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Saturday, 18 January, 2003, 16:54 GMT
Shearer sinks City
Newcastle striker Alan Shearer
Shearer scored his 17th goal of the season
Newcastle 2-0 Man City

Alan Shearer equalled the record for the fastest ever Premiership goal with a strike on 10 seconds set Newcastle on their way to victory over Manchester City.

Shearer pounced on a poor clearance by City goalkeeper Carlo Nash straight from kick-off to slot home the opener and get the Magpies off to a flying start.

Craig Bellamy made sure of the win with Newcastle's second after the break as Sir Bobby Robson's men climbed to third in the Premiership.

He's the best, it's a simple as that

Kevin Keegan on Alan Shearer

It was Kevin Keegan's first top-flight return to St James' Park in six years following his decision to walk out on the Tyneside club in January 1997.

And despite the warm welcome afforded to the City manager, Newcastle showed no mercy as they exposed his side's defensive frailities.

KEY MOMENTS
10 secs: Shearer capitalises on Nash's error
24 mins: Bernabia hits the post
64 mins: Bellamy adds a second

Sir Bobby has turned St James' Park into a veritable fortress, with his team winning 10 of their last 11 home league fixtures.

Those results have pushed the Magpies up to the higher reaches of the Premiership, carrying on their impressive momentum from last season.

And the hosts got off to the best possible start when Shearer blocked Nash's attempted clearance to side-foot into an empty to send the home fans into raptures.

I thought it was a wonderful game from a spectator's point of view and as a football match

Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson

Nash was only in goal because of an injury to first-choice keeper Peter Schmeichel and how he must have wished for the referee to blow for a false start.

Having taken the lead, Newcastle looked to build on their early advantage and proceeded to dominate the opening exchanges.

Bellamy's pace proved a constant threat and the Welshman forced a good save from Nash as City struggled to regain their composure.

Despite Newcastle's superiority, City did have chances to restore parity.

Newcastle winger Laurent Robert takes on Man City defender Richard Dunn
Robert responded to his critics in excellent fashion

Ali Benarbia hit the post midway through the first half, while both Shaun Goater and Marc-Vivien Foe should have done better.

Foe was particularly profligate, and his miskick in front of an empty goal after good work from Nicolas Anelka proved a turning point.

His glaring miss was a let-off for the Magpies, who then went on to double their lead courtesy of Bellamy.

Laurent Robert, who responded to recent criticism with a superb display of wing play, provided the telling cross and the onrushing Bellamy applied the finish on 64 minutes.

That goal ended the game as a contest and left Robson to wonder why his team are unable to reproduce their outstanding home form on their travels to mount a serious title challenge.


Newcastle: Given, Hughes, Caldwell, Dabizas, Bernard, Solano (Kerr 90), Jenas, Dyer, Robert, Bellamy, Shearer.
Subs Not Used: Elliott, Harper, LuaLua, Ameobi.

Man City: Nash, Dunne, Howey, Distin, Jihai (Macken 69), Benarbia, Foe, Horlock, Jensen, Goater (Belmadi 60), Anelka.
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Wiekens, Ritchie.

Booked: Jihai.

Attendance: 52,152

Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire).

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BBC Five Live's John Murray
"A bad week for Keegan and City"
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