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Saturday, 9 February, 2002, 16:55 GMT
Shearer haunts Saints
Newcastle striker Alan Shearer celebrates scoring against Southampton
Shearer on song for Newcastle again
Newcastle 3-1 Southampton
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Alan Shearer scored twice against his former club Southampton as Newcastle maintained their Premiership challenge with an excellent win at St James' Park.

Laurent Robert fired the Magpies into the lead with an unstoppable 30-yard free-kick to send the home fans wild.

Shearer doubled Newcastle's lead with an accurate header from close range.

Southampton, who showed flashes of their recent improved league form, briefly threatened a comeback when Marian Pahars pulled one back.

But the game was over as a contest on the stroke of half-time when Craig Bellamy won his side a penalty and Shearer converted.

  Key incidents
24 mins: Laurent Robert scores with a thunderbolt free-kick
29 mins: Alan Shearer heads home from a Nolberto Solano corner
39 mins: Marian Pahars pulls one back for Southampton
45 mins: Shearer scores second of the game from the penalty spot

The game started brightly, with both sides eager to establish a grip on proceedings.

Newcastle striker Bellamy posed a constant threat in attack, his pace causing the Southampton defence endless problems.

The Welshman was ably assisted by the enigmatic Robert, enjoying one of his better days, and the in-form Shearer.

I don't think we can play much better than that - our football in the second half was pretty outstanding
Newcastle boss Bobby Robson

The trio were involved in some excellent, penetrating football, with Bellamy going close early on and Shearer squandering a guilt-edged chance.

Shearer's miss was not crucial as Robert opened the scoring with a thunderous free-kick that flew past Paul Jones in the Southampton goal.

Robert then went close to adding a second moments later, but Jones pulled off a fine one-handed save to keep his side in touch.

Newcastle winger Laurent Robert celebrates scoring his free-kick with Nolberto Solano
Robert fired Newcastle in front with a wonder free-kick

However, it did not take long for Shearer to atone for his earlier mistake, heading in Newcastle's second from a Nolberto Solano corner on 29 minutes.

The visitors gamely kept going and were rewarded for their endeavour when Pahars pounced on a loose ball to reduce the deficit.

On the day, their better players, and especially the front two, were better than our better players
Saints boss Gordon Strachan

But Newcastle restored their advantage just before half-time when Shearer thumped home a penalty after Claus Lundekvam brought down Bellamy.

After the interval, Bobby Robson's men maintained their momentum and were unlucky not to add to their tally.

The woodwork denied man-of-the-match Shearer his hat-trick, while Bellamy also hit the post and the side-netting from the tightest of angles.

There was even a chance for 18-year-old Jermaine Jenas to get his first taste of Tyneside action, taking to the field to rapturous applause.

And the passion of the Newcastle fans will not have been lost on Jenas, who under Robson's guidance will undoubtedly blossom into a player fit for the Premiership.

Newcastle: Given, Hughes, O'Brien, Dabizas, Distin (Elliott 82), Solano, McClen (Jenas 76), Speed, Robert, Bellamy, Shearer.
Subs Not Used: Acuna, Harper, Ameobi.

Southampton: Jones, Dodd, Lundekvam, Williams, Bridge, Svensson, Oakley (Tessem 74), Telfer (Delap 48), Marsden, Davies, Pahars.
Subs Not Used: Moss, Monk, Fernandes.
Booked: Davies.

Att: 51,857.

Ref: B Knight (Orpington).

BBC Sport's Peter Slater
"Newcastle's title challenge won't go away"
Newcatle captain Alan Shearer
"They made us work for it"
Saints boss Gordon Strachan
"We didn't do enough to stop them scoring"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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