BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 16:01 GMT, Saturday, 5 April 2008 17:01 UK

Newcastle 3-0 Reading

By Sarah Holt

Michael Owen celebrates his goal with team-mates Habib Beye and Mark Viduka
Owen (centre) celebrates his fourth goal in four games for Newcastle

Newcastle claimed their third straight win as their three-pronged strikeforce were all on target against Reading.

Obafemi Martins put Newcastle ahead when he controlled Nicky Butt's pass and buried it beyond Marcus Hahnemann.

John Oster had a chance to level as Reading looked to respond but saw his header tipped away before Michael Owen hooked Habib Beye's cross into the net.

Beye set up Mark Viduka, who completed a confident win for Kevin Keegan's men with a sure-footed second-half strike.

With back-to-back wins under their belt, Newcastle could afford to relax a little and Geremi and Martins worked well to generate some effective early pressure.

Reading had been happy to sit tight and wait for the break, with Oster and Kevin Doyle tearing away with some excellent support from Stephen Hunt.

But Oster's attempted lob drifted wide of the mark while Doyle, looking for his first goal in 16 games, and Hunt were denied by a hustling Beye.

The breakthrough fell to Martins after 18 minutes. The Nigerian striker received Butt's looping pass from midfield and, benefiting from a slip by Liam Rosenoir, slid the ball beyond Hahnemann.


Once Martins' exuberant back-flip celebrations had subsided, Reading went close when Oster squared to Kalifa Cisse, but he dragged his shot wide.

The match was turning into a gripping affair, something Newcastle fans might have thought impossible just a few weeks ago.

Owen got on the end of Jose Enrique's pass and Hahnemann did well to tip the England striker's header over the bar.

Oster was back amongst it at the other end but Steve Harper followed Hahnemann's lead and finger-tipped his effort clear.

Then, it was back to Owen who arrived from deep to meet Joey Barton's pass only to shoot wide. But Owen, playing behind Viduka and Martins, got his reward on the stroke of half-time.

Collecting Beye's pass on the right of the box, he curled the ball past Hahnemann and into the back of the net for his fourth goal in as many games.

Obafemi Martins celebrates his opening goal for Newcastle
Martins shows how happy he is after scoring his eighth Premier League goal of the season

Newcastle pressed on after the break. Rosenior stepped in to block another Owen attempt while Jose Enrique's dangerous cross was parried by Hahnemann.

A lengthy period of possession by Keegan's men only came to an end when Owen toppled over in the box and Hahnemann got his hands on the ball.

Newcastle were looking irresistible and it all seemed incredibly easy as Beye picked out Viduka, who rifled the ball into the left-hand corner.

Reading had worked hard, a story not reflected by the scoreline, and continued to do so into the final stages of the match.

Dave Kitson had a snatched chance but saw his header sail wide while Hunt conjured Reading's best attempt when his right-footed drive was well saved by Harper.

But Newcastle were soon in full flow again as they poured forward in search of a fourth goal.

Martins fired wide, when he might have been better served passing to Barton, who had found himself in space.

As it was Barton was denied twice late on; first when Hahnemann saved his drive and then seeing his own volley drift wide.

  • Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan:
    "Michael Owen is a very clever player. Obafemi Martins is different to everyone else and has great composure while Mark Viduka scored after some great play.

    "They've deserved it because they give the middle three a reason to work hard and make the back four defend better. We have a nice little combination now.

    "You'd like to think that we're at the start of something that can be very good again."

  • Reading boss Steve Coppell:
    "Each game now takes on critical proportions. But with five games we still control our destiny.

    "Until you get 40 points every manager feels uncomfortable and now we need to make sure we are here last season.

    "I thought we placed some promising football but we did not really have that cutting edge."

    Newcastle: Harper, Beye, Faye (Diatta 82), Edgar, Jose Enrique, Geremi, Butt (Smith 79), Barton, Martins, Owen, Viduka (Duff 74).
    Subs Not Used: Forster, Carroll.

    Goals: Martins 18, Owen 43, Viduka 58.

    Reading: Hahnemann, Rosenior, Ingimarsson, Bikey, Shorey, Oster (Convey 60), Harper, Cisse (Fae 72), Hunt, Kitson (Long 72), Doyle.
    Subs Not Used: Federici, Duberry.

    Booked: Bikey.

    Att: 52,179

    Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Obafemi Martins 8.77 (on 90 minutes).

    Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

    see also
    How to watch Match of the Day
    08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day
    Saturday's football photos
    05 Apr 08 |  Football

    related bbc links:

    related internet links:
    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

    BBC iD

    Sign in

    BBC navigation

    Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

    This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.