Sochaux 0 Newcastle United 4

Last updated : 25 November 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Another vintage European night saw Newcastle United book their place in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup and equal their record of five successive European wins.

And for those who believe in omens, the last time they did this was back in 1969 when United went on to win the Inter Cities' Fairs Cup.

Pre-match hopes of an away draw at the Eastern French border city of Sochaux were way off the mark as Newcastle romped to a stunning 4-0 win - and the French outfit got off lightly against a makeshift Magpies side.

Lee Bowyer gave Newcastle a half-time lead that was doubled within 40 seconds of the restart by Shola Ameobi.

Ameobi took his European tally into double figures as did Craig Bellamy when making it 3-0 before supersub Laurent Robert put the icing on the cake with a stunning late free-kick.

But a lot of the credit must go to Shay Given who was magnificent in the first half as Newcastle found themselves under the cosh.

Both sides tested each other in the early minutes with Given - on his 300th appearance for Newcastle - having to deal with a couple of long-range efforts.

Lee Bowyer is out of the final group game against Sporting Lisbon at St James' Park after picking up his third caution in the competition after 17-year-old Jeremy Menez appeared to take a dive after 11 minutes.

Just four minutes later and Menez was again in the thick of the action as he forced Given to make an outstanding save.

The youngster took seniority for a free-kick on the left and his curling effort was turned behind by Given at full stretch.

Sochaux went into the tie third in the French League and boasting an unbeaten 11-match record that saw them win their last outing 3-1 at Monaco.

It was not until the 26th minute that United created their first meaningful chance. James Milner, who started well, cut in from the left and squared for Bellamy who from around the penalty spot lifted his left-footed effort high over the bar.

But the home crowd were then stunned when Newcastle stormed in front after 29 minutes with what was their first shot on target.

Ameobi held off Gregory Paisley on the right, and when the ball broke just inside the box, Bowyer struck a superb shot across Teddy Richert.

The finish was out of the top drawer for what was Bowyer's first European goal in a black and white shirt but all told his 14th in 44 European starts.

Newcastle were on Cloud Nine but it should have been even better after 31 minutes. Given was alert to beat Menez to a long ball and then picked out Bellamy with an inch-perfect pass down the right. He crossed for Milner who somehow volleyed over from just four yards.

Within seconds it was Sochaux who broke and Given pulled off another excellent save to keep out Araujo Ilan – capped three times by Brazil – with his right foot and then denied Michael Isabey with a finger-tip save.

Back in his homeland, Olivier Bernard picked up the second United booking three minutes before the break and from the free-kick Isabey curled just wide.

Newcastle would have anticipated an early blitz from Sochaux at the start of the second half, but instead doubled their lead within 40 seconds of the restart.

A patient build-up saw Bernard make the final delivery from the left and Paisley's slight touch did enough to take the ball away from Richert for a grateful Ameobi to score at the back post.

This was Ameobi's tenth European goal for United, and moved the 23-year-old level with former United great Wyn Davies but still well adrift of record marksman Alan Shearer on 22 goals.

With half-an-hour remaining, Kieron Dyer was give a run out for the hard-working Bowyer.

Sochaux were then given a golden opportunity to get themselves back into the game after 63 minutes. First Given reacted smartly to keep out an attempted clearance from skipper Robbie Elliott.

But to the dismay of Newcastle, an assistant referee called over Spanish official Davilla Megia who pointed to the penalty spot with what appeared to have been a tug of Ilan's shirt by Bernard.

Newcastle were furious but saw that fury turn to delight when Jeremy Mathieu shot wide of Given's left post with the keeper diving in the other direction.

The night got even better for the visitors in the 75th minute as Newcastle raced into a 3-0 lead. Dyer split the home defence wide open for Aaron Hughes to gallop onto the pass and then unselfishly pick out Bellamy who was given a simple tap in.

This was also Bellamy's tenth European goal and he too joins Ameobi and Davies on double figures.

In an incredible last couple of minutes United scored again but could easily have had four more.

Robert was thrown on for the last ten minutes and there was only going to be one free-kick taker when Ameobi was fouled 22 yards from goal.

Beaten 4-0 on his only other visit to this ground with Montpellier, Robert curled his kick right into the angle to ironically make it 4-0 to United.

The chances continued to come but were squandered, but by this time no-one was complaining.