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By Caroline Cheese
2227: I must go. A gripping night ends with Newcastle out of the bottom three as Alan Shearer records his first win as Magpies boss, and Boro looking doomed. Sheffield United, meanwhile, look forward to a trip to Wembley after inflicting more play-off heartbreak on Preston. Return here tomorrow for Reading v Burnley with Stevo. Bye for now.
2223: Southgate - in his calm and entirely reasonable way - is a bit upset about Obafemi Martins' goal. He felt Mark Viduka jumped into Robert Huth to win the header, then Kevin Nolan was offside as he challenged for the ball. Nolan didn't seem to get much on the ball, but it would be hard to argue that he wasn't interfering with play.
Boro boss Gareth Southgate: "It's not over yet. We're out of it at the moment - but six points might be enough. We have to win the last two games - which we're capable of doing - but we're relying on other results. I've no intention of walking away."
Newcastle boss Alan Shearer: "I don't believe we'll be in the bottom three again. There's a long way to go, but we've won one game and it's still in our hands. I think we'll need at least another win. It'll probably go to the last game of the season. Newcastle don't do things the easy way."
Newcastle boss Alan Shearer: "It's a magnificent feeling. It'll be even better for the players - they were brilliant tonight. They couldn't have given me any more. I knew we had some characters in the dressing room and they showed it tonight. You make subs hoping for them to have an impact. We know what Martins can do - he did everything we asked him to - but there were some brilliant performances out there - Viduka, Nolan and the back four."
2204:Obafemi Martins is running away with it on Player Rater, his vital goal which put the Magpies ahead earning the substitute 8.10. Some very happy Magpies fans influencing the voting there. Mark Viduka takes a creditable 7.67. Poor old Boro manage only fives and the odd six. They've probably got other things on their mind at the moment though. Newcastle v Boro Player Rater
Newcastle striker Mark Viduka: "We've been under a lot of pressure and it was a massive game for us. North-east derbies are never easy. The start wasn't the best and I think we showed a lot of character to come back from that in such a big pressure game. I feel for Boro. I have fond memories from there and we know exactly how they feel. Gareth Southgate's a good friend and I wish them the best of luck."
Newcastle defender Steven Taylor: "It's massive. The crowd were magnificent. I think it was the best feeling ever (to score the equaliser). We need to take this win and build on it. It was a great team performance."
2200: With the way they celebrated at the final whistle, you'd think Newcastle had already sealed their survival, but they still have a home game against Fulham on Saturday and a visit to Aston Villa to negotiate. Hull go to Bolton before hosting Manchester United - who could be champions by then.
2158: Another deafening roar greets the final whistle at St James' Park. Newcastle climb out of the bottom three on goal difference and are replaced by Hull. Boro are surely doomed.
2156: FULL-TIME Newcastle 3-1 Middlesbrough
2154: There's Magpies owner Mike Ashley. He's smiling, not surprisingly.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park: "Newcastle's hopes live on but it now looks like relegation for Gareth Southgate's Middlesbrough. There must be a measure of sympathy because they have had their chances, but ultimately Alan Shearer's side have carried too much power and the BBC pundit-turned-manager has pulled perfect substitutions out of the bag. Middlesbrough's fans are starting to drift away, a little bit like their Premier League existence, as the Toon Army pay homage to Shearer."
2152: The party has started at St James' Park, and the chant of "Shearer, Shearer" rings out. We're into injury time. Gareth Southgate looks desolate.
2150: Mark Viduka gets a thoroughly deserved standing ovation as he is replaced by Andy Carroll - and the third sub almost gets on the scoresheet straight away. He is played in by Oba Martins but sidefoots the shot too close to Brad Jones.
2148: GOAL Newcastle 3-1 Middlesbrough Loose ball comes to Kevin Nolan on the right and his cross bounces once before being plucked out of the air by a fabulous volley from substitute Peter Lovenkrands. Two substitutes, two goals. Alan Shearer has got the golden touch.
2147: Stewart Downing produces a sliding challenge to stop Obafemi Martins' run. The substitute's pace is really troubling the Boro defence.
2143: Greg Halford's second-half header earns Sheffield United a trip to Wembley on Monday 25 May. A deserved win for the Blades against a cautious Preston side. Tomorrow night, Burnley take a 1-0 lead to Reading as they bid to join Sheffield United in the final.
