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Wednesday, 26 December, 2001, 16:51 GMT
Magpies maul Boro
Alan Shearer gets the better of Middlesbrough's Mark Crossley and Gareth Southgate
Alan Shearer is on the mark again for Newcastle
Newcastle 3-0 Middlesbrough
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Goals from Alan Shearer, Gary Speed and Olivier Bernard ensured victory in the north-east derby against Middlesbrough.

Newcastle's fifth successive league win also ensured Bobby Robson's side retained their three-point lead over Arsenal at the top of the Premiership.

While Newcastle's horizons continue to brighten, the outlook for Boro looks more cloudy - Steve McClaren's side have now failed to score in over nine hours of football.

  Key moments
29 mins: Alan Shearer gives Newcastle the lead
58 mins: Gary Speed grabs Newcastle's second
83 mins: Olivier Bernard scores Newcastle's third

McClaren had opted to start with Noel Whelan partnering Alen Boksic in attack.

Yet at the interval the Boro manager replaced Whelan with Andy Campbell as the visitors searched for that elusive goal.

A bouyant Newcastle had surged forward from the opening whistle.

With less than a minute gone, Robbie Elliott won possession in his own half and fed Craig Bellamy.

The forward charged up field before allowing Nolberto Solano to cross for Alan Shearer, who headed straight into Mark Crossley's arms.

We were always looking to be penetrative, and I think we've had a good day
Bobby Robson

Then Frenchman Laurent Robert should have scored when he got to Aaron Hughes' cross, but he directed his header at Crossley.

The vital breakthrough came just before the half-hour when Franck Queudrue could only hammer Speed's raking long ball into Shearer.

And although the former England striker saw his initial shot well saved by Crossley, Shearer stabbed the rebound home.

Boro had a chance when Andy O'Brien and Distin got their wires crossed to allow Boksic in on the end of Crossley's long free-kick.

But Shay Given pulled off a point-blank save.

Newcastle's Gary Speed is congratulated by Nolberto Solano and Craig Bellamy
Gary Speed celebrates after scoring

It then took a fine 34th-minute tackle from O'Brien to deny Carlos Marinelli a shot after Whelan had recycled Robbie Stockdale's deep cross.

Bellamy went inches wide in first-half injury-time after Hughes picked out his run to the near post after playing a one-two with Solano to split the Boro defence.

Then just before the hour Speed doubled Newcastle's advantage, the Welshman heading home from a Solano corner.

Boro crumbled as United surged forward in a bid to kill the game off.

And Crossley was relieved to see Shearer power a header over after Robert crossed from the left following a sustained period of pressure.

We're better than that and we've performed better than that in most games
Steve McLaren

Olivier Bernard completed the rout when he converted Bellamy's cross with seven minutes left.

In the closing minutes Shearer also had a goal disallowed for pushing.

Newcastle: Given, Hughes, O'Brien, Distin, Elliott, Solano (Lee 79), Dyer (Lua-Lua 84), Speed, Robert (Bernard 79), Shearer, Bellamy.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Barton.
Goals: Shearer 29, Speed 58, Bernard 83.

Middlesbrough: Crossley, Stockdale, Southgate, Ehiogu, Queudrue, Marinelli (Okon 81), Ince, Mustoe, Greening, Boksic (Ricard 81), Whelan (Campbell 45).
Subs not used: Beresford, Cooper.
Booked: Ehiogu.

Attendance: 52,127.

Referee: M Halsey (Welwyn Garden City).

BBC Sport's John Murray
"Five Premiership wins in a row for Newcastle"
Newcastle boss Bobby Robson
"We can't talk about winning the championship"
Newcastle midfielder Gary Speed
"These derbies are always tough matches"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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