x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Shearer's men fail to beat drop

Hurt and angry. That was how Alan Shearer felt as Newcastle failed to pull off a dramatic last-day escape from relegation.

Newcastle's Steven Taylor, left, crouches on the ground while teammate Damien Duff walks off the pitch after their 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa meaning relegation for the club.
Newcastle's Steven Taylor, left, crouches on the ground while teammate Damien Duff walks off the pitch after their 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa meaning relegation for the club.

BIRMINGHAM // Hurt and angry. That was how Alan Shearer felt as Newcastle failed to pull off a dramatic last-day escape from the Premier League's bottom three when another cruel twist of bad luck finally condemned them to relegation. But the harsh fact was that they could not produce a goal on the day when it mattered most. With rivals Hull and Sunderland both losing, a point at Villa Park would have kept them up - yet Newcastle went down almost without a fight.

But when Gareth Barry's wayward shot was deflected in off Damien Duff's leg after 38 minutes, Shearer must have sensed it was not his day. It typified a turbulent season where nothing has gone right on or off the pitch after seeing four different manager taking charge to leave Newcastle at their lowest point for 16 years. Shearer's men showed little eye for goal - but it was the events of the previous nine months that combined to send them down.

"It's a sad day for the football club," said Shearer, "but let's be honest, we haven't been good enough all year. That's the fact - we deserve to go down." The second half introduction of former England striker Michael Owen failed to change things. And their misery was compounded when full-back David Edgar was sent off for a second yellow card after a foul on Ashley Young. Now the question is whether Shearer stays on to take his home town team back up at the first time of asking now that his spell as St James' Park manager has ended in front of watching owner Mike Ashley.

"I'll go away and speak to the owner and the chairman and give my opinion," added Shearer. "Then it's up to them as to which way they go. It needs total rebuilding. We're all raw, bitter and hurting and now isn't the time to speak about my future." Shearer's side briefly looked a threat going forward at the start. Duff produced a low shot which Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel let spill from his grasp but the ball bounced just wide and Carlos Cuellar then cleared off the line from Steven Taylor.

News of Manchester United taking the lead at Hull had the travelling Toon Army celebrating in the seats before heartbreak set in. Newcastle seemed to sit back, knowing a draw would then be enough. But then good fortune deserted them as Villa continued to push forward. Stilian Petrov headed the ball down for Barry whose 20-yard drive was heading wide until it hit Duff and deflected past the stranded Steve Harper.

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