2142: FULL-TIME Sheffield United 1-0 Preston (agg 2-1)
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park: "Has Alan Shearer made the substitution that has saved Newcastle United's Premier League life? The Toon Army certainly think he has because there is absolute ecstasy here at St James' Park. Middlesbrough are currently at the other end of the emotional scale, knowing they must score at least one goal to maintain realistic hopes of survival. Newcastle are not a team to do things the easy way. Give them a mile and they will take an inch - so do not rule another twist before the night is over."
From 50,000 Geordies via text on 81111: "Yes! Get in! You beauty!"
From Dave from Edinburgh via text on 81111: "I've just broke the springs in my bed by jumping up and down when Martins scored."
2139: Hearts in mouths time for the St James' Park faithful. The Newcastle defence let Marvin Emnes go but he can't get a solid enough touch on the cross and Steve Harper collects.
2138: Boro boss Gareth Southgate's final throw of the dice is to replace defender Andrew Taylor with forward Adam Johnson.
2137: Sheffield United are four minutes of added time away from a trip to Wembley.
2136: 16 minutes remaining at St James' Park, 16 minutes which could decide both teams' fate. As if I need to tell you, Newcastle are out of the bottom three as it stands. Hull replace them.
2133: GOAL Newcastle 2-1 Middlesbrough St James' Park explodes as Mark Viduka heads the ball on for Kevin Nolan, who appears to be a touch offside as he attempts to flick it on to substitute Obafemi Martins. The striker, who has been on for all of two minutes, turns the defender brilliantly and as he is falling, scuffs the ball low into the bottom left-hand corner for what could - could - be a vital goal for the Magpies. Martins runs to celebrate with a jubilant Alan Shearer.
2131: Michael Owen looks over to the Newcastle bench but there's no flicker of emotion as he spots his number on the board. Obafemi Martins comes on to replace him. Jeremie Aliadiere replaces Mohamed Shawky for Middlesbrough.
2130: Sheffield United go five at the back as they attempt to cling on to their lead at Bramall Lane. Six minutes remaining.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park: "The simple fact that a draw is useless to both Newcastle and Middlesbrough is providing a thrilling backdrop to this game. Both sides are going for it, and for all Newcastle's power play up front Middlesbrough are carrying a real threat. Throw in the fact that there is an air of anxiety and desperation from Newcastle's fans every time Middlesbrough get within shooting range and you have all the ingredients for a real nail-biter as this half progresses."
2127: Newcastle make the first tactical change as Peter Lovenkrands replaces Jonas Gutierrez.
2126: A lovely move from Boro ends with Tuncay dinking his pass out right straight out of play. That was a relegation pass.
2124: Just had the closest of close-ups on Gareth Southgate. Not what I needed. He's watching another scrappy phase of the game.
2122: Preston sub Neil Mellor has a shot from six yards cleared off the line by Brian Howard.
2120: Preston are starting to throw some balls forward, Jon Parkin forcing Paddy Kenny into his first save of the game. 17 minutes remaining at Bramall Lane.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park: "Mido - currently on loan from Middlesbrough at Wigan - is here to lend support to Gareth Southgate's side tonight as they go in search of the win that could preserve their Premier League status. Another one-time Middlesbrough striker Mark Viduka is predictably on the receiving end of some tasty treatment from the visiting fans, but the man troubled so often by injury during his time on Tyneside looks lively tonight and may yet silence those taunts."
2118: See? Boro break and Marlon King picks up the ball on the right and cuts it back to Gary O'Neill - good save Steve Harper.
2115: Pinball time as the ball ricochets around the Boro box, Newcastle eventually winning a corner from it. Newcastle are well on top, but on the rare occasions Boro do venture up the other end, they look dangerous.
2112: Kevin Nolan plays in Michael Owen in the left-hand channel but his shot goes across the face of goal and past the far post. Boro win a free-kick anyway for Mark Viduka's shirt-pull on Matthew Bates.
2110: Jonas Gutierrez goes down under a slight challenge from Gary O'Neil. Free-kick 25 yards out, quite central... Nicky Butt's effort flicks off the wall and goes behind for a corner.
2108: We're off again at St James' Park - and Newcastle carve out a chance immediately. Habib Beye sets off on a run down the right and squares for Mark Viduka, whose backheel goes wide of the far post.
2106: GOAL Sheff Utd 1-0 Preston (agg 2-1) Kyle Walker crosses from the right and Greg Halford rises above Youl Mawene to power in a stunning header, which hits the underside of the bar and bounces in. Cue wild celebrations at Bramall Lane.
