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The BBC's Alan Biggs
"Shearer scored the 299th of his career"
 real 28k

Saturday, 29 April, 2000, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Magpies rely on good fortune
England captain Shearer was spot-on again
Newcastle 2-0 Coventry

A disputed penalty from Alan Shearer and a debut strike for Diego Gavilan gave Newcastle all three points against Coventry at St James' Park.

The two goals came late, in a game which was played in the relaxed manner of a pre-season friendly.

With 12 minutes remaining Magpies defender Nikos Dabizas was adjudged to have been fouled by Coventry's Noel Whelan, and referee Peter Jones awarded a penalty - much to the disgust of the Sky Blues players.

Match facts
3: Shearer wastes two chances to put Newcastle ahead
78: Shearer makes amends from the penalty spot
84: Gavilan gives the Toon Army something to cheer
England captain Alan Shearer converted the spot-kick and six minutes later Paraguayan Gavilan score his first goal for the club, when he slid in from close range.

Newcastle were chasing their first win in four matches, against a Coventry side who were looking to go level on points with the home team by snatching their first away win of the season.

Newcastle could have been 2-0 ahead in the first three minutes.

The fast-improving Gavilan provided two telling crosses for striker Shearer.

Williams Dyer
Newcastle's Kieron Dyer was well marshalled by Paul Williams
The first delivery was placed fractionally wide of Magnus Hedman's goal and the second was headed straight into the goalkeeper's arms.

But on the counter, Coventry always posed a threat. With the mercurial talents of Mustapha Hadji and the experience of Gary McAllister, they were able to open up the Newcastle defence.

However, Sky Blues manager Gordon Strachan looked animated on the touchline and he had every right to be, because every time his side threatened in the Magpies half, they failed to deliver the killer ball for the front two of Robbie Keane and Frederic Roussel.

The game was a tepid encounter early on and the Newcastle fans became increasingly agitated by their team's careless play.

Both teams appeared to be going through the motions, because with the end of the season approaching neither had anything left to play for.

Captain marvel

Newcastle were without a number of key players, including strikers Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Gallacher, while Coventry were more than happy to contain the weakened home side.

The match seemed destined to end as a 0-0 draw - until a dubious refereeing decision changed the complexion of the contest.

Magpies centre-back Dabizas made a foray into the Coventry penalty area, and was seemingly up-ended by the covering Whelan.

Referee Jones pointed to the spot, and captain Shearer duly converted, for his 29th goal this season.

And just minutes later the star striker sent a 20-yard pass through to Temuri Ketsbaia. The Georgian played in the roving Gavilan, who slid the ball home from 12 yards out.

The second goal shell-shocked Coventry, but the luck was running Newcastle's way on a day when passion and thoughtful play were not top of the agenda.


Newcastle: Given, Barton, Hughes, Dabizas, Pistone, Gavilan, Lee, Speed, Domi, Dyer, Shearer. Subs: Harper, Maric, Griffin, Ketsbaia, McClen.

Coventry: Hedman, Telfer, Breen, Williams, Shaw, Hadji, Whelan, McAllister, Chippo, Roussel, Keane. Subs: Ogrizovic, Eustace, Betts, Fowler, Zuniga.

Referee: P Jones (Loughborough)

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