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Monday 12 May 2014

On this day in 2004: Saints end Newcastle’s Champions League hopes

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall an entertaining 3-3 draw at St Mary’s Stadium

  • James Beattie (pictured) was among the scorers for Southampton as they held Newcastle

  • Titus Bramble scored an own goal, while Leandre Griffit gave Saints a 3-2 lead

  • Newcastle levelled at 3-3, but the draw ended their hopes of a top-four finish

  • Saints keeper Alan Blayney put in a superb performance to keep the visitors at bay

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

12 May 2004 - Southampton 3-3 Newcastle United

Darren Ambrose hit a 94th-minute equaliser for Newcastle United, but it was not enough to maintain their outside chance of earning a place in the next season’s UEFA Champions League.

Victory would have kept the Magpies in the hunt for a top-four spot in the Barclays Premier League going into a final-day encounter with Liverpool, who were fourth. But in the end, the point left Newcastle four points behind the Reds and one behind fifth-placed Aston Villa.

Southampton were without a win in three matches coming into the contest and were sitting comfortably in mid-table. The Magpies took a seventh-minute lead when Shola Ameobi beat defender Claus Lundekvam to a header before firing the ball past debutant goalkeeper Alan Blayney for his 10th goal of the season in all competitions.

It did not take long for the Saints to level as James Beattie scored his 14th goal of the Barclays Premier League campaign in the 19th minute when he was first to a rebound after Shay Given had parried Anders Svensson’s shot.

In a see-saw match, it was Newcastle who struck next, 10 minutes before half-time, when Lee Bowyer found space in the Saints penalty area and scored with a drilled strike.

Again Southampton responded quickly, this time within four minutes, as a cross from Fabrice Fernandes deflected in off Newcastle defender Titus Bramble for an own goal.

Steven Caldwell and Ambrose both hit the Saints bar after the break and Alan Shearer was denied by a brilliant save from Blayney as Newcastle pushed for a third.

Both sides were chasing the win and it looked to be heading Southampton’s way in the 88th minute when substitute Leandre Griffit found himself clear of the defence and held his nerve to slide home his second goal for the club. But the visitors were not to be denied and Ambrose popped up deep into injury-time, after the Saints had failed to deal with a corner, to earn his side a point.

It was Newcastle’s 11th draw in their 18 away matches and manager Sir Bobby Robson was very upset that his side’s top four chances had ended.

“I’m hurting very much but I can’t complain about my players," he said. “We’ve played poorly away from home and not taken our chances, and giving away silly goals has cost us dearly in the end.”

Southampton manager Paul Sturrock praised goalkeeper Alan Blayney in his first senior appearance, saying: “The boy did very well. He could have caved in after letting one in after just seven minutes but he came through it. It was a fantastic match, great entertainment.”

A 1-1 draw at Anfield in their final match three days later was enough to give Newcastle a place in the UEFA Cup at the expense of Villa as they finished fifth on goal difference. Saints lost on the final day at Charlton Athletic and came 12th.

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Key Points

  • Premierleague.com looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember when Southampton ended Newcastle's Champions League hopes in an entertaining 3-3 draw