Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

O'Brien Pulls out a Real Samba Special

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

O'Brien Pulls out a Real Samba Special

Article excerpt

Byline: All this week, leading up to Sunday's big Tyne-Wear derby, JOHN GIBSON looks back at some of his Newcastle v Sunderland highlights

KEVIN KEEGAN was better than Bob The Builder. Here he was just beginning to assemble his Entertainers but this was their 11th league victory on the spin at the start of a momentous season of promotion.

It was an epic achievement and to this day I can see Liam O'Brien's free-kick arching over the Sunderland defensive wall and past a flailing goalkeeper. Victory was ours.

A rare away victory in fact. It had been 36 years since Newcastle tasted champagne on Wearside.

All was sparked off not by the rapier thrust of a United cavalier but an own goal as early as the 12th minute.

However, Sunderland were put under pressure during the build-up with Barry Venison breaking on the right to play the ball into Gavin Peacock, whose superlative flick sent Rob Lee on his way.

Lee was approaching the dead ball line when he pulled a cross low into the middle. By now Sunderland were at sixes and sevens and Gary Owers, under intense pressure from Kevin Brock, turned the ball low into his own net..

United's crisp inter-passing was pleasing on the eye and the homesters had to dig deep, which in fairness they did. At 1-0 they were always in the game as they proved with little over 20 minutes to go.

An Owers corner on the right found its way to Gordon Armstrong, born a Geordie, who had only been on the pitch as a substitute for four minutes. He rifled in an unstoppable shot from eight yards.

Now it was anybody's game... except United were used to winning and knew how to go about it. They stepped up a gear when it was necessary and seven minutes after the equaliser Brian Atkinson ominously gave away a free-kick 20 yards out at the Roker End where the Newcastle fans were massed.

a Enter centre stage O'Brien, a tall mid-fielder with an elegant left foot. He eyed his target, stepped up with purpose and curled a spectacular effort over the wall of defenders and into the top left-hand corner of the net. United were in Brazilian yellow and this was straight out of the Samba coaching manual. …

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