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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 September 2005, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Blackburn 0-3 Newcastle
Newcastle won their first game of the season with goals from Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and Charles N'Zogbia.

Shearer struck after 62 minutes to end a league goal-drought that stretched back 18 games with a low, rifling free-kick from the edge of the area.

Four minutes later Owen climbed high to nod in N'Zogbia's floated cross.

Blackburn could not capitalise on Steven Taylor's dismissal for two bookings and instead N'Zogbia beat the offside trap for Newcastle's third.

Rovers dominated the game but were too tentative, even after Taylor's sending off for tugging back Craig Bellamy - one of seven yellow cards in the game.

The script had been written for Bellamy to increase the pressure on beleagured Magpies boss Graeme Souness, but instead it is Owen who will grab the headlines with his first goal in Newcastle colours.

How Blackburn had allowed Newcastle to take such a grip on the game will remain a mystery to the Ewood Park faithful.

Souness was forced to give Lee Clark his first start in his second spell at the club with Nolberto Solano, Emre, Kieron Dyer and Scott Parker all unavailable.

The second-string midfield struggled to influence the game or feed Owen and Shearer in attack. In total Newcastle managed just four shots on goal.

The majority of the action was at the other end of the pitch, but despite Blackburn's domination of the possession, Shay Given was woefully under-employed.

With Rovers now having gone 379 minutes without a goal it should have come as no surprise.

Bellamy was left isolated in attack against his former club and was only given a supporting striker once Owen had struck, although Shefqi Kuqi's introduction failed to fire the hosts, even after Taylor's dismissal.

Given was only truly tested by a first-half Robbie Savage free-kick when he stuck out a firm right-hand to parry the effort.

Morten-Gamst Pedersen, Steven Reid and Tugay all fired over instead of hitting the target.

And Celestine Babayaro was on hand to break down the home side's best move of the game when he volleyed clear Bellamy's knock down to Reid after a sweeping pass from David Bentley.

Late in the game a corner threaded its way through to Zurab Khizanishvili but the unmarked central defender was let down by his control.

The masterclass in finishing came at the other end and N'Zogbia followed the lead from Shearer and Owen to race through Blackburn's defensive line, gather Babayaro's pass and round Friedel to make it three.

Moments later he was in the thick of the action in defence, clearing a Matt Jansen header off the line.

And N'Zogbia's efforts at both ends of the pitch ensured Newcastle climbed above their hosts on goal difference.

  • Blackburn boss Mark Hughes
    "We're disappointed. After they scored the shape wasn't what it needed to be.

    "We should have had a foothold in the game long before that. We were the better side in the first half.

    "We created a reasonable amount of chances and just needed one to go in, but after the first goal we were poor and we showed naivety at the end."

  • Newcastle striker Michael Owen
    "The first win of the season is always important.

    "We've had a lot of injuries, but once you've got the first three points everything looks rosier in the garden and now we've got players coming back.

    "As soon as we've got our injured players back that's when they should judge us and the manager."

    Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Khizanishvili, Nelsen, Gresko (Jansen 76), Savage, Mokoena (Tugay 67), Reid, Pedersen, Bentley (Kuqi 67), Bellamy.
    Subs Not Used: Emerton, Enckelman.

    Booked: Neill.

    Newcastle: Given, Carr, Boumsong, Taylor, Babayaro, Faye, Bowyer, Clark, N'Zogbia, Shearer (Bramble 74), Owen.
    Subs Not Used: Elliott, Harper, O'Brien, Brittain.

    Sent Off: Taylor (72).

    Booked: Clark, Boumsong, Given, Taylor, Babayaro.

    Goals: Shearer 62, Owen 66, N'Zogbia 85.

    Att: 20,725

    Ref: M Riley (W Yorkshire).

    Interview: Newcastle striker Michael Owen

    Interview: Newcastle assistant manager Alan Murray


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