Aston Villa 0 Newcastle 1

Last updated : 08 December 2002 By Footymad Previewer

Newcastle were somewhat fortunate to achieve victory as they were often pegged back by an eager Villa side.

Newcastle's threat became more potent in the closing stages when Laurent Robert made a major impact and the lurking danger of Shearer finally earned them a rare away win.

Sadly for Villa they were unable to recapture their goalscoring form of midweek.

This was emphasised as early as the first minute when Dublin found himself with a golden opportunity, but the veteran striker shot straight at Shay Given.

If Dublin was at fault, Newcastle's Craig Bellamy was equally guilty of some bad finishing.

He carelessly slammed his shot over the bar in the fourth minute and could only hold his head in shame in the 28th minute.

Nolberto Solano's cross from the right was dropped by Peter Enckelman when challenged by Bellamy but the Newcastle striker amazingly shot wide of the open goal from just a couple of yards out.

Villa, with twelve goals in their previous three home games, hammered Newcastle's defence with a series of raids with Darius Vassell's pace posing numerous problems.

He had one close range effort just off target and his live-wire, all action performance, was always a threat.

Given had to be on his best form against the explosive shooting of Villa's young German, Thomas Hitzlsperger. With two goals in his previous two games he was keen to add to his tally and in a biting wind kept Villa's hopes high of gaining the upper hand.

Dublin finished the first half as he started. A flying header from an Oyvind Leonhardsen right wing cross went close to opening Villa's account.

In the second period Villa continued to struggle to break down Newcastle's stubborn resistance.

Nine minutes from time a right wing cross from Andy Griffin was headed home at the far post by Shearer who shrugged off the attention of Ulises De La Cruz.