By Steve Sutcliffe | In Match Reports - Away Games
On a day when Bobby Robson had admitted he was “saddened” by the plight of Newcastle United, Stephen Ireland further demoralised the Toon faithful when he rescued a point for City with a classy equaliser five minutes from time.
How the Blues had contrived to put themselves in that position to begin with is a mystery to all after they had made such a promising start.
With Micah Richards operating at right-back and his partnership with Shaun Wright-Phillips causing Newcastle all sorts of problems down the right, City deservedly forged ahead in the 14th minute when Robinho cashed in on the award of another controversial penalty awarded by Referee Rob Styles.
As Robinho raced on to a through-ball from Wright-Phillips, Habib Beye charged in with an unadvised challenge, which on first inspection seemed to merit the award of a penalty and his ensuing sending off however subsequent TV replays showed the decision to be questionable.
Having been awarded one penalty the Blues almost earned a second just minutes later. The impressive Richards could and maybe should have gone down under a challenge from Fabricio Coloccini but the City and England man remained on his feet to force Given into a fine save.
City now controlling possession, created a number of openings but they failed to test Given in the Newcastle goal and were made to pay for not capitalising on their numerical advantage when Ameobi equalised just before the break.
Obafemi Martins operating on the wing following Beye’s dismissal, swung in a cross that Richard Dunne had seemingly under control but his attempted clearance deflected off Vincent Kompany and Ben Haim into the Nigerian forwards path and he converted to register his first goal in over two years.
No changes were made at the break but Newcastle started the second half with an increased desire reflecting the old adage that there’s no time better to score than just before half time.
City then lost the services of the influential Richards after 58 minutes when he hobbled from the field to be replaced by Onuoha. And with the Blues now restricted to long range efforts Newcastle grabbed a surprise lead in the 63rd minute.
Geremi sent over a looping corner and, as the ball fell to Dunne, the City skipper failed to adjust his body position appropriately and volleyed into the top corner of his own goal.
The response from City boss Mark Hughes was immediate, on came Ched Evans for Dietmar Hamman and within moments the young Welsh striker had forced Steven Taylor into a superb block to deflect a shot over the bar.
City continued to threaten but with time fast running out it seemed that Newcastle might hold out for an unlikely win until Ireland collected a Robinho through ball with 5 minutes remaining and slid it past an onrushing Given to leave Newcastle deep in the relegation zone.
Newcastle: Given, Beye, Taylor, Coloccini, Bassong, Geremi, Guthrie, Butt, Duff, Martins (N’Zogbia 72), Ameobi (Carroll 79).
Subs Not Used: Harper, Cacapa, Jose Enrique, Xisco, Edgar.
Sent Off: Beye (12).
Goals: Ameobi 44, Dunne 63 og.
Man City: Hart, Richards (Onuoha 58), Ben-Haim, Dunne, Garrido (Sturridge 83), Wright-Phillips, Kompany, Hamann (Evans 64), Ireland, Jo, Robinho.
Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Elano, Fernandes, Berti.
Booked: Garrido, Kompany.
Goals: Robinho 14 pen, Ireland 86.
Ref: Rob Styles (Hampshire).