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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 January 2006, 16:55 GMT
Newcastle 0-1 Blackburn
Newcastle Solano and Blackburn's Tugay
Newcastle's Solano and Blackburn's Tugay
Morten Gamst Pedersen's controversial goal gave Blackburn all three points against Newcastle to pile the pressure on Magpies boss Graeme Souness.

The striker appeared to handle the ball in after Shefki Kuqi diverted Lucas Neill's cross towards goal.

Rovers should have taken an early lead, but Paul Dickov's close-range shot was superbly saved by Shay Given.

Newcastle created the most chances, but Alan Shearer, Albert Luque and Lee Bowyer failed to find the target.

Those misses did little to divert the main talking point among the Magpies faithful - the future of under-fire Souness, whose side are without a win in their last five Premiership games.

His opposite number and successor Mark Hughes also knows a lot about pressure, having suffered a miserable last season and a poor start to this campaign.

But lately his side have produced a good run of results and, against a injury-ravaged and confidence-sapped Newcastle, looked full of vigour.

Robbie Savage, for all the criticism he receives, is a midfielder that many teams up and down the country would lust after.

The Wales star was at the centre of starting many of Blackburn's forward forays.

One almost led to an early goal for the visitors, but striker Dickov was foiled by Given's sublime reactions from just two yards out.

Rovers looked the most assured out of the two teams but the majority of the clear-cut chances on goal fell to the home side.

Anxiety has never plagued Shearer in the past, but he had a golden chance to score a record 201 goals for the club shortly before half-time, when he was played in by the productive Lee Bowyer.

The 35-year-old, however, was made to rush his shot by keeper Brad Friedel, sending it wide of his left-hand post.

The captain may have been less anxious had 9m signing Albert Luque broken his duck by blasting past Friedel after eight minutes rather than shoot straight at the American.

Luque slowly crept into a shell after that chance as did much of the midfield, bar Bowyer.

Had the midfield been more alert in the second half then they have prevented Neill from delivering the ball that led to Blackburn's contentious winner.

The Australian's ball was well won by Kuqi, who directed the ball towards goal, where Pedersen, Souness' last signing for Blackburn, appeared to handle the ball into the goal.

Newcastle should have taken a point from the game, with second-half chances wasted by Bowyer, from six yards out, and Shearer again, who headed into Friedel's arms.

For now Souness will have to put his plans to take Newcastle into Europe on hold, but for Hughes, he may start looking at the brochures.

  • Newcastle manager Graeme Souness:
    "I thought we were better than them. We should not have lost this match and we shouldn't have lost against Fulham last week either.

    "I am getting the best out of my players and that is the all that I can do as a manager.

    "Injuries have hit us but we are hoping that we will have both Emre and Scott Parker fit for next weekend."

  • Blackburn boss Mark Hughes:
    "I didn't see the ball hit Morten Gamst Pedersen's hand on the way in.

    "Although there may have been some fortune surrounding our goal, our general play merited a winning goal however it came.

    "Our defending has been solid recently and we have now gone eight games unbeaten.

    "The only negative point is that it looks like Paul Dickov has dislocated his shoulder."

    Newcastle: Given, Ramage, Bramble, Boumsong, Babayaro, Solano, Bowyer, Clark, Luque (O'Brien 62), Shearer, Chopra.
    Subs Not Used: Harper, Elliott, N'Zogbia, Brittain.

    Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Nelsen, Khizanishvili, Gray, Reid, Tugay (Emerton 85), Savage, Pedersen (Mokoena 90), Kuqi, Dickov (Peter 53).
    Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Johnson.

    Booked: Nelsen, Neill.

    Goals: Pedersen 75.

    Att: 51,323

    Ref: H Webb (S Yorkshire).

    Interview: Newcastle boss Graeme Souness

    Interview: Blackburn boss Mark Hughes

    Saturday's Premiership photos
    21 Jan 06 |  Photo Galleries


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