From Andy via text on 81111: "Amazing performance by both sides in the first half, I think both Newcastle and Boro should agree to settle for a point each! Can you tell I'm an Albion fan!? Great Escape II is on!"
From Didcot'sFinest on 606: "Re 2058: While we're all having a go at Cheesy for nothing, there's a very slim chance it may not!"
2101: Sheffield United are getting closer. Preston keeper Andy Lonergan does well to palm away Craig Beattie's diving header.
From anon via text on 81111: "Re 2052: Just to point out, away goals never count double. They are just decisive. Silly mistake."
2058: Well done everyone. Mark Viduka takes his rightful place as star man on Player Rater with 7.68. None of you seem that impressed with the Boro defence, Justin Hoyte trailing on a paltry 5.21. It will change - and you have the power. Newcastle v Middlesbrough Player Rater
2056: Sheffield United striker Craig Beattie shoots wide of the left-hand post from just inside the box. Might have done better.
From unclemoo via text on 81111: "I believe that Newcastle's improved performance is all down to some magic remote control device cunningly hidden under Shearer's unusually wide tie."
2052: They're off again at Bramall Lane. Away goals don't count double. Have I told you?
BBC 5 Live's Peter Slater: "I've seen four play-off games recently. They're all the same: very tense, very few chances. I can't recall either goalkeeper making a save at Bramall Lane. I have a funny feeling we may go to extra time."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park: "Pulsating first 45 minutes packed with nervous energy played out in a vibrant atmosphere at St James' Park. Hard to know who will be the happier manager as the teams go in for half-time. Newcastle have had Middlesbrough on the rack, but Gareth Southgate will have seen compelling evidence that his side can really trouble the opposition when they bring some composure and order to their play. We've still got the scoreline neither side wants, but everything remains up for grabs. Fascinating second half awaits.
2050: HALF-TIME Newcastle 1-1 Middlesbrough
2048: Marvin Emnes wins a free-kick for Boro about 40 yards out... Tuncay and Stewart Downing stand over it before the latter boots it straight into the wall.
2045: Marlon King's effort comes out to Stewart Downing, who opts against shooting with his duff right foot and instead passes to Marvin Emnes - difficult chance blocked.
From anon via text on 81111: "Just seen a fan in a now skin-tight 1997 Newcastle shirt! At least he remembers the good times!"
2044: Robert Huth delivers a sensational diagonal pass to Marvin Emnes on the left. He finds Tuncay, who blazes over wildly. Few minutes til 45.
2041: All square at half time at Bramall Lane in a a typically edgy playoff second-leg. Preston centre halves Sean St Ledger and Youl Mawene are proving more than capable of mopping up anything that United manage to throw at them so far. The visitors are set up to counter attack but they have barely got out of their own half and haven't tested Paddy Kenny in the Sheffield United goal.
2039: Robert Huth picks up a yellow card for hauling back Michael Owen as the former England man tries to get on the end of Mark Viduka's pass. Boro could do with actually picking up Viduka. Just a little suggestion.
2038: Middlesbrough are back up to 11 men as Marlon King replaces Afonso Alves.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park: "Newcastle well on top and plenty of encouragement from Alan Shearer and his sidekick Iain Dowie on the sidelines, but there is definite hope for Middlesbrough when they actually get the ball down and play as the missed chance from Marvin Emnes proved. Gareth Southgate is standing alone in his technical area and is driving his team on with constant applause, but it has been a tough night for Middlesbrough's defence so far. Cannot believe this scoreline will stay as it is."
2036: Game over for Afonso Alves, who leaves the pitch on a stretcher. Gareth Southgate has a furrowed brow. Marlon King is warming up and will be on shortly.
2036: HALF-TIME Sheff Utd 0-0 Preston (agg 1-1)
2035: Afonso Alves is a man in pain, staying grounded after twisting awkwardly. Stretcher coming on.
2034: Nicky Butt's industrial challenge on Afonso Alves earns him the game's first yellow card.
2032: Mark Viduka blots his rather excellent copybook by giving the ball away - and it nearly results in a Boro goal. Marvin Emnes's initial shot is well saved by Steve Harper and the Dutchman sidefoots the follow-up inches wide of the post.
2030: All Newcastle now. From the corner, Steven Taylor's shot hits Boro defender Andrew Taylor, with several thousand optimistic Magpies screaming for handball. It wasn't.
