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BBC Sport's Peter Slater
With a round-up of the action from St James' Park
 real 14k

Saturday, 13 January, 2001, 18:41 GMT
Newcastle sink spirited Coventry
Gary Speed heads home after four minutes
Gary Speed heads home after four minutes
Newcastle 3-1 Coventry

Newcastle bagged all three points in an encounter which drops Coventry into the Premiership's bottom three.

Goals from Gary Speed on four minutes, Shola Ameobi's first for the club after 58 minutes and a superb solo effort from Kieron Dyer on 66 minutes wrapped up the tie.

But it was testament to the Sky Blues' spirit that they grabbed a consolation direct from a corner from David Thompson after 77 minutes.

Newcastle were determined to get their season back on track and started the game in a positive manner.

Confidence

The lanky Ameobi had the Sky Blues defence at sixes and sevens as the ball was knocked out for a corner by Paul Williams on four minutes.

Gary Speed rose in characteristic fashion to head home ahead of Magnus Hedman from a Nolberto Solano cross at the near post.


It was a little bit of a ding-dong without much music, I guess, but we've ground out a result
  Newcastle manager Bobby Robson
Coventry's confidence, however, was not to be dented.

The predatory Craig Bellamy and industrious Thompson dragged the visitors back into the game but the goal was to prove elusive.

Coventry striker John Aloisi had the ball in the back of the Newcastle net on 14 minutes but the strike was ruled out for offside.

Ameobi and Breen clash
Ameobi and Breen clash

Coventry continued to prosper on the break, and it took a fine tackle by Hughes to dispossess Bellamy on 22 minutes after he again linked well with Thompson down the right.

The normally effervescent Dyer took 36 minutes to take centre stage.

A deep cross from Ameobi fell to him six yards out but the England man could only volley over when he should have done better.

The last two chances of the half fell to Coventry but they were both squandered.

Sparkling run

Paul Williams headed over from a Thompson corner and John Eustace blasted over when unmarked as the visitors went into the dressing-room 1-0 down.

Dyer opened the second-half with a sparkling run after a Solano through ball but he fired wide of Chris Kirkland's goal.

Just as they had done in the first-half, Coventry continued to press.

After 52 minutes Thompson broke through but his shot found the legs of the advancing Steve Harper.

Ameobi on song


I've come here previously four times as manager of this club and, if you put the four games together, never made as many clear-cut chances as that
  Coventry manager Gordon Strachan
Solano then missed an easier chance as he put the ball into Hedman's arms when he should have increased the lead.

That tally was added to, however, on 58 minutes as Ameobi bagged his first senior goal for the club.

A superb Solano ball was crossed by Dyer for the youngster to slot home.

Dyer added to the scoreline eight minutes later. A great one-two with Solano saw the former Ipswich man go on a 30-yard run before stabbing home.

But Coventry were not for giving up and got their reward when Thompson's corner flew into the net off substitute Stephen Glass on the line.


Newcastle: Harper, Barton, Goma, Hughes, Quinn, Solano, Bassedas, Acuna, Speed, Ameobi, Dyer. Subs: Given, Marcelino, Cordone, Glass, Lua-Lua.

Coventry: Hedman, Quinn, Edworthy, Breen, Williams, Thompson, Telfer, Carsley, Eustace, Aloisi, Bellamy. Subs: Palmer, Strachan, Guerrero, Bothroyd, Kirkland.

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees).

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