Newcastle v Manchester City FA Cup 5th Round 2001/02


FA Cup 5th Round

17th February 2002

Attendance 51,020

Scorer Solano(59)

City Weaver, Ritchie, Howey, Dunne, Wright-Phillips, Tiatto, Berkovic, Jensen, Horlock, Huckerby Wanchope – subs Dickov(unused), Edghill(45), Negouai(84), Nash(unused), Wiekens(unused)

Newcastle Given, Hughes, O’Brien, Distin, Elliott, Solano, McClen, Speed, Robert, Bellamy, Shearer – subs Lualua(84), Acuna(66), Ameobi(unused), Dabizas(unused), Harper(unused)

  newcastle fa cup 2001 to 02 keegan banner newcastle fa cup 2001 to 02 keegan


St James’ Park rolled out the red carpet for Kevin Keegan last night, then promptly pulled it from under his feet. Afforded a hero’s reception on his return to Tyneside, Keegan will have set off home wondering just how Manchester City had taken away nothing but hard-luck stories. Nolberto Solano’s 59th-minute goal ensured that Bobby Robson’s 69th birthday today will be a happy one, but the abiding memory of this pulsating tie will be the stoic performance of Keegan’s players after the cruel interjection of having Richard Dunne sent off after only 29 minutes.
newcastle fa cup 2001 to 02 action8
For one of football’s most complex individuals, defeat will have come with dignity, although that will do little to dim Keegan’s sense of anguish from a bitter-sweet evening. Since his abrupt departure in January 1997 he had been back only twice before – for a cameo appearance in Peter Beardsley’s testimonial and on a scouting mission during his turbulent spell in charge of the England team. Not since those iconic days as a player, however, will he have experienced such an outpouring of adulation as that which greeted this most emotional of homecomings. His memories of those five years on Tyneside may have been tainted by the manner of their ending. He may, indeed, have preferred not to be drawn against his former employers. Yet a close look revealed that familiar glint in his eye as he emerged through the rabid scrum of photographers to the sort of din the Geordies claim as their copyright. It began at 5.32pm.
newcastle fa cup 2001 to 02 action7
That was when Keegan hopped off the team coach and skipped up those same steps leading to the Milburn stand where, six years ago, he met the supporters in an attempt to justify the £7m transfer of Andy Cole to Manchester United. For the first glimpse of his return, a welcoming party of around 500 fans had congregated, as though queuing for the first day of the sales. Some of the more daring had clambered up the metal stanchions for a better vantage point. Black and white stretched as far as the eye could see. If it was slowly dawning on City’s players that they were stepping into something special, a world where fantasy and reality collide, the explosion of noise that greeted Keegan’s arrival on the touchline will have left them in no doubt. City’s fans are not exactly shy when it comes to kicking up a racket, but this was something else, an I-was-there moment. Keegan being Keegan, City were never likely to adopt a policy of containment and the First Division leaders, tentatively eyeing their first quarter-final in nine years, played without any sign of trepidation until Dunne’s sending-off changed the entire structure of the game.
newcastle fa cup 2001 to 02 action6
City were long and vehement in their protests but Alan Wiley’s notebook will not accept controversy written in the small print. Dunne is known at Maine Road as Honey Monster because of his portly frame and when Alan Shearer flicked on a long punt from Shay Given, the City defender was left trailing by Craig Bellamy before hauling him to the ground just outside the penalty area. Wiley deliberated long and hard, consulting his assistant to heighten the drama, but as professional fouls go it was as clear-cut as they come.
newcastle fa cup 2001 to 02 action5
The pity was that it effectively denuded the game of its classic potential. Keegan was forced to improvise but, typically, kept Paulo Wanchope and Darren Huckerby in attack, moving Shaun Wright-Phillips and Niclas Jensen from the wings into the full-back slots. This meant City were one short in midfield and suddenly it seemed as though the ball be longed to Newcastle. Bellamy had a goal ruled out for offside but Keegan’s sense of adventure was almost rewarded in first-half stoppage time when Eyal Berkovic put Huckerby through for the most inviting chance of the first 45 minutes. Handed the chance to score against his former club, the whippet-like striker slipped the ball past Given only to watch it roll beyond the far post, almost in slow motion. That was to be Huckerby’s last act, Richard Edghill replacing him at half-time in a more defensive line-up. Yet those who believed this would be the prelude for a Newcastle siege were mistaken. City were swiftly back in attacking mode and, once again, the gulf in status was impossible to detect. Had Wright-Phillips accepted a fine chance seven minutes after the break, Given saving with his legs, this could have been a famous night for the First Division side. It was difficult, therefore, not to feel a certain amount of sympathy for Keegan and his players when Gary Speed’s diagonal pass picked out Solano drifting in from the right.
newcastle fa cup 2001 to 02 action4
Nicky Weaver charged off his line to cut him off but was immediately made to regret his impetuosity. Solano clipped the ball past the isolated goalkeeper to score into an empty net. City were not finished, but this was not to be Keegan’s night.
newcastle fa cup 2001 to 02 action newcastle fa cup 2001 to 02 action3 newcastle fa cup 2001 to 02 action2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *