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Saturday, 15 December, 2001, 17:08 GMT
Newcastle close on lead
David Dunn's goal leaves Shay Given downcast
Dunn turns away to celebrate after his goal
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Newcastle 2-1 Blackburn

Newcastle have moved to within three points of Premiership leaders Liverpool with a hard-fought home victory against Blackburn.

Two goals in five minutes in the second-half turned the game in Newcastle's favour after Bobby Robson made two crucial substistutions.

We have the best squad we've had for some time, but it's doubtful that it has enough quality to win the championship
Newcastle manager Bobby Robson

Kieron Dyer and Lomana Lua-Lua came on in midfield in place of Rob Lee and Shola Ameobi, and they disturbed the equanimity in what had been a comfortable defence.

In the first-half, Blackburn had weathered Newcastle's pressure well, and they went in at half-time leading 1-0 thanks to David Dunn.

  Key moments
34 mins: David Dunn scores as Tugay's shot rebounds off the crossbar
65 mins: Olivier Bernard levels with a 30-yard drive
69 mins: Gary Speed heads in the winning goal
Newcastle had lacked a cutting edge in the first-hald in the absence of the injured Craig Bellamy and Laurent Robert, but the replacements made the difference.

The home side had set a heady tempo from the start as Blackburn, playing with a five-man midfield and Matt Jansen on his own up front, seemed to content to absorb the pressure.

The tactic worked well. Henning Berg and Craig Short played well in the centre of defence and the visitors held firm.

Newcastle, though, did manage to inflict a few scares on Blackburn.

David Dunn scores for Blackburn
David Dunn heads the ball past Shay Given to put Blackburn ahead
Gary Speed, Nolberto Solano and Alan Shearer all had good chances, and Jansen was stretchered off after a collision, before Dunn broke the deadlock.

Tugay fired a 30-yard shot against the crossbar and Dunn scrambled the ball in under pressure from goalkeeper Shay Given.

Newcastle's equaliser also came as a result of a fierce long drive - this one on target from Olivier Bernard after 65 minutes.

Their second goal was a poxy goal - it wasn't meant
Blackburn manager Graeme Souness

Five minutes later, Gary Speed gave Newcastle the lead. His header shot across Brad Friedel into the far corner from Robbie Elliott's deep cross.

Blackburn responded with fire, and the game opened up, with chances coming thick and fast at either end, but there were no more goals.

Newcastle: Given, Hughes, O'Brien, Distin, Elliott, Solano, Lee, Speed, Bernard, Shearer, Ameobi. Subs: Dyer, Griffin, Harper, Lua-Lua, Dabizas.

Blackburn: Friedel, Curtis, Berg, Short, Neill, Gillespie, Flitcroft, Tugay, Duff, Dunn, Jansen. Subs: Kelly, Hughes, Mahon, Grabbi, Taylor.

Referee: S Dunn (Bristol)

BBC Sport's Peter Slater
"Blackburn would feel they deserved something"
Newcastle boss Bobby Robson
"Any team can beat anyone - there's no formality of results"
See also:

15 Dec 01 |  Newcastle United
Robson rules out title
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