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 Saturday, 14 December, 2002, 16:55 GMT
All square at St Mary's
Southampton's Rory Delap tackles Newcastle's Laurent Robert
Southampton's Delap (right) tackles Laurent Robert
Southampton 1-1 Newcastle

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson saw master Alan Shearer and pretender James Beattie draw blanks in a pulsating game.

Craig Bellamy fired Newcastle ahead on 50 minutes only for Chris Marsden to preserve Saints' unbeaten home record and deny Newcastle their first win at Southampton since 1972.

Former England international Shearer squandered two good chances while Beattie did his international chances no harm with a sound performance, even if no chances fell his way.

Key incidents
50mins: Craig Bellamy fires Newcastle ahead.
52mins: Chris Marsden levels for Saints.

An electrifying start saw both sides go close to taking an early lead.

Marsden - back in the side after serving a suspension - whistled a cross-shot across the face of goal, while Rory Delap cut inside to fire an effort just wide.

Brett Ormerod was then sent clear and beat Shay Given, only to see his shot roll wide of the target.

At the other end, Newcastle went even closer when Laurent Robert's free-kick fell at Shearer's feet six yards out.

The former England captain nudged the ball towards goal where Paul Jones reacted brilliantly to parry the ball into the path of Craig Bellamy, who headed wide with the unguarded goal gaping.

Both sides continued to create chances against uncertain defences, but continued to waste them.

I'm going to get Chris Marsden a weave or a wig, if he had hair we would have won 3-1

Saints boss Gordon Strachan

Beattie's 30-yard free-kick was blocked by the defensive wall into the path of Ormerod who was as wasteful as Bellamy had been.

Kieron Dyer sprinted clear and rounded Jones, but with the goal at his mercy he hesitated enough to allow Paul Telfer to race back and block and when the ball fell to Shearer he was denied by Claus Lundekvam's last-ditch tackle.

Given then back-pedalled furiously to palm over Ormerod's shot which looped up off Stephen Caldwell.

Jones produced carbon-copy acrobatics as Gary Speed spotted him off his line and attempted to lob his fellow Welsh international.

Jones showed his determination to hold his first-team place from Antti Niemi and produced another brilliant save to deny Dyer.

It was amazing how the first-half finished scoreless and within five minutes of the restart Newcastle took the lead.

Robert found Dyer who touched the ball off for Bellamy to curl a precise shot around Jones from just outside the penalty area.

It's brilliant being a forward in our team, but we do leave oursevles open at the back

Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy

Southampton were behind for just two minutes, though.

Newcastle should have doubled their lead when Jermaine Jenas was clear but was unable to dig the ball out from under his feet.

That miss proved costly as Fabrice Fernandes crossed from the right and Marsden slid in to convert at the far post.

Southampton's Rory Delap and Alan Shearer clash
Alan Shearer feels the weight of Rory Delap's challenge

Marsden had a golden chance to put Saints ahead but headed Fernandes' cross wide from four yards.

Like two boxers who had slugged themselves out, the sides appeared to settle for a point each, until Andy O'Brien headed Delap's cross against his own bar.

Southampton: Jones, Bridge, Michael Svensson, Lundekvam, Telfer, Fernandes, Delap, Anders Svensson, Marsden, Beattie, Ormerod (Tessem 64).
Subs not used: Blayney, Davies, Williams, Kanchelskis.

Newcastle: Given, Griffin, Caldwell, O'Brien, Hughes, Dyer, Speed, Jenas, Robert, Shearer, Bellamy.
Subs not used: Harper, Dabizas, Acuna, LuaLua, Ameobi.

Attendance: 32,061

Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).

 BBC Five Live's Simon Mann
"Both sides could have scored four or five"
 Newcastle boss Bobby Robson
"Jenas has had his head in his hands after his miss"
 Southampton manager Gordon Strachan
"That was a cracking game of football"
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See also:

14 Dec 02 | Eng Prem
14 Dec 02 | Leicester City
14 Dec 02 | Arsenal
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

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