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Saturday, 13 April, 2002, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Newcastle sink Derby
Alan Shearer battles for the ball with Warren Barton
Shearer was substituted after a clash of heads
Derby 2-3 Newcastle
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Lomana Tresor Lua-Lua scored a dramatic last-minute winner to cap a stunning Newcastle United comeback and push Derby County closer to the Premiership trapdoor.

Derby boss John Gregory was sent from the dug-out as his doomed side threw away a two-goal lead to leave themselves on the brink of the drop.

I find it hard that somebody could be so incompetent
John Gregory on assistant referee Andy Martin

Newcastle looked down and out as they trailed in the closing stages - but turned the game around in dramatic fashion to move a step towards the Champions League.

Malcolm Christie and Lee Morris put Derby 2-0 ahead five minutes after half-time, before Laurent Robert and Kieron Dyer drew the Toon Army level.

Lua-Lua then scored his first league goal for the club to cap a brilliant recovery.

With both clubs desperate for points for different reasons it was little wonder the first half had been a tense, edgy affair.

But all that changed dramatically within a minute of the second half.

Derby's Warren Barton battles with former Newcastle team-mate Carl Cort
Warren Barton holds off Carl Cort

Morris, who had been impressive in the first half, collected a pass from Branko Strupar and raced down the line, before delivering a low cross to the back post.

Christie reacted brilliantly, allowing the ball to come across his body before side-footing the ball in the bottom right comer.

Five minutes later Morris made it 2-0 with a brilliant 12-yard volley.

Barton, breaking down the right flank, fired in a low cross across the face of the goal, which Morris powerfully volleyed low to Shay Given's right.

That seemed to spark Newcastle into action and they stunned Derby by pulling level with two goals in two minutes.

Two wins and a draw would make sure we finish fourth and that's our ambition
Newcastle boss Bobby Robson

With Alan Shearer and Rob Lee off the pitch after a clash of heads, Robert stepped up after a foul on Solano to score the Magpies' opener with a superb 35 yard free kick.

Derby's fragile confidence was then exposed by Dyer, who added the second, after being released by Solano.

The Peruvian winger broke down the right before squaring for the English international, who cleverly beat the off-side trap to equalise.

Derby were incensed that the goal was ruled on-side and their protests resulted in manager Gregory being sent from the dug-out.

Ravanelli missed an easy chance while at the other end Gary Speed and Jermaine Jenas saw shots come back off the woodwork.

Lua-Lua sealed a dramatic victory for Newcastle when he swept home Solano's cross in the 89th minute.

Derby: Oakes, Barton, Riggott, Higginbotham, Boertien, Jackson, Lee (Evatt 81), Kinkladze, Morris (Elliott 90), Christie (Ravanelli 65), Strupar.
Subs Not Used: Foletti, Grenet.
Booked: Riggott, Higginbotham.

Newcastle: Given, Hughes, O'Brien (Bernard 66), Dabizas, Distin, Solano, Dyer, Speed, Robert, Shearer (Jenas 73), Cort (Lua-Lua 59).
Subs Not Used: Harper, Elliott.
Booked: Distin.

Att: 31,031

Ref: R Styles (Waterlooville).

BBC Sport's Steve Wilson
"This is surely the end for Derby"
Newcastle boss Bobby Robson
"A massive victory for us"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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