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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 5 March, 2003, 21:40 GMT
Boro stun Newcastle
Middlesbrough's Juninho tackles Newcastle's Jermaine Jenas
Boro 1-0 Newcastle

Newcastle lost ground in the Premiership race as Sir Bobby Robson's side stumbled to defeat at Middlesbrough.

Cameroonian international Geremi grabbed the goal just past the hour as Boro maintained their impressive home form, which this season has also included victories over Manchester United and Liverpool.

Just as important as Geremi's goal was the defensive blanket provided by Gareth Southgate and Ugo Ehiogu, who smothered the threat posed by Craig Bellamy and Alan Shearer.

The defeat - Newcastle's first loss in nearly two months - but their eighth in the league this season, means Robson's team trail leaders Arsenal by eight points.

Boro broke the deadlock when Franck Queudrue was allowed time and space on the left to pick out Geremi, who sent a header past Shay Given.

It could have been 2-0 three minutes later when George Boateng's reverse pass caught out the United defence to put Stuart Parnaby in on goal, but the youngster blazed his first-time effort high over.

Early on both sides were guilty of giving the ball away, but Boro initially did it inside their own half to put themselves under more pressure.

It was Middlesbourgh who mounted the first dangerous attack on 26 minutes when Juninho played Parnaby into space down the right.

But his first-time cross was taken off Michael Ricketts' toe in front of goal by Aaron Hughes.

Jonathan Woodgate then showed his defensive prowess when Juninho slid a neat pass into the path of Massimo Maccarone, the England defender getting his foot in at the last moment.

Newcastle were almost caught on the counter 13 minutes from the break when Jonathan Greening broke from deep inside his own half to feed Ricketts on the right, but the attack petered out.

As the game switched rapidly from end to end, Kieron Dyer wasted another glorious chance when, after Jermaine Jenas had picked out his run, he steered a left-foot shot wide of Mark Schwarzer.

As Newcastle sought to rescue a point, Robson threw on Hugo Viana and Shola Amoebi, but neither was able to change the game's destiny.


Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Parnaby, Ehiogu, Southgate, Queudrue, Greening, Boateng, Geremi, Juninho Paulista, Maccarone (Murphy 80), Ricketts.
Subs Not Used: Nemeth, Job, Doriva, Crossley.

Newcastle: Given, Hughes, Woodgate, Bramble, Bernard, Jenas, Dyer, Speed (Viana 76), Robert (Ameobi 77), Shearer, Bellamy.
Subs Not Used: Solano, O'Brien, Harper.

Booked: Bernard, Bramble, Viana.

Attendance: 34,814.

Referee: A D'Urso (Essex).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Dave Woods
"Boro took their chance to banish any lingering relegation worries"


Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson
"We have to learn to smile and take defeat on the chin"



MIDDLESBROUGH

NEWCASTLE UNITED

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