Viduka shatters Derby hearts
Striker's late goal denies Derby victory
By James Dall. Last Updated: 23/12/07 4:25pm
Alan Smith celebrates with saviour Viduka
Newcastle United's Mark Viduka denied Derby County their second Premier League win of the season with a late goal at St James' Park.
The Rams looked on course for their first league victory since they defeated The Magpies in September; however Viduka struck on 87 minutes to snatch a point for Sam Allardyce's men.
Derby took the lead in the fifth minute when Giles Barnes fired a low effort past Shay Given, but Newcastle rallied and equalised courtesy of Viduka's smart finish.
Paul Jewell's side began the second half brightly and they were rewarded when Kenny Miller stunned the home crowd with a cool finish past Shay Given.
But with the minutes steadily evaporating and Allardyce looking on nervously, Viduka stepped up to save Newcastle's blushes.
The home fans could have been forgiven for anticipating a repeat of the debacle at Pride Park in September when, with just five minutes gone, Barnes drilled home a sweetly-struck right-foot drive on a par with Miller's stunning effort that night to give his side a shock lead.
That attack was to prove a relatively rare occurrence as the visitors found themselves pinned back for long periods with Newcastle responding, albeit in laboured fashion at times, in determined mood.
Viduka, starting a game for the first time in a month, was denied a ninth-minute tap-in at the near post by Gary Teale, and his side were appealing in vain for a penalty seconds later.
Tyrone Mears' challenge on Magpies skipper Alan Smith as he prepared to launch himself at Habib Beye's cross bordered on common assault, but referee Andre Marriner saw no offence.
It looked like it might be one of those days for Newcastle when Barnes cleared Obafemi Martins' header off the line on 22 minutes and Stephen Bywater got in a vital block to keep out Beye's driven effort two minutes later.
However, the nerves were calmed on 27 minutes when Viduka benefited from Smith's determined foraging to set himself and drill a low shot inside the post to level.
Beye flashed a header wide 12 minutes before the break and Joey Barton sent a long-range effort high over, but Derby held out until the break.
The Magpies were served with an early warning in the second half when Eddie Lewis was given time and space to pick out Howard, although his header was off target.
Warning not heeded
It was a warning they failed to heed, however, and the visitors were back in front on 52 minutes when Howard and Teale helped a long clearance into Miller's path.
The striker needed no second invitation and calmly slotted past Given to make it 2-1.
Newcastle started to force Derby ever deeper, but they could not find a telling final ball with both Viduka and Milner failing to get shots off inside the box.
Damien Duff's arrival as a 68th-minute replacement for Nicky Butt was greeted warmly by the home fans, and there were even louder cheers seven minutes later when Emre was sent on for Barton.
Bywater had to palm away Duff's 76th-minute cross as it flashed across goal, and just got to Milner's driven free-kick ahead of Viduka three minutes later.
But the Australia international did what he does best with just three minutes remaining, firing past Bywater from 15 yards to snatch a point and spark a late, but ultimately futile, search for a winner.
Emre curled a shot inches wide deep into injury-time, leaving Allardyce with his head in his hands, but another late winner would have been too cruel on the visitors.
|Newcastle United||Team Statistics||Derby County|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|7||Shots on Target||2|
|10||Shots off Target||4|
Barclays Premier League
|15||West Bromwich Albion||15||15|
|17||West Ham United||15||13|