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BEARD-HO!; Sunderland 1 Newcastle 2.

Peter Beardsley and Les Ferdinand rode to Kevin Keegan's rescue last night as Sunderland threatened to turn over English soccer's most expensive team.

It was just what Kevin Keegan needed after a shocking start to the season.

Beardsley came in for Colombian Faustino Asprilla, dramatically axed along with Philippe Albert, in Keegan's desperate search for the winning formula.

And 35-year-old Beardsley marked his first full game of the season with an equaliser seven minutes into the second half of a frantic, high-powered clash between the two old rivals.

Beardsley nodded in a cross from Ferdinand for a goal greeted by stunned silence at Roker Park, where only a handful of supporters had beaten the ban on visiting fans.

Then after 62 minutes Ferdinand powered in a header from David Ginola's cross for his first goal of the season.

Sunderland could hardly believe how the balance of power had tilted after they threatened to fuel Keegan's early-season crisis.

In the first half, Keegan saw no signs of an end to his worries as United looked destined for another humiliating setback in the worst possible place as far as the Toon Army are concerned.

United were humbled throughout the opening 45 minutes by a team assembled for just pounds 4 million by Peter Reid.

Martin Scott had put Sunderland after after 19 minutes from the penalty spot.

It came after Steve Agnew was pulled down in the box by Robbie Elliott.

Sunderland called the tune in every area of the pitch in the first half, notably in midfield where Kevin Ball and Paul Bracewell overshadowed Beardsley and David Batty.

Nobody could have foreseen how Beardsley was to light the fire under Newcastle and provide an answer to the early-season doubters.

All the goals sparked pockets of trouble in the sell-out crowd as Newcastle fans who beat the ban were spotted by home supporters.

But there was delight back on Tyneside where nearly 10,000 supporters watched the game beamed back live to the city's Arena.

It was a relief for Keegan, whose pounds 61 million squad had looked like continuing their dismal start.

Newcastle, tipped to win the Premier title after buying Alan Shearer for a world-record pounds 15 million, had looked like being torn apart until the second-half.

Keegan had obviously read the riot act to the players at the break. They came out in the second half looking fired up and ready to rumble.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Wardle, John
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 5, 1996
Next Article:KAMIKAZE!; Fergie lashes lucky United.

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