Chelsea proved unpopular guests at the Alan Shearer homecoming party on Saturday as they won 2-0 at St James' Park to stay in the Premier League title hunt and leave Newcastle United mired in relegation trouble. Goals by Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda early in the second half ruined the comeback of former Newcastle striker Shearer, who has taken over as manager until the end of the season. "We contained them in the first half, it was very even, but a mistake in the second half cost us," Shearer told Sky Sports. "We then tried to open it up and you are always liable to the counter-attack. "Effort-wise there's no problem, the response from the players and everyone over the last few days has been great. There is a lot of hard work to be done, we haven't got a lot of time, but I think we'll get there." Shearer's side have slipped three points from safety following good results for most of the teams immediately above them. Blackburn Rovers scored twice in the last eight minutes to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 and Stoke City claimed their first away win of the season with a 2-0 triumph at West Bromwich Albion. Bolton Wanderers, helped by a 40-metre effort by Matt Taylor, thrashed Middlesbrough 4-1 while Hull City and Portsmouth drew 0-0. The foot of the table makes grim reading for the three north-east clubs. West Brom are bottom on 24 points while Middlesbrough (27), Newcastle (29) and Sunderland, on 32 after losing 2-0 at West Ham United, fill the next three places. Arsenal consolidated fourth spot, a 2-0 home win over Manchester City giving them 58 points. AWKWARD HURDLE Chelsea will be delighted to have negotiated what looked an awkward hurdle as the return of Shearer seemed certain to galvanise a side that had won only once in 12 league games. The former England captain would have been pleased with his team's effort in the first half, even if they rarely threatened a goal, but it was the ragged defending that has marred their season that again proved their undoing. Argentina centre back Fabricio Coloccini was caught in possession by Nicolas Anelka and after the Frenchman's shot came back off the bar, Lampard was on hand to nod the ball in after 56 minutes. The second goal was even more basic as Anelka flicked on a goalkick and Lampard set up Malouda to shoot home. Michael Owen thought he had pulled one back when he had a deflected shot cleared, the England striker claiming it had crossed the line, but Chelsea were deserved winners. "With the coming of Shearer we knew it would give a lot of energy and we wanted to spoil the party and get rid of that energy as quickly as possible," Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink told BBC radio. Arsenal's long-term absentees Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor combined for their two goals at the Emirates Stadium. Fabregas, who missed 19 games with a knee injury, supplied the free kick and Adebayor, back from a two-month absence with a hamstring problem, headed home after eight minutes. Spaniard Fabregas then delivered a perfect pass to set up the Togo striker to round the keeper and get the second early in the second half. Theo Walcott, yet another comeback man, had several good chances to extend the lead but it was another wretched afternoon for City's Robinho, who was substituted again after an anonymous display. NEWCASTLE FANS! Check FourFourTwo.com’s ever-expanding interviews archive for more stuff to read: Web Exclusives Les Ferdinand Q&A Joey Barton One on One Michael Owen, Kevin Keegan, Les Ferdinand, Faustino Asprilla Boy's A Bit Special Steven Taylor, Danny Guthrie Ask A Silly Question John Barnes Perfect XI Ruud Gullit What Happened Next? Tony Cunningham My Secret Vice Nolberto Solano, Sam Allardyce Plus! Rate Newcastle players (and others) on Talentspotter CHELSEA FANS! Check FourFourTwo.com’s ever-expanding interviews archive for more stuff to read: Web Exclusives Kerry Dixon, Guus Hiddink One on One Gianfranco Zola, Nicolas Anelka Boy's A Bit Special Michael Mancienne, Scott Sinclair Perfect XI Ruud Gullit, Marcel Desailly Celebrity fans Vidal Sassoon And Another Thing Being a Big Four fan Plus! Ruud Gullit on Weekend Wonders and Chelsea on Talentspotter
4 April 2009
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