of-the-Match, for particular praise. “He was mammoth in the midfield,” Robson said.
Middlesbrough manager Steve McLaren, who declined to discuss his resignation as England assistant coach last week, said his team deserved at least a point. “Unfortunately, the big decisions didn’t go our way,” he added.
The first genuine chance of the game fell to Middlesbrough’s Italian striker Massimo Maccarone whose close range header from a tight angle was cleared off the line by defender Aaron Hughes.
Cameroon midfielder Geremi also went close for Boro with a long-range effort that Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given did well to keep out by diving low to his right.
But it was the home side which took the lead in the 20th minute when England under-21 striker Ameobi juggled with the ball on the edge of the area before firing a crisp left-footed shot past goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
Maccarone had a penalty appeal turned down when he was felled by Hughes, but Newcastle also cried foul when an Alan Shearer goal was ruled out after Ameobi was adjudged to have infringed.
Newcastle’s French winger Laurent Robert attempted an ambitious volley from way out on the left but his stinging shot only found the side-netting.
Early in the second half, Maccarone went close again, rattling the post with a powerful low drive from just outside the area.
The temperature of the match began to rise midway through the second half and Newcastle captain Shearer had his name taken by referee Graham Barber for protesting that his shirt had been pulled in the area.
Portuguese midfielder Hugo Viana came on for Robert in the 70th minute and made an instant impact with a dipping free-kick that whistled over the bar.
Ameobi had the chance of a second goal 15 minutes from time when he connected with Olivier Bernard’s cross from the left, but his shot was blocked in a smothering tackle by Queudrue.
Shearer, hunting his 100th League goal for Newcastle, looked to have scored with a powerful close-range header moments later but Schwarzer did superbly to palm the ball clear.
However, the Boro ’keeper was at fault moments later when he spilled a straightforward corner from Viana and defender Caldwell swept home the loose ball three minutes from time.