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Newcastle hold on for draw against Chelsea

Newcastle hold on for draw against Chelsea

A stubborn Newcastle escaped Stamford Bridge with a point after a Joe Cole strike was disallowed and an appeal for a Shay Given own-goal was denied to hold free-scoring Premier League leader Chelsea to an unlikely 0-0 draw on Saturday.
Chelsea appeared sluggish going forward early on and the Newcastle defence, tight and purposeful despite the absence through injury of Steven Taylor, easily kept them at bay.
The London side remained top of the league, however, after closest rival Liverpool was also held to a scoreless draw at home by Chelsea's West London neighbor, Fulham.
Newcastle goalkeeper Given played a key role in securing the draw for the visitors, saving first-half headed efforts from England midfielder Frank Lampard and also denying Premier League top-scorer Nicolas Anelka and his France teammate, Florent Malouda.
Chelsea enjoyed the vast majority of possession and was also guilty of missing chances, particularly from set pieces with Serbia defender Branislav Ivanovic heading over the bar and wide in the first half. Portugal fullback Jose Bosingwa, returning to action less than 48 hours after arriving home from a friendly in Brazil, missed the goal while compatriot Deco looked out of sorts.
Newcastle's only good chance in the first half, in which the visitors sought to defend in numbers against Chelsea's passing game, came in the 13th minute when Michael Owen got behind the home defense on the right but his shot from an acute angle was easily collected by goalkeeper Petr Cech.
The Newcastle bench, intent on damage limitation against a Chelsea side which had put five goals past the Magpies' northeastern neighbors Middlesbrough and Sunderland this season, signalled to their players to stay behind the ball with Chelsea in possession.
But wingers Damien Duff and Jonas Gutierrez looked lively on the counterattack, keeping Chelsea fullbacks Ashley Cole and Bosingwa busy on the flanks.
A more focused Chelsea, doubtless galvanised by Luiz Felipe Scolari's team talk, besieged the Newcastle goal throughout the second half, starting with Anelka's deflected shot that was saved by Given.
Stamford Bridge erupted in the 54th minute when Given parried Malouda's shot and Cole bundled it home only for the linesman to signal offside.
Shortly afterward, Lampard shot just wide after a swift Chelsea passing move. Given was again called into action to halt a long-range shot from the midfielder a minute later.
Chelsea piled forward and the crowd was on the verge of another celebration in the 60th minute when they thought Given had pulled Lampard's free kick over the line, but the referee ruled no goal.
With 15 minutes remaining, even Owen, overlooked by England coach Fabio Capello in midweek, was joining his teammates in the Newcastle area helping thwart the London side's increasingly desperate attacking moves.
A last gasp chance fell to substitute Michael Ballack in the 88th minute, but the Germany captain put the ball wide from close range.
The result was a triumph for stopgap coach Joe Kinnear, brought in on a temporary basis after the departure of Kevin Keegan in September. Kinnear, whose monthly contract was renewed, has halted Newcastle's slide and the unexpected point will have given the club renewed hopes of avoiding relegation.


Updated : 2021-10-16 08:28 GMT+08:00