Magpies in a flap as keeper saves Boro

Newcastle 0 Middlesbrough 0

The former Leeds teenager looked odds-on to score 15 minutes from time as a dour contest opened up but the Australian turned his well-struck drive over the bar to preserve his clean sheet and his side's hopes of European qualification.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had earlier wasted a fine opportunity for the visitors when he chipped into Shay Given's arms after being played in by Doriva, but in a game of few clear-cut chances, a draw was just about a fair result.

The Magpies were almost caught on 26 minutes as Nemeth fed Parlour on the right. The Slovakian was there at the far post when the former Arsenal midfielder crossed but Jean-Alain Boumsong got in an excellent intervening header.

The home side were dealt a blow on 28 minutes when Dyer grabbed for his hamstring after hurdling a Zenden challenge, although he remained on the pitch for several minutes before indicating his discomfort to the bench.

Dyer bowed to the inevitable 10 minutes before the break when he was replaced by Ameobi, and the newcomer could have scored with his first touch, but headed a Charles N'Zogbia corner wide.

The Magpies threatened three minutes before the break when O'Brien forced his way through the massed red shirts and poked the ball towards Shearer in the box, but Southgate cleared hurriedly to snuff out the chance.

Boateng needed treatment within a minute of the restart when N'Zogbia slipped as he attempted to challenge the midfielder and careered into him from behind, and he spent several minutes on the sidelines trying to walk the problem off.

In the meantime, the Magpies tried desperately to make the most of their man advantage, but simply could not open up Boro as they dropped men behind the ball.

Boro should have been in front on 55 minutes when Doriva picked out Hasselbaink with a superb pass over O'Brien. The striker controlled well and looked to chip Given, but he succeeded only in lifting the ball into the keeper's arms.

McClaren made his move with 25 minutes remaining when he replaced Zenden with Downing.

Ambrose chanced his arm from distance with 72 minutes remaining but could not keep his effort down.

Milner was forcing the pace and it was to him the ball fell when Shearer's 75th-minute flick-on came off Southgate but his powerful shot was brilliantly turned over by Jones.

The Boro skipper needed extensive treatment with 10 minutes remaining after a clash of heads with Shearer.

But he was able to continue and McClaren used his substitution to replace Nemeth with Danny Graham.

Hasselbaink was booked for a late challenge on N'Zogbia and Doriva followed him into the book for a trip on Shearer as time ran down.

But the game simply ebbed away, much as the season appears to be doing for both north-east rivals.

NEWCASTLE: Given, Ramage, Andrew O'Brien, Boumsong, Elliott, Ambrose, Carr, N'Zogbia, Shearer, Milner, Dyer (Ameobi 35).

MIDDLESBROUGH: Jones, Davies, Ehiogu, Southgate, Queudrue, Parlour, Doriva, Boateng, Zenden (Downing 65), Nemeth (Graham 83), Hasselbaink.

Referee: M Halsey.

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