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Saturday, 28 September, 2002, 18:27 GMT 19:27 UK
Newcastle cruise past Blues
Nolberto Solano fires home the first Newcastle goal on 37 minutes
Solano blazes home despite Purse's desperate lunge
Birmingham 0-2 Newcastle

Substitute Shola Ameobi put the seal on Newcastle's first away win of the season as they deservedly saw off Birmingham at St Andrews.

Ameobi bundled home his first Premiership goal in 34 outings to complement Nolberto Solano's fine first-half opener in a match Newcastle dominated.

  Key moments
15 mins: Lua Lua fails to beat Bennett with a free header
37 mins: Solano strikes after sweeping move
42 mins: Devlin's curler dips onto the roof of the net
90 mins: Sub Ameobi bundles home the second
Solano's strike - his first of the season - would have been a worthy matchwinner, Newcastle sweeping from just outside own penalty to the edge of the Blues box before the Peruvian swept home in clinical fashion.

But the visitors deserved a second goal and got it when Ameobi latched on to Alan Shearer's rolled pass and saw his shot bounce back off goalkeeper Ian Bennett and then in off the striker's knee.

Newcastle started at a furious pace and should have converted their supremacy into goals in the opening 15 minutes.

Laurent Robert saw a shot charged down by Birmingham captain Jeff Kenna after Lomana Lua Lua had set him free.


We defended well and they never got through us
Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson
And Lua Lua should have teed up Shearer for a seemingly certain goal, but wasted his chance after a mesmerising run.

Birmingham seemed to have survived the early battering - indeed they had chances of their own to break the deadlock.

Their best efforts came from the fiery right boot of Paul Devlin.

First he saw a stinging free-kick beaten away by the alert Shay Given and was then desperately unlucky to send a swirling snap shot dipping onto the roof of the net with Given groping at thin air.

But Newcastle snatched back the initiative in clinical fashion with a sweeping end-to-end move on 37 minutes.

Andy O'Brien broke up a Birmingham attack and his long ball forward was flicked on by Shearer for Robert to run clear down the left.

Birmingham's Robbie Savage (left) and Lomana Lua Lua of Newcastle race for the ball at St Andrews
Lua Lua (right) outpaces Birmingham's Robbie Savage
The Frenchman rolled a neat pass across the edge of the Birmingham box and Shearer let the ball run for Solano to drill a right-foot shot beyond Ian Bennett.

A minute later it should have been 2-0 as Solano's inviting cross found Lua Lua in space, but the mercurial striker headed into the ground from eight yards.

A passionate home crowd did their best to lift Birmingham after half-time and Devlin continued to look their most valuable asset.

The lively midfielder saw another long-range strike - this time with his left foot - fly just wide after deflecting off the head of Nicos Dabizas.

Stern John was much quieter in comparison, but his clever control and turn into space on 56 minutes so nearly produced a goal, only for his shot to deflect over.

Robbie Savage of Birmingham tries to hold back Andy Griffin
Andy Griffin holds off Robbie Savage
The home side battled hard for a way back and substitute Geoff Horsfield caused some late problems.

Birmingham also had strong penalty claims waved away when Clinton Morrisson was tugged back in the box by Andy Griffin.

But when Horsfield failed to make Birmingham's final chance count in stoppage time, Newcastle were swift to kill the game off with another sweeping move up to the grateful Ameobi.

His bundled effort secured Newcastle a second straight Premiership win and moved Sir Bobby Robson's slow starters into the top half of the table.


Birmingham: Vaesen, Kenna, Purse (Powell 79), Cunningham, Carter (Kirovski 68), Devlin, Savage, Cisse, Damien Johnson, Morrison, John (Horsfield 79).
Subs not used: Bennett, Lazaridis.

Booked: Savage, Purse, Cisse.

Newcastle: Given, Griffin, Dabizas, O'Brien, Hughes, Solano (Jenas 79), Dyer, Speed, Robert (Viana 88), Shearer, LuaLua (Ameobi 79).
Subs not used: Harper, Bramble.

Attendance: 29,072

Referee: S Bennett (Kent).

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BBC Five Live's Ian Brown
"A much-needed success for Newcastle"
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