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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 March 2007, 16:55 GMT
Newcastle 0-0 Middlesbrough
By Saj Chowdhury

Oguchi Onyewu and Yakubu
Oguchi "Gooch" Onyewu and Yakubu battle for the ball
Newcastle and Middlesbrough played out an uneventful goalless draw in the Tyne-Tees derby at St James' Park.

The Magpies had the best of the chances with midfielder James Milner going the closest with a 25-yard free-kick that bounced off the Boro crossbar.

Captain Scott Parker also went close with an angled low shot and header while Obafemi Martins had a chipped effort palmed away by Mark Schwarzer.

Mark Viduka had Boro's best effort, but his turn and shot went two yards wide.

606 DEBATE: Give your thoughts on the match

It was not until the last five minutes of the match the teams managed to wake the St James' Park crowd out of their slumber - the other 85 minutes were not a great advertisement for the Premiership.

A 20-yard Milner effort and a dinked Martins shot gloved away by Mark Schwarzer were the sum total of Newcastle's efforts in the first 45 minutes.

The rest of the time Glenn Roeder's side did their best to give the ball away under relatively little pressure.

Boro created little, but with the potent pairing of Yakubu and Viduka up front coupled with the stereotypically shaky Magpies, there was always a sniff of a chance on offer for the visitors.

And Viduka came closest for his side when a party-piece turn and shot from the edge of the area crept just two yards wide of Shay Given's right-hand upright.

Roeder had a strong team out including 20-year-old Charles N'Zogbia back from injury, and Kieron Dyer and James Milner who both did not start in last week's defeat at Wigan.

But there seemed to be poor communication between the trio, who for all their best efforts looked way off their best.

But at least Milner does have a shot on him, as he proved against Aston Villa and Manchester United this season, and managed to beat Schwarzer soon after the restart with a fierce 25-yard free-kick that rattled the crossbar.

Captain Parker looked the calmest player for the Magpies and went close with a 12-yard angled shot and a eight-yard header that was kept out by the alert Schwarzer.

As for Middlesbrough, they were kept quiet by the Newcastle defence who mended their first-half glitches.

Their aim, led by Jonathan Woodgate at the back, was to keep a clean sheet and maybe nick one on the break.

They managed the former but failed to conjure much in the other two-thirds of the field.

  • Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder:
    "Whenever we play at home and we only draw, it is two points dropped whether we are playing Middlesbrough or anybody else.

    "The expectation here, Newcastle at St James' Park, we are expected to win.

    "It is disappointing that we have not scored to win the game. It is very rare to see a 0-0 at St James' Park."

  • Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate: "We came here to try to win. As the game panned out, it was quite tight.

    "We had to defend well, which we did as a team. The goalkeeper and the back four were excellent.

    "At the end of what has been a tough week for us, the lads gave absolutely everything. I didn't need to get them up for the game, they were up anyway."

    Newcastle: Given, Solano, Onyewu, Bramble, Taylor, Milner (Sibierski 78), Parker, Butt, N'Zogbia, Dyer, Martins.
    Subs Not Used: Harper, Huntington, O'Brien, Carroll.

    Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Parnaby, Woodgate, Pogatetz, Taylor, Cattermole (Morrison 59), Boateng, Arca (Euell 84), Downing, Viduka, Yakubu (Lee 64).
    Subs Not Used: Jones, Xavier.

    Booked: Pogatetz, Woodgate, Taylor.

    Att: 52,303

    Ref: S Bennett (Kent).

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