2029: Goodness me, that was close. Guess who? Yup, Mark Viduka delivers a wicked, inswinging cross from the left and Michael Owen gets a head to it - but Brad Jones produces an excellent one-handed save.
2027: Mark Viduka rampages through the middle but Michael Owen's run is well-tracked and the Aussie's ambitious pass goes out of play. Kevin Nolan hobbling a bit.
2024: This is more like what I expected: scrappy. Newcastle have dropped off the pace after that frantic early start.
BBC 5 Live Sports Extra's Nigel Adderley on Sheff Utd-Preston: "This one's got the look of a long night."
From Ben, Swindon, via text on 81111: "If an atmosphere like this doesn't get you going then you shouldn't be a footballer."
2018: Mark Viduka again terrorising the Boro defence, finding space on the right before dinking a clever cross towards Damien Duff, which is cleared for a corner. Boro survive that set-piece.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park: "Newcastle have recovered superbly from the loss of that farcical opening goal and Steven Taylor's goal is no more than they deserve - now it's Middlesbrough who need to clear their heads because the impetus of the early advantage has gone. Great atmosphere inside St James' Park as Newcastle's fans get real encouragement from these opening exchanges."
2015: No clearcut chances at Bramall Lane to speak of. Sheffield United still just about on top.
2012: GOAL Newcastle 1-1 Middlesbrough This could end up 10-10. Habib Beye's storming run down the right earns a corner for Newcastle. Danny Guthrie swings it over and no-one tracks Steven Taylor's run to the near post. The defender meets it with a magnificent header into opposite corner.
2007: I can't believe what I'm seeing here. Mark Viduka smacks a volley onto the post, with Steven Taylor blazing over from the rebound. Boro cannot contain Viduka at the moment.
2005: GOAL Newcastle 0-1 Middlesbrough Incredible. Absolutely incredible. Afonso Alves passes to Tuncay, who manages to slip the ball between the two defenders. His shot cannons into keeper Steve Harper and then Habib Beye, the Newcastle defender unable to stop the ball rolling into the net for an own goal.
2004: Some start. Mark Viduka holds the ball up before finding Michael Owen, who squares it to Danny Guthrie. He hits it first time but a disastrous shot slices off his right boot. Needed a cool head, didn't get one.
2003: Deep breath and off we go. Almost immediately, Jonas Gutierrez plays in Michael Owen but Matthew Bates gets the vital challenge in.
2002: Alan Shearer is nervously chewing gum as he shakes hands with opposite number Gareth Southgate.
From a very optimistic and slightly crazy Baggies fan via text on 81111: "Newcastle 3-3 Middlesbrough. An unexpected classic! Paving the way for West Brom to top their previous great escape! You heard it here first."
1959: This has been dubbed Must-Win Monday in some quarters, but if ever a game had the words DRAW written in large, bold capital letters, this was it. Newcastle have drawn more games (11) than any other Premier League club this season. The last four league games between these two have been draws. Boro haven't won at St James' Park since 2001, but Newcastle haven't beaten Boro at home since 2004 - when a fella called Shearer scored the winner.
1957: The black and white flags are waving - giving me a bit of a headache - as the players wait in the tunnel. As they begin to walk out, there is a phenomenal roar, one to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.
1955: Stephen Quinn picks up the ball in space on the right, but he's an inch offside. Promising start by the hosts at Bramall Lane.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park: "A huge 'Toon Army Poland' banner has just been unfurled at the side of the pitch - obviously couldn't keep away from such a potentially defining occasion. Newcastle have gone down the now traditional route of handing out flags to boost the atmosphere inside St James' Park. The crowd have also just been urged to 'make some noise' - no excuse not to with the stakes being so high tonight."
1948: Sheffield United's Brian Howard, playing in behind Craig Beattie, gets a shot away but his daisy-cutter lands in the arms of Andy Lonergan.
1947: Preston get us under way at Bramall Lane.
From Pompey_Canuck on 606: "I think that the Blades' draw at Deepdale took some of the wind out of North End and they are favourites to advance to the final." Join the debate on 606
1943: The teams are out at Bramall Lane. I know I've said this already, but I'll say it again: away goals don't count double so if we're all square at 90 minutes, it'll be extra-time and possibly penalties. Capiche?
