Maritimo 0 Newcastle 0: Pardew frustrated after misfiring Toon are held

Maritimo 0 Newcastle 0: Pardew frustrated after misfiring Toon are held

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UPDATED:

19:22 GMT, 20 September 2012

Shola Ameobi came agonisingly close to firing Newcastle to an opening
Europa League victory as the woodwork and Maritimo keeper Romain Salin
combined to thwart him.

The 30-year-old, captaining a much-changed side at the Estadio dos
Barreiros, hit both the post and the crossbar and saw Salin block
another effort on a frustrating evening for the Magpies in Madeira.

So close: Shola Ameobi (centre) hits the post

So close: Shola Ameobi (centre) hits the post

Match facts

Maritimo: Salin, Briguel, Joao Guilherme, Roberge, Luis Olim, Rafael Miranda, Joao Luiz, Heldon (Fidelis 54), David Simao (Goncalo Abreu 75), Sami, Danilo Dias (Adilson 82).

Subs Not Used: Lima De Oliveira, Joao Diogo, Marcio Rosario, Igor Rossi.

Booked: David Simao.

Newcastle: Elliot, Perch, Williamson, Steven Taylor, Santon, Obertan (Marveaux 80), Bigirimana, Gosling, Amalfitano (Ferguson 76), Shola Ameobi, Vuckic (Sammy Ameobi 53).

Subs Not Used: Harper, Tavernier, Abeid, Campbell.

Booked: Bigirimana,Amalfitano,Santon.

Att: 4,000

Ref: Robert Schorgenhofer (Austria).

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Midfielder Dan Gosling was also denied by an upright after Alan
Pardew's men bounced back from a less than impressive start to their
Group D campaign.

They were indebted to keeper Rob Elliot, playing just his second game
for the club, for two early saves, and he got down well 20 minutes from
time to keep out dangerman Sami's skidding strike, but he also needed
the help of the bar when full-back Davide Santon headed Valentin
Roberge's late header against it.

But having gone into the game with only two members of what would be
considered his strongest starting line-up – Steven Taylor and Santon –
Pardew will have been the happier manager with a point banked and key
men rested ahead of Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Norwich.

Newcastle turned in a poor first-half performance at Everton on Monday
evening before staging a concerted fightback, and they were little more
impressive during the early stages of tonight's encounter.

They might have been behind with less than two minutes on the clock when
David Simao found space on the left to send in a dangerous cross which
was only just too strong for Heldon as he slid in.

S close: Dan Gosling fires his shot against the post

S close: Dan Gosling fires his shot against the post

Maritimo, who went into the game unbeaten in seven matches in all
competitions to date this season, were simply too good and too slick for
Pardew's weakened side during the opening 25 minutes and, had it not
been for Elliot, could have been in serious arrears.

The former Charlton keeper pulled off a fine reaction save to keep out Sami's 11th-minute volley and then blocked with his legs after the striker had run clear of the visitors' defence.

But having endured a difficult start to the game, the Magpies gradually started to find their feet and went close to the opening goal on four different occasions inside four minutes.

Gael Bigirimana saw his 27th-minute corner tipped over by keeper Romain Salin as it threatened to dip under the crossbar and then French midfielder Romain Amalfitano had a goal-bound volley blocked after connecting with another Bigirimana corner.

But it was the woodwork which came to the Madeira side's rescue twice in quick succession with the Premier League side turning the screw.

Central defender Mike Williamson found the ball at his feet inside the penalty area and, when his shot was deflected, Shola Ameobi dived in to head the ball towards goal where it hit the post and was bundled away by the recovering Salin, who had initially been wrong-footed.

Gosling was denied by the opposite upright on the half-hour when his 25-yard drive thumped off the foot of the post with Salin beaten.

Ouch! Dan Gosling clashes with Maritimo's defender Joao Guilherme

Ouch! Dan Gosling clashes with Maritimo's defender Joao Guilherme

Feet first: Maritimo's Brazilian midfielder Joao Luiz

Feet first: Maritimo's Brazilian midfielder Joao Luiz

The game settled down as both sets of players regrouped, although the
first half ended in controversy when Sami stumbled having looked to have
got the better of Williamson and Steven Taylor.

And in the melee which followed, the ball was stabbed back to Elliot
prompting fury from the home fans as their side appealed in vain for a
close-range free-kick for a back-pass.

Shola Ameobi was desperately unfortunate not to score just two minutes
after the restart when he capitalised on an error by Joao Guilherme to
charge into the box and side-step Roberge before curling a shot past
Salin, but on to the bar.

Heads up: Newcastle's Sammy Ameobi climbs above the defence

Heads up: Newcastle's Sammy Ameobi climbs above the defence

High jump: Gosling, top, avoids Luis Olim

High jump: Gosling, top, avoids Luis Olim

The striker was joined on the pitch by younger brother Sammy when he
replaced Haris Vuckic after 53 minutes, and the pair combined well to
set up Amalfitano within four minutes, although his shot was wayward.

However, the home side perhaps should have gone ahead with 59 minutes
gone when Sami ran into space on the left and crossed for substitute
Fidelis to blast a first-time effort just past the post with Elliot
helpless.
But the senior Ameobi went close at the other end five minutes later,
forcing another decent save from Salin after bamboozling Guilherme with
his turn on to Santon's pass.

Maritimo became increasingly careless in possession as time ran down and
it appeared that if there was to be a winner, it would be the visitors
leaving with the points.

But the Magpies enjoyed a major escape eight minutes from time when
Roberge connected with Rafael Miranda's flick-on and Santon somehow
managed to smuggle the ball away with the help of the goal-frame, and
Elliot saved unconvincingly from substitute Goncalo at the death.

Missed it: Newcastle's defender Mike Williamson

Missed it: Newcastle's defender Mike Williamson