Newcastle beat Middlesbrough 3-1

Newcastle United beat fellow relegation battlers Middlesbrough 3-1 tonight at St James' Park to move above Hull on goal difference and out of the bottom three.

Alan Shearer's decision to replace Michael Owen with Obafemi Martins midway through the second half proved decisive as the Nigerian striker scored to put Newcastle ahead with virtually his first touch.

Boro had taken an early lead when a Steve Harper parried a Tuncay shot off the luckless Habib Beye and into the Newcastle net. But Steven Taylor got the Magpies back on level terms just minutes later when he rose unmarked to head home a Danny Guthrie corner.

Despite looking better on the ball in a game lacking in quality, Middlesbrough struggled to get a foothold in the game and Newcastle's persistence finally paid off. Substitute Peter Lovenkrands scored a third for the Magpies late on to give Alan Shearer his first win as a manager and the club their first victory at home since December.

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