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The BBC's John Murray
"Sounds like a FA Cup psychological advantage"
 real 28k

Saturday, 4 March, 2000, 18:31 GMT
Poyet ends Robson's run

Midfield battle: Wise and Speed

Newcastle 0-1 Chelsea

A diving header from Gustavo Poyet ended Newcastle boss Bobby Robson's 14-match unbeaten run at home.

Chelsea could not have asked for a tougher test after losing in the Champions League in midweek.

But the visitors defended magnificently to the end and deserved their win as they unlocked the door to what has become Robson's fortress St James.

Match facts
5 mins: Shearer free-kick sting De Goey's hands
22 mins: Poyet silences home fans with diving header
38 mins: Ferguson heads inches over
46 mins: Solano returns
87 mins: Dabizas fails to connect for equaliser
90 mins: Zola shoots straight at Given
Blues' manager Gianluca Vialli made five changes for the game with Emerson Thome, Celestine Babayaro, Roberto Di Matteo, Jody Morris and Chris Sutton all introduced.

Dogged marking, especially from Thome and Frenchman Frank Lebouef, quashed the threat of Newcastle's potent forward line of captain Alan Shearer and Duncan Ferguson.

Robson employed a 5-3-2 system for the majority of the first half but for once his magic touch seemed to desert him.

The Magpies had the majority of the possession in the opening 45 minutes, with both Shearer and Ferguson keeping Chelsea keeper Ed De Goey on his toes.

Thome shearer
Thome got the better of Shearer
The England captain stung the Dutchman's palms as early as the fifth minute with a fierce free-kick from 20 yards out.

And the burly Ferguson was unlucky not to score when his oppportunist header went agonisingly over the Chelsea crossbar.

The home fans urged their team to attack, but Chelsea stayed calm and took the lead when Poyet got in front of two Magpies defenders to nod in midfielder Jody Morris's cross.

With his formation failing to deliver the goods, Robson soon reverted back to the customary 4-4-2 which had paid so many dividends since the 67-year-old came to the club.

Toon Army restless

The arrival of substitute midfielder Nolberto Solano, for the ineffective Didier Domi, heralded that change after the interval.

But although the Magpies looked more threatening down the right, they failed to produce any clear cut opportunities.

Much of that credit was down to the diminutive midfield pairing of Dennis Wise and Jody Morris, who were tigerish and determined against Newcastle regulars Robert Lee and Gary Speed.

The Toon Army had become restless and the Magpies only seemed to offer hopeful balls into the box for Ferguson and Shearer to chase.

But one of these from Aaron Hughes was met by Ferguson but the Scot headed inches wide of De Goey's post.

A frenetic last five minutes saw both sides go close with Chelsea's Gianfranco Zola having his shot parried away by keeper Shay Given.

Then Newcastle's Nikos Dabizas just missed connecting with Alan Shearer's nod-down.


Newcastle: Given, Barton, Howey, Dabizas, Hughes, Dyer, Lee, Speed, Domi, Shearer, Ferguson. Subs: Harper, Gavilan, Ketsbaia, Solano, Antunes.

Chelsea: De Goey, Ferrer, Leboeuf, Thome, Babayaro, Morris, Di Matteo, Poyet, Wise, Sutton, Zola. Subs: Cudicini, Petrescu, Ambrosetti, Flo, Terry.

Referee: M Riley (Leeds)
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Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.