Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sweet and Sour for Magpies' Hughton

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sweet and Sour for Magpies' Hughton

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner at St James's Park

Newcastle United 1

Manchester United 2

STEVEN Taylor will escape without what Chris Hughton feels would be an undeserved punishment, yet that is exactly how the caretaker manager viewed his side's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United.

Taylor was booked for his part in the game's major flashpoint, shortly before half-time at St James's Park. The right-back challenged Cristiano Ronaldo on the touchline but succeeded only in pulling back the Portuguese winger.

The Red Devils reacted angrily, captain Rio Ferdinand pursuing Taylor as he walked away. It spilled into the tunnel, with reports of angry words between the defender and Ronaldo.

But after watching video footage of the incident Hughton felt a yellow card was the correct punishment.

"Anybody who sees the incident again will see where he has made contact - the top of his shoulder and on his neck," he argued. "I have had the opportunity to see it again and I'm quite sure anyone else who has will agree.

"The only word we had with Steven Taylor (at half-time) is what we have with anyone booked in the first half - to be careful because they're one booking away from a red card. It's the same advice we'd give to anyone." Because Taylor was cautioned he cannot be retrospectively punished on video evidence.

Hughton cut a frustrated figure after the match, delighted with his team's performance but conscious that at this stage of the season, points are all that matter. Defeat, courtesy of goals from Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov, saw Newcastle move a point closer to the Premier League relegation zone, with Blackburn Rovers drawing and Stoke City victorious. It was the Magpies' sixth in ten Premier League matches, and extended their run of games without a home win to six.

The Magpies had taken a surprise ninth-minute lead, Peter Lovenkrands becoming the first Premier League player to beat Edwin van der Sar since Arsenal's Samr Nasri on November 8. …

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