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The BBC's Ian Brown
"Otherwise just scraps on offer"
 real 28k

Sunday, 21 November, 1999, 12:50 GMT
All square for ex-England bosses
Silvio Maric tries to prise open stubborn Watford

Watford 1-1 Newcastle

Bobby Robson's Newcastle came away from Graham Taylor's Watford with a draw thanks to a neat finish from a Greek defender.

Nikos Dabizas sliced home in the second half, a 59th-minute goal to equalise Michel Ngonge's opener five minutes earlier.

Watford were indebted to central defenders Robert Page and Steve Palmer for keepingt Alan Shearer largely in check on a frustrating afternoon for the England captain.


I am really disturbed about the anti-Shearer chanting. What has happened to some of our so-called sporting public?
Bobby Robson
The Watford supporters showed their disapproval of Wednesday night's performance against Scotland down the road at Wembley.

On the pitch Shearer was again deprived of almost any meaningful service at Vicarage Road and hit the post with a header from probably the only penetrating cross of the entire game.

Newcastle survived a late appeal for handball by the Watford team who also lacked a cutting edge.

Robson was without Duncan Ferguson and Didier Domi, while Nolberto Solano was on the bench after his late return from international duty.

Match facts
25mins: Shearer hits woodwork
54 mins: Ngonge opens scoring
59 mins: Dabizas levels
Watford's late penalty appeal turned down
He then had to reorganise just eight minutes into the game when Kevin Gallacher limped off.

Temuri Ketsbaia replaced him but apart from a couple of early half-chances, while Silvio Maric's shot was blocked by Charlie Miller, openings were at a premium.

It was not until the first penetrating cross of the game on 25 minutes that Shearer almost scored.

Ketsbaia swung the ball over from the left and the centre-forward directed a powerful header against the foot of the post and out to safety.

Late in the half Shearer claimed to have been pushed over by Page inside the area, but referee Steve Dunn was not impressed by his appeals.

Messrs Robson and Taylor take time out
After the break Newcastle dominated possession but simply could not find a penetrating final ball, with their delivery from set-pieces being especially poor.

Watford were left to play on the counter-attack - to devastating effect when Gravelaine played a through-ball into the path of Ngonge.

Keeper Steve Harper rushed out to block the midfielder's path but the ball spooned up into the air to Noel-Williams.

The striker headed it goalwards and, with more than a strong hint of offside, Ngonge seized on the chance to nod into the unguarded net.

Newcastle were soon level with Dabizas reacting to his failure to play a one-two following a corner by lifting the ball over a challenge and then rifling a powerful shot into the far corner.


I wasn't too happy with it. Who are we to have a go at the England captain?
Graham Taylor
The visitors continued to press forward and Gary Speed came close, while the Magpies were relieved when the referee waved away a penalty appeal from the Watford players in the closing minutes.

Defender Steve Palmer was booked for his complaints after claiming handball when centre-backs Marcelino and Dabizas jumped to intercept a high cross into the penalty area by Charlie Miller.

Teams:

Watford: Chamberlain, Cox, Page, Palmer, Robinson, Hyde, Easton, Miller, Ngonge, Gravelaine, Noel-Williams. Subs: Day, Wooter, Gibbs, Smith, Bakalli.

Newcastle: Harper, Hughes, Marcelino, Dumas, Dabizas, Pistone, Lee, Speed, Maric, Gallacher, Shearer. Subs: Karelse, Ketsbaia, Solano, Glass, Antunes.

Referee: S Dunn (Bristol
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