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Match Report: Newcastle Utd 0 - 0 Charlton

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Injury-hit Newcastle United were denied a fourth successive victory under caretaker boss Glenn Roeder as Charlton Athletic scrapped their way to a valuable point.

The Magpies dominated much of the game despite having to do without skipper Alan Shearer and FA Cup hero Kieron Dyer, but could not make the breakthrough as the visitors defended stubbornly.

Shola Ameobi passed up a glorious opportunity to win it 14 minutes from time when he powered a free header over, but, with defender Titus Bramble having limped off as Darren Bent belatedly started to make an impression, Roeder’s men were forced to make do with a draw.

It was a frustrating night for the temporary boss as his side enjoyed enough possession to have won the game, but without a genuine cutting edge they sent a crowd of 50,451 home unable to complain about the amount of effort and commitment, but ruing the absence of their most potent finisher.

Even without Shearer and Dyer, two men who have done much to lift the gloom over St James’ Park in recent weeks following Graeme Souness' departure, there was a belief that the Magpies could win a third successive Barclays Premiership and a fourth in all competitions.

That feeling was largely reinforced by a first-half display which promised much, although delivered little in terms of tangible results.

Roeder was forced to field a makeshift strike-force - £9.5million summer signing Albert Luque was again consigned to the bench - with Turkey midfielder Emre asked to help link a midfield quartet in which Lee Bowyer was recalled with lone striker Ameobi.

The former Inter Milan star’s infectious enthusiasm was matched by the endeavour of Bowyer, Nolberto Solano, Charles N’Zogbia and the hugely impressive Charlton old boy Scott Parker.

But perhaps more significantly, despite the enforced changes, the home side looked compact and organised with Bramble rock-solid and even Jean-Alain Boumsong largely untroubled as 17-goal striker Bent saw little of the ball.

Former Magpie Darren Ambrose went closest for the Londoners before the break with a curling free-kick and a late drive which was blocked by Boumsong, but the traffic was mostly one way.

Ameobi and Bowyer forced good, if regulation, saves from Thomas Myhre inside the opening quarter of an hour, while Emre dropped a free-kick onto the crossbar and then called upon the goalkeeper twice with well-struck shots.

Local boy Ameobi had a 37th-minute strike correctly ruled out for offside, but it was to defender Boumsong that the best chance had fallen seven minutes earlier when Solano picked him out unmarked with a long free-kick, but he directed his header straight at Myhre.

Myhre once again came to his side’s rescue within two minutes of the restart when he had to dive bravely at the feet of Ameobi after Bowyer had dispossessed Radostin Kishishev and poked the ball into his path.

Once again, Newcastle were dominating, although struggling to convert pressure into clear-cut chances, a failing which they knew could prove costly.

Their warning came as Darren Bent finally started to make an impression.

Three times he found the space to run at the home defence, the first time being denied by Boumsong, and then by Robbie Elliott and Peter Ramage.

But to their credit, Newcastle continued the search for the opening goal and Ameobi had appeals for a penalty waved away on 68 minutes after being felled by Chris Perry.

Shay Given needed two attempts to collect a skidding Matt Holland drive 16 minutes from time, but Ameobi headed over from Emre’s back-post corner two minutes later as time started to run out.

The Irishman had to save from Darren Bent again on 79 minutes and only a last-ditch challenge by Boumsong denied substitute Jason Euell five minutes later.

If anything, Charlton finished the game the stronger as Newcastle ran out of steam and ideas, but Given and his patched-up defence managed to hold out to at least preserve Roeder’s unbeaten run.

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