Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's Antoine-Nil to Plucky Toon

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's Antoine-Nil to Plucky Toon

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alan Oliver

antoine Sibierski was too busy celebrating yet another match-winning goal with the Newcastle United fans to notice a couple of empty seats in the directors box.

And the Newcastle United striker will have been disappointed that Stuart Pearce, the man who let him leave Manchester City on the transfer deadline day, and his assistant Steve Wigley had just left the ground and were heading back to the North West.

But it was the only disappointment for the 32-year-old Frenchman who is rapidly becoming United's lucky mascot in Europe, and indeed his winner last night means that Glenn Roeder's side now already have a great chance of qualifying for the next stages of the competition.

Sibierski grabbed the winner in Tallinn and had an assist for Oba Martins' second goal in the second leg at St James' Park. And those, including myself, who mocked his signing have been made to eat our words.

Let's only hope that those supporters who are branding Martins a waste of money are also left eating their words.

However, it has to be said that Martins was poor again last night and his lack of physical presence counts against the little Nigerian striker on nights like this when foreign opposition are usually more concerned with defending than getting men forward.

One of my pet hates in football is the way players drag themselves off when their number comes up ( Laurent Robert was a prime example. But whenever Martins is substituted he cannot get off quickly enough and his sprint when the No 9 appeared on the board in the 75th minute was the fastest he moved all night.

But let's not be too critical on a night when the most important thing was the result after the Premiership defeats by Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers.

After the result, and Sibierski's match-winner, the most pleasing thing for Roeder was the clean sheet after he left out Titus Bramble and Craig Moore and gave the Peter Ramage-Steven Taylor central defensive partnership a first airing. …

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