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Monday, January 25, 1999 Published at 23:44 GMT


Sport: Football

Brave Bradford overcome by Newcastle

Newcastle are through despite the best efforts of Robbie Blake (centre)

Newcastle 3-0 Bradford

Newcastle kept their season alive with a 3-0 victory over Bradford City at St James' Park on Saturday.


BBC Radio 5 Live's Dave Wood reports from St James' Park
German Dietmar Hamann put the Premiership side ahead 12 minutes from the break against the run of play, but it was Alan Shearer's 52nd-minute strike which broke City's hearts.

A late strike from Georgian Temuri Ketsbaia confirmed the victory as Newcastle booked their place in the last 16.

Strong start

Bradford started strongly with Peter Beagrie running well down the left and causing the home side continuing problems.

Newcastle, on the other hand, looked to be struggling - failing to gain any consistent midfield possession.

The game's first chance came to Bradford, who seemed to be pushing harder for the opening score.

After only five minutes Robbie Blake soared down the right flank to find himself with only the keeper to beat.

And he may well have found the net had he not hesitated - allowing Danny Griffin and Laurent Charvet to close him down.

It was a fine start from the visitors, however, with Newcastle clearly on the back foot.

Looking by far the confident side, Bradford, opened up space in the Newcastle defence - so much so that it looked only a matter of time before the visitor's went ahead.

With so little ball, Newcastle clearly looked shocked at the prospect of another home defeat.

And despite a superb swerving strike - pushed just over the post by Gary Walsh from Norbert Solano, the visitor's looked to be running away with the game.

On 25 minutes, Blake fed through to Lee Mills who was brought down by Given in what clearly looked like a penalty - to everyone else except the referee, that is, who instead awarded a corner.

It was another chance for the visitors - but again they had failed to make it count.

And when Newcastle secured their first real chance of the half 12 minutes before the break you could sense the growing disappointment from the Bradford players.

Hamann opens the scoring

Shearer's flick to Timur Ketsbaia had split the Bradford defence wide-open.

The Georgian's close-range effort was well saved by Walsh, but Hamann followed up to sidefoot the loose ball home for his first goal for the club.

It clearly spurred the home side on. And when Hamann touched the ball passed three Bradford bodies to fire a low ball towards the bottom left corner of the net only Walsh's fingers managed to keep the ball out.

Shearer makes it two

The game was far from over for Bradford, however, and they again started well after the break.

But when Beagrie missed another clear chance in front of an open goal - punting it wide of the right post - it seemed that Bradford were simply not destined to win.

Seconds later, it looked even more unlikely when Shearer made it 2-0, touching the ball into the net after a superb header from Gary Brady.

The goal clearly helped Newcastle to relax.

Speed and Brady both began to find space for themselves and Bradford's heads dropped slightly in the knowledge they had, perhaps, thrown it all away.

Nevertheless, if Bradford had given up - no-one had told Beagrie and Blake who continued to shape a superb partnership up front.

Newcastle grew in confidence as the game wore on, and substitute Stephen Glass - on at half-time for Solano - went close on 58 minutes when he latched on to Hamann's through ball and beat full-back Stephen Wright before firing across the face of goal.

Jewell went for broke eight minutes later when he replaced Wright with former Arsenal striker Isiah Rankin, but it was Moore who almost gave his side a lifeline on 77 minutes.

The big defender found a yard of space inside the box, but Given flew from his line to block his effort and full-back Didier Domi was on hand to clear the immediate danger.

Garry Brady could have wrapped things up in style five minutes from time, but he fired high over from Glass' cross.

But Ketsbaia made no such mistake four minutes from timer as he turned inside Westwood to shoot past Walsh into the far corner.

Teams:

Newcastle: Given, Griffin, Charvet, Dabizas, Domi, Hamann, Speed, Solano, Brady, Ketsbaia, Shearer. Subs: Harper, Barton, Glass, Hughes, Andersson.

Bradford: Walsh, Wright, Moore, Westwood, Jacobs, Lawrence, McCall, Whalley, Beagrie, Blake, Mills. Subs: Prudhoe, Rankin, O'Brien, Ramage, Dreyer.

Referee: P Durkin (Portland)



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