Magpies make easy progress

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Newcastle cruised through to the Uefa Cup quarter finals with a 4-2 aggregate win over Heerenveen.

The Magpies prevailed 2-1 in the first leg last week in Northern Holland, and won by the same scoreline at St James's Park on Thursday courtesy of an Alan Shearer strike and an own-goal.

The hosts flew out of the traps and hit the front after 10 minutes when Laurent Robert escaped down the left wing and whipped over a cross that Michel Breuer deflected past keeper Brian Vandenbussche at the near post.

It should have been two on 16 minutes after Vandenbussche spilled an innocuous Shola Ameobi shot, but Kieron Dyer had already turned his back on play much to the crowd's annoyance.

The visiting custodian did redeem himself shortly afterwards with a fine double save to deny Ameobi, while Titus Bramble was close to forcing home the subsequent corner.

The tie was all but killed by the 24th minute when Shearer rattled home a trademark effort from 20 yards after Robert had touched an indirect free-kick to him.

It was the veteran striker's seventh European goal this term making him the competition's top scorer.

Understandably, Newcastle took their foot off the accelerator and the tempo of the game dropped markedly with Heerenveen resigned to their fate.

However, they were handed some hope ten minutes from time when Ameobi inexplicably handled from a corner to give away a needless penalty.

After some confusion when the referee appeared to go back on his decision to award the spot-kick, Arnold Bruggink stepped up to confidently beat Shay Given from 12 yards.

When Victor Sikora saw a fine volley headed off the line by Ameobi a few jitters began to spread amongst the home fans, but it was as good as it got for the visitors.

Substitute James Milner and Robert could and should added further goals, but it mattered not as Newcastle progressed with something to spare.