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The BBC's Peter Slater
"Shearer thundered in a free-kick for his 300th goal"
 real 28k

Sunday, 14 May, 2000, 18:09 GMT 19:09 UK
Shearer on song as Magpies win

Newcastle's Alan Shearer clips the ball over Oleg Luzhny
Newcastle United 4-2 Arsenal

Alan Shearer smashed the 300th goal of his career to help Newcastle United end their season on a high with victory over Arsenal.

The England skipper blasted home a 23rd-minute free-kick - his 30th of the season and his 199th in League football - in an open game against an under-strength Gunners side as United put on a party for their delighted fans.



I'm a very proud man tonight - when I set out on that road to Southampton at 15, I never dreamt that I'd score 300

Alan Shearer
Gary Speed had given the Magpies a sixth-minute lead with a powerful volley, but Kanu levelled within 50 seconds as he ran clear of the home defence to lob keeper Shay Given.

Shearer's strike restored his side's lead, but Stefan Malz dragged the visitors back into it eight minutes after the break.



Shearer challenges Arsenal keeper Alex Manninger

However, Arsene Wenger's back-up side could not hold on to their point, and Speed headed his 13th of the season to put Newcastle in front again before Andy Griffin sealed the victory with his first goal for the club.

The win took Newcastle to 52 points, their biggest haul by far since they twice finished runners-up to Manchester United, and capped a remarkable turnaround under Bobby Robson.

The 67-year-old manager joined his players on a lap of honour after the final whistle to rapturous applause while Arsenal were left to look forward to their big European test on Wednesday night.



It's probably been a perfect day for us in a way - three points, Alan's got his 300th goal with as beautiful and as clean a strike as I would think he has ever produced

Bobby Robson
With Arsenal already safe in second place and Newcastle comfortably free of the relegation problems which had haunted them earlier in the season, there was little at stake, but both sides started in lively fashion.

United had already staged two promising attacks when they forged their way into the lead with only six minutes gone.

Nolberto Solano's deep cross looked too high for Shearer at the far post, but the striker held off the challenge of Oleg Luzhny and flicked the ball over his shoulder for Speed to hammer a close-range shot past Manninger.

Neat lob

But if the home crowd had anticipated an early start to their end of season party, the cheers in their throats died within 50 seconds as Kanu chased down a hopeful ball over the top to find Given in no-man's land and powerless to keep out his neat lob.



It was a good occasion to give a run out to some of the younger players because there are not many times when you can give them a chance

Arsene Wenger
It was the Gunners who looked the more likely to take the lead, but just as they started to enjoy greater possession, they fell behind for a second time.

Rob Lee tried to lift the ball over Vernazza 25 yards out, but the midfielder used his hand to cut out the pass and referee Graham Poll awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position.

Shearer blasted an unstoppable drive through the defensive wall and into the top corner to spark fresh celebrations in the stands.

Silvinho's introduction in place of Ray Parlour at half-time gave the visitors fresh impetus, and they were back on level terms within eight minutes.

Kanu's pass gave Malz a run on goal and the midfielder managed to hold off Warren Barton's challenge to shoot past Given and into the bottom corner.

The reverse seemed to inspire Newcastle once again, and the forced their way back in front with 59 minutes gone.

Solano's right-wing corner was delivered perfectly for Speed to arrive to power a downward header past Manninger and up into the top corner.

And there was even better to come when, four minutes later, Lee and Solano combined to put Griffin in on the keeper, and he lifted the ball over the Austrian to make it 4-2.

There was no way back for Arsenal from there, and indeed, United could have added to their tally in a very open conclusion to an entertaining game.

Teams:

Newcastle: Given, Griffin, Howey, Dabizas, Barton, Solano, Dyer, Lee, Speed, Ketsbaia, Shearer. Subs: Perez, Goma, Maric, McClen, Gallacher.

Arsenal: Manninger, Luzhny, Weston, Keown, Winterburn, Parlour, Vernazza, Malz, Cole, Kanu, Suker. Subs: Lukic, Silvinho, Black, McGovern, Gray.

Referee: G Poll (Tring)

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