Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Craig Hails Toon's Deadly Strike Duo

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Craig Hails Toon's Deadly Strike Duo

Article excerpt

Newcastle United reserve-team boss Tommy Craig hailed the goalscoring prowess of strike duo Shola Ameobi and Michael Chopra after they tore Aston Villa apart at Kingston Park.

It also gave watching manager Graeme Souness a boost ahead of the trip to Chelsea at the weekend, with Alan Shearer still not guaranteed to be fit after his hernia operation.

Villa arrived on Tyneside with an unbeaten record, but had no answer to United as Ameobi bagged a hat-trick and Chopra took his tally to 11 in his last seven games.

Villa went in front after 21 minutes when Sam Williams stabbed home a loose ball after Toon keeper Tony Caig had fumbled Christian Kabeya's powerful shot from outside the box.

But it was all Newcastle after that as Ameobi and Chopra ran up a 4-1 scoreline before the break, with the Nigerian-born striker blasting home a superb free-kick to complete his hat-trick.

Craig was delighted with the pair's contribution and said today: "I suppose 5-1 kind of flattered us slightly because it was a more even game than that.

"But our finishing on the night was the difference and we produced five quality finishes.

"The way Michael and Shola took their goals was fantastic and because of that we won the game, but you expect that from players with their calibre."

Ameobi's treble came in front of Souness with United taking the precaution of subbing the player after tempers flared late on.

Isaiah Osbourne sent Daryl Smylie tumbling with Ameobi stepping in to break things up.

Osbourne lashed out at the Toon striker and seconds after the incident the Villa man went down like he'd been shot following an innocuous challenge by Ameobi, before his withdrawal for common sense reasons.

Craig admitted his substitution was with Chelsea in mind.

He added: "Shola was on a hat-trick and he'd been booked and I didn't want him to get another one ( it was wise to take him off. …

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