1940: TEAM NEWS Newcastle v Middlesbrough Newcastle striker Michael Owen is recalled to the first XI with Obafemi Martins, who is struggling with a groin injury, dropping to the bench. Steven Taylor replaces Fabricio Coloccini in the heart of the defence while Kevin Nolan, Danny Guthrie and Jonas Gutierrez all start in midfield. Middlesbrough's Marvin Emnes starts alongside Afonso Alves in attack. Mohamed Shawky comes into the midfield with Stewart Downing on the right and Tuncay on the left. Meanwhile, Justin Hoyte is preferred Tony McMahon.
From JVGazeley on 606: "Preston to shade it I still think. Less pressure on the team that comes 6th, as they're the underdogs. Especially given the way they snuck into the play-offs on the final day." Join the debate on 606
From Ben via text on 81111: "My brother's travelled up for the game tonight and I'm stuck with an exam tomorrow. But what's more nerve-racking? Differential equations or 90 mins of watching Coloccini at the back. I'd take the exam every time...!"
Good news Ben. Coloccini's on the bench. Can't help with your differential watchamacalllits though.
1928: TEAMS Newcastle v Middlesbrough Newcastle: Harper, Beye, Steven Taylor, Bassong, Duff, Guthrie, Butt, Nolan, Gutierrez, Owen, Viduka. Subs: Krul, Coloccini, Martins, Ryan Taylor, Lovenkrands, LuaLua, Carroll. Middlesbrough: Jones, Hoyte, Bates, Huth, Taylor, Downing, O'Neil, Shawky, Sanli, Emnes, Alves. Subs: Turnbull, Aliadiere, King, Arca, Adam Johnson, McMahon, Grounds.
From starmanfish-thelondonwanderer on 606: "Newcastle-Boro could be interesting: I can't see either team keeping a clean sheet, but I can't see either of them scoring either..." Join the debate on 606
1924: TEAM NEWS Sheff Utd v Preston Sheffield United strikers Darius Henderson and Jamie Ward, who started the first match, are replaced by Craig Beattie and David Cotterill. Preston's Neil Mellor and Darren Carter are replaced by Chris Brown and Barry Nicholson in the starting XI.
Boro fan and Maximo Park singer Paul Smith on 5 Live: "I am a bag of nerves. Boro have scored 25 goals this season which is a pretty poor total but we're still hoping they'll win their last three games. That's what it's like to be a football fan."
1919: Before I forget, if you're near a radio, you'll be needing to press the button marked 'BBC 5 Live' for St James' Park commentary. For Sheffield United-Preston, it's over to 5 Live Sports Extra.
From Richard, Glasgow, via text on 81111: "In common with Dave from Bath (see 1911) I've also got finals in the morning. The difference is I support Sunderland, ha'way the draw!"
1917: Should either or both Newcastle and Boro succumb to the drop, Sheffield United and Preston have designs on replacing them. The Blades have the upper hand after drawing the away leg of their Championship play-off semi-final 1-1 - but away goals don't count double so it's a very slight advantage.
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at St James' Park: "'As Big As It Gets' is tonight's headline on the front of the evening paper here in Newcastle - a reflection of manager Alan Shearer's thoughts on this clash of the relegation rivals at St James' Park. Weather conditions are perfect. You can sense the nerves and tension around the stadium already as supporters of both sides start to file in. Quiet at the moment - but genuine fear here about a possible stalemate that could eventually condemn both clubs to the drop into the Championship. Only a win will do - for Newcastle United and Middlesbrough."
1911: Some early, and very interesting, team news: Obafemi Martins has a groin injury and will start on the bench, Michael Owen is back. But hear this: Middlesbrough give a first Premier League start to Marvin Emnes, who partners Afonso Alves up front.
BBC 5 Live commentator Ian Dennis: "The one stat that stands out to me is this: Newcastle have had as many managers as they have had league wins at home this season - four."
From Dave, Bath, via text on 81111: "University finals tomorrow and yet all I can think about how the Magpies have got to win this one. If there's a late penalty decision in this one the pressure is gonna be unbearable."
1906: How big a game is Newcastle-Boro? "This is as important and big as it can be," reckons Magpies boss Alan Shearer. "It's one hell of a football match. I'd go as far to say it's the biggest of my career." Boro boss Gareth Southgate, meanwhile, is in philosophical mood. "There are games that will have been bigger, but the next one is always the most important," he said rather cryptically.
1900: Hello. Two games tonight: both are massive. You weren't thinking of going anywhere were you? Didn't think so.
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