Newcastle United 2 Norwich City 2

Last updated : 25 August 2004 By Footymad Previewer

The misery goes on for Newcastle United as they squandered a two-goal lead to hand Norwich City a point and leave themselves searching for their first win of the season.

For the second successive home match the final whistle brought jeers from the St James' Park crowd as they saw Newcastle left with just two points from their opening three fixtures.

Last season Sir Bobby Robson's side did not win in their first seven games and they are now well on course towards equalling that unwanted record.

United appeared to be in cruise control after Craig Bellamy scored five minutes before the break and Aaron Hughes added a second five minutes into the second period.

A rare Shay Given blunder gift-wrapped a goal for on-loan David Bentley within seconds of the Hughes goal and another of the ex-North London brigade, former Spurs utility player Gary Docherty, levelled it up late in the second half to give the Canaries a deserved point.

There was an early let off for Norwich when James Milner broke down the right, got to the byline and crossed for Laurent Robert to fiercely head home, only for the referee's assistant to incorrectly rule the ball had gone out of play before Milner centred.

Newcastle finally managed their first shot on target after 16 minutes when Milner cut in from the right and forced Robert Green to go full length to hang on to his shot.

The home side then had a 17th minute let off when United old by Darren Huckerby fired wide. Huckerb,y who has scored against United for both Coventry and Manchester City, broke free when Olivier Bernard slipped and got into the area, only to pull his shot wide as Given charged out.

Bellamy then tried his luck from 25 yards but saw the ball take a wicked deflection and rebound wide for a corner, with Green left flat-footed.

A lunging Simon Charlton did just enough to put off Alan Shearer after 34 minutes, though the skipper still got his head to Nicky Butt's left-wing cross but saw his header flash wide.

After a good spell of pressure from Nigel Worthington's hard working side, Newcastle finally broke the deadlock five minutes before the break thanks to Carrow Road old boy Bellamy.

It was an excellent move to open the United account as Stephen Carr was cleverly picked out by Milner, and his deep cross from the right was headed back across goal by Shearer for Bellamy to somehow squeeze in his second goal of the season.

Five minutes after the interval unsung hero Hughes doubled the United tally. The Northern Ireland skipper lost his marker and was given a free header from Robert's corner which planted in the back of the net.

Seemingly in total control, Newcastle were caught out just two minutes later following an uncharacteristic blunder from Given.

Bentley did well to work himself a shooting chance, but even he must have been surprised when Given allowed his 25-yarder to squirm under his body and into the net.

United hit back and Shearer released Bellamy after 58 minutes, but this time the striker shot across Green and wide of the far upright.

Another United corner almost produced a third goal just after the hour mark. This time Milner swung in then ball from the right and the climbing Shearer saw his header cleared off the line by Marc Edworthy.

The goal lifted last season's Division One champions and Damien Francis and Docherty both caused problems with headers from corners.

A magnificent Bellamy run ended with a pass that was an inch away from the sliding Shearer, before the United skipper had a header saved by Green and Hughes blazed wide in search of a second goal.

Newcastle's goal had a charmed life after 73 minutes when substitute Mattias Jonson should have headed in, but allowed Given to tip the ball over the bar.

From the flag kick Norwich did get back onto level terms. Given could only parry a shot from another substitute Leon McKenzie and Docherty stole in to tuck away the rebound.

The nightmare was almost completed when Huckerby produced a shot out of nothing that flew just over the bar, before McKenzie was let in on the break but let himself down with a poor first touch.