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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 August, 2004, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Aston Villa 4-2 Newcastle
Olof Mellberg heads Aston Villa in front against Newcastle
The pressure on Bobby Robson increased after his Newcastle side lost an open and entertaining game at Villa Park.

Villa started brightly and were in front early on when Olof Mellberg headed in Nolberto Solano's corner.

But the Magpies hit back strongly and Patrick Kluivert's neat finish and Andy O'Brien's header turned it around.

Both sides continuted to create chances and Carlton Cole chested Villa level before Gareth Barry's header and Juan Pablo Angel's deflected effort.

Sir Bobby, who had dismissed talk of him losing his job before the game, caused a stir when he named Shearer as a substitute and left out Kieron Dyer altogether.

His changes backfired initially, with Villa making all the early running and going ahead after just four minutes.

A JLloyd Samuel free-kick was sliced behind by Kluivert and Mellberg powered home a free header from the resulting Solano corner.

Darius Vassell was then put clear down the left and his cross was hacked away by O'Brien with the visiting defence looking all at sea.

But, almost out of nothing, Jermaine Jenas' perseverance down the left saw him beat Thomas Sorensen to the ball and he crossed along the six-yard box only for Mellberg to get there ahead of Bellamy.

Jenas then powerfully headed a free-kick just over the bar and Sorensen saved comfortably from a 30-yard Nicky Butt effort as the Magpies started to control proceedings.

However, Villa nearly made it 2-0 against the run of play when Shay Given produced a fine save to deny Vassell after the ball fell kindly for the England striker in the area.

But it was Newcastle who were next on the scoresheet as Kluivert held off Mark Delany and finished well from Butt's pass to score his first goal for the club.

Kluivert was suddenly causing all sorts of problems for the Villa defence and he forced a superb save from Sorensen after another classy turn and shot.

Moments later a cross from Bellamy found O'Brien - who was sent off on this ground last season - free to glance a header into the far corner.

It could have been 3-1 but Sorensen was equal to a Lee Bowyer effort after more good interplay involving Kluivert.

Both defences were in disarray and Solano hooked a shot against the bar and Barry fired wired from the rebound.

The same pattern of play resumed at the start of the second half and Cole shot straight at Given after a promising move.

Another goal was not long in coming and on-loan striker Cole chested in after Given had parried Barry's shot invitingly into his path.

The Magpies were furious when Sorensen was only booked when clearly handling the ball outside his area under pressure from Bellamy.

Ulises de la Cruz was left in acres of soon after and crossed to Cole, who rose above the Newcastle defence but could not keep his header down.

With Newcastle's defence continuing to look leaky, substitute Barry smacked home a header from Solano's cross to put Villa in front.

Robson then threw on Shearer and Shola Ameobi for Kluivert, who was down injured when Barry scored, and the ineffectual Bowyer.

There was no let up in the action and it needed a smart save from Sorensen to tip over Bellamy's header after Villa had been caught napping at a free-kick.

But the game was over as a contest when Angel's shot deflected off O'Brien and looped over the helpless Given.


Aston Villa: Sorensen, De la Cruz, Mellberg, Delaney, Samuel, Solano, McCann, Hitzlsperger (Hendrie 60), Barry, Cole (Angel 70), Vassell (Moore 86).
Subs Not Used: Postma, Whittingham.

Booked: Samuel, Sorensen, Hendrie.

Goals: Mellberg 4, Cole 53, Barry 71, Angel 82.

Newcastle: Given, Carr, Hughes, O'Brien, Bernard (Elliott 73), Jenas, Butt, Bowyer (Ameobi 77), Robert, Kluivert (Shearer 77), Bellamy.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Milner.

Booked: Given.

Goals: Kluivert 28, O'Brien 36.

Att: 36,305

Ref: M Riley (W Yorkshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Villa boss David O'Leary


Interview: Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson




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