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Saturday, 16 March, 2002, 17:00 GMT
Ipswich hold Magpies
Carl Cort tries to escape from Ipswich's Mark Venus and Matt Holland
Ipswich had lost their previous four league games
Newcastle 2-2 Ipswich
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Newcastle's flagging interest in the Premiership title race was all but ended as Alan Shearer missed a penalty in stoppage time.

Marcus Bent grabbed both the visitors' goals - putting Ipswich ahead twice - as George Burley's side secured a vital point in their struggle to avoid relegation.

Laurent Robert scored in-between Bent's goals and with just two minutes remaining, an Alan Shearer header ensured Newcastle at least earned a point from the game.

You would have put your mortgage on Alan scoring and he is very, very disappointed but I have told him not to worry
Newcastle United manager Bobby Robson
But Shearer's penalty miss means Newcastle now trail Manchester United by eight points, although they have played a game less than the league leaders.

Ipswich did not start like a side that had lost their previous four games - in the opening seconds Jamie Clapham struck a 25-yard shot which Shay Given was forced to tip past the post.

Hermann Hreidarsson threatened again for the visitors when he broke down the left, but his cross was poor with Marcus Stewart and Bent both waiting in good positions.

  Key moments:
50 mins: Marcus Bent scores his first goal with a low shot
60 mins: Laurent Robert equalises with a superbly flighted free-kick
63 mins: Bent capitalises on Newcastle defensive errors to restore Ipswich's lead
88 mins: Shearer heads home to ensure Newcastle take a point from the game

Newcastle's first attack of note saw Nolberto Solano slide a wonderful ball across the Ipswich penalty area - but it was just too far in front of Clarence Acuna.

Nikos Dabizas then did well to keep the ball in play and cross to the far post for Solano to force Matteo Sereni into a diving save with his header.

It was a cracking game but it would have been unjust if we had lost because I thought we did well
Ipswich Town manager George Burley
Carl Cort came closer to scoring than anyone when he controlled Solano's superb long pass on his chest, held off John McGreal and fired in a low shot that Sereni saved well.

Ipswich breathed another sigh of relief when o Peruvian star Solano swung over an accurate cross and Cort rose to crash a header just wide of the post.

Sereni again came to Ipswich's rescue when he denied Shearer.

The former England striker exchanged passes with Robert and then hit the return pass first time while running across the box.

Newcastle's Laruent Robert celebrates his goal against Ipswich
Laurent Robert scored for the second successive week

But Newcastle were made to pay five minutes after the restart, when Marcus Stewart set Bent clear with a header and he sidefooted the ball through Given's legs.

On the hour Newcastle restored parity with Robert finding the mark from a free-kick after Solano was fouled needlessly by Mark Venus.

But Ipswich kept plugging away and Bent capitalised on errors by Dabizas and Andy O'Brien, shooting low past Given for his second of the game.

With just two minutes left Shearer headed home Robert's cross and then uncharacteristically missed from the spot after O'Brien was felled in the Ipswich box.

Newcastle: Given, Hughes, Dabizas, O'Brien, Distin, Solano (Lua-Lua 76), Jenas (Dyer 65), Acuna, Robert, Shearer, Cort (Ameobi 76). Subs Not Used: Elliott, Harper.

Ipswich: Sereni, Makin, McGreal, Hreidarsson, Venus, Wright, Peralta (Magilton 83), Holland, Clapham, Marcus Bent (Armstrong 86), Stewart. Subs Not Used: Marshall, Counago, George.

Booked: Venus.

Attendance: 51,115.

Referee: M Riley (Leeds).

BBC Sport's Alan Biggs
"Ipswich deserved the point"
Ipswich striker Marcus Bent
"It was nice to get two goals"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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