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Saturday, 15 September, 2001, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
Newcastle stun Man Utd
Newcastle's Laurent Robert unleashes an unstoppable free-kick past Fabian Barthez
Robert scores with an unstoppable free-kick
Newcastle 4-3 Man Utd

Newcastle gave manager Bobby Robson the perfect gift for his 100th match in charge of the club with a superb win over Manchester United.

The Premiership's match of the season so far saw Laurent Robert, Robert Lee, Nikos Dabizas and Alan Shearer score the goals which inflicted United's first league defeat.

It was no more than the Tyneside club deserved even though they were pegged back by Sir Alex Ferguson's side for some time in the second half.

United were forced to come from behind three times but they were unable to snatch a late win as they have done on so many previous occasions.

  Key moments
4 mins: Laurent Robert unleashes an unstoppable free-kick to give Newcastle the lead
29 mins: Ruud van Nistelrooy equalises for United
34 mins: Robert Lee's speculative shot leaves Fabien Barthez red-faced
52 mins: Nikos Dabizas scores Newcastle's third
62 mins: Ryan Giggs pulls one back for United
64 mins: Juan Sebastian Veron scores with an excellent right-foot volley
82 mins: Alan Shearer sends the St James' faithful wild with the fourth goal

And the only incident which marred a spellbinding encounter was Roy Keane's sending-off in the closing moments for unsporting conduct.

Newcastle made a bright start in front of their passionate home support who, along with visiting fans, impeccably observed the minute's silence for the victims of the terrorist attacks in the US.

Robson's side were rewarded for their early pressure after only four minutes.

You need spills and thrills and goals at both ends, and the game was on a knife edge - it was an absolute belter
Newcastle boss Bobby Robson

Frenchman Robert, who produced a virtuoso display throughout, unleashed a thunderous left-foot free-kick past the helpless Fabien Barthez to give Newcastle the lead.

United's response was immediate and Ruud van Nistelrooy just failed to get on to the end of Ryan Giggs' teasing cross.

The game was played at a tremendous pace, with Newcastle's Craig Bellamy proving a thorn in United's defence.

Man Utd's Laurent Blanc tussles with Newcastle's Craig Bellamy
Bellamy's pace unsettled Blanc

The Tyneside club had chances to extend their lead, but Manchester United's endeavour resulted in an equaliser on the half hour mark.

Van Nistelrooy found the back of the net after an assist by former Newcastle striker Andy Cole.

But Newcastle took the lead again courtesy of a speculative shot by veteran midfielder Lee.

The ball bounced up in front of Barthez and over the goal-line to leave the Frenchman red-faced.

Some dubious refereeing decisions were Newcastle's only cause for complaint in an impressive first half, manager Robson feeling his side were denied two clear penalties.

Newcastle came out after the interval and immediately picked up the same blistering tempo.

Scholes' immediate impact

The game was an excellent advertisement for the English Premiership and the chance of an upset was increased when Dabizas scored a third for the Magpies.

But United boss Ferguson had other plans and brought on Paul Scholes for Cole.

Schole's impact was immediate, starting the move that saw Giggs pull one back for United.

When you score three goals away from home you should never lose a game - in fact, I thought we were sure to win
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson

And the majestic Juan Sebastian Veron silenced the St James' Park faithful with an excellent right-foot volley.

The sixth goal of the game capped a superb three-minute spell for United midway through the second half.

But Newcastle were not to be denied and pressed on in search of the winner.

United's defensive frailty was exposed once again as they failed to clear the ball and captain Shearer saw his deflected shot go past Barthez.

Scholes went close to equalising but Newcastle held firm to secure a superb victory.

Newcastle: Given, Griffin, Elliott, O'Brien, Dabizas, Solano, Acuna, Lee, Robert, Shearer, Bellamy. Subs: Harper, Barton, Lua-Lua, Ameobi, Distin.

Man Utd: Barthez, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Blanc, Brown, Beckham, Veron, Keane, Giggs, Cole, Van Nistelrooy. Subs: Carroll, Butt, Silvestre, Scholes, Johnsen.

Referee: S Bennett (Kent).

BBC Sport's John Motson
"An extraordinary match which brought about Manchester United's first defeat of the season"
Toon boss Bobby Robson
"I can't survive too many games like this one!"
Newcastle skipper Alan Shearer
"It doesn't get any better than scoring the winner against Man Utd"
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"Roy (Keane) gave the referee no option"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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