Sunday, February 25, 2024

EPL: Newcastle blank Portsmouth 3-0

Newcastle made Portsmouth pay for missed chances as they convincingly ended a five-game winless run.
Jermain Defoe could easily have scored a hat-trick, but he and Peter Crouch wasted several good chances for Pompey.
Obafemi Martins hit the post in the first half, before Michael Owen put Newcastle in front after the break with a superb chipped finish.
Martins slotted in the second before Danny Guthrie turned Shola Ameobi’s cross through the hands of David James.
Newcastle’s impressive performance belied their lowly Premier League position, but it could have so easily gone in Portsmouth’s favour if they had not been so wasteful in front of goal.
The home side enjoyed the better start as they stroked the ball around confidently, but the visitors were always a threat on the counter-attack.
Owen had the first real chance, but his first-time effort from Jonas Gutierrez’s cross drifted harmlessly wide, while at the other end Defoe’s attempted lob failed to trouble Shay Given.
Defoe was at it again as he tested the Newcastle goalkeeper with a fierce left-footed drive, while Crouch was wasteful from 25 yards.
Habib Beye missed arguably the best chance of the half for Newcastle as he headed Guthrie’s well-delivered free-kick wide when unmarked.
Despite the chances, neither side could find the breakthrough and not even a moment of individual brilliance from Martins could break the deadlock.
Nicky Butt fed the ball to the Nigerian striker who then unleashed a ferocious curling effort that hit the post with David James well beaten.
Not to be outdone, Defoe tried the spectacular as his attempted first-time volley from Nadir Belhadj’s cross flew just over, before Given produced a fine reaction save to divert Niko Kranjcar’s deflected shot wide.
Portsmouth wanted a penalty from the resulting corner as they claimed Butt had handled in the area and moments later Defoe looked despairingly at the referee as he went down under a challenge from Sebastien Bassong, but again nothing was given.
Newcastle responded as Jose Enrique tested James at his near post with a fierce left-foot drive, while Defoe squandered yet another chance, dragging his shot wide. Neither side took their foot off the gas after the interval and it was Newcastle who finally broke the deadlock.
A terrible cross-field ball from Arnold Mvuemba was intercepted by the impressive Gutierrez who fed Owen.
The England striker appeared to have wasted the chance with a poor first touch but, with Sylvain Distin and James diving at his feet, he lifted the ball brilliantly into the back of the net.
Mvuemba was withdrawn shortly afterwards and Portsmouth almost scored an immediate reprieve as Noe Pamarot headed over.
Defoe must have thought it was not to be his day as he again missed the target, slicing wide from 15 yards after skipping brilliantly past Enrique.
Newcastle continued to frustrate Portsmouth who were now running out of ideas and it was the visitors who went on to score again.
Enrique found Martins inside the penalty area, and with James committing himself too early, the forward easily stroked home.
There was still time for Guthrie to put the gloss on an impressive Magpies performance and time enough for another James error.
Ameobi’s fine work and pull-back down the right allowed Guthrie a shot on goal and James’ weak attempt to repel the effort gifted the visitors a third.

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