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FINALLY, TOM AND DERRY! AND DERRY!; Newcastle 3 PSV Eindhoven 2: Great Dane puts Kenny's men through.

A star was born at Lansdowne Road last night - and his name is Jon Tomasson.

The 20-year-old Danish striker is the sole reason why Newcastle United will take on national league champions Derry City in tonight's final of the inaugural Irish international tournament.

The Magpies began the new season with a win in a tournament that Kenny Dalglish has admitted is more about fitness and physique than performance. Yet even he will have been delighted with the way Tomasson, a closeseason signing from smalltown Dutch outfit Heerenven, settled in to the Geordie way last night.

Tomasson, who set Dutch football alight with a string of goals last season, kept it up with two more last night and a hand in the third.

That will come as no surprise to a PSV defence who suffered at his feet for the past 12 months.

Tomasson is about to come as a real surprise to Premiership defences.

Last night he was thrust in to a striking role just in front of the Newcastle midfield and just behind England captain Alan Shearer.

In order to accommodate the great Dane, Dalglish left both Les Ferdinand and Peter Beardsley on the bench.

It will hardly come as a surprise now if Dalglish accepts the reported pounds 6m bid for Ferdinand from Spurs.

If he does accept it he can do so happy in the knowledge that Tomasson is ready for the demands of English football after his stunning debut last night.

He made an immediate impact when he set up the Newcastle opener after only 21 minutes.

Steve Watson, cast in an unfamiliar left-back role, joined the Newcastle attack only to see his shot pushed away by PSV's new German keeper Georg Koch, a summer target for Rangers.

After Koch got a hand to the ball, Tomasson whipped it across goal, Shearer got a touch and Northern Ireland international Keith Gillespie whipped it home.

There was better to come from Newcastle at the start of a season in which manager Dalglish believes they can mount another serious title challenge.

He has based that belief on their stunning form at the end of last season which earned them a Champions League spot alongside the likes of last night's opponents PSV.

There was little evidence of that form for much of the proceedings at Lansdowne Road, but there was the inspirational touch of Tomasson. The Dane got his first goal after a great solo run in the 24th minute when he turned his man and then switched feet to send home a left- footed piledriver.

His second goal nine minutes from time had all the characteristics of a cool head on one so young as he saved a lethargic second half from the demands of a penalty shoot-out.

This time, Gillespie was the provider with a deflected cross and Tomasson coolly picked his spot to fire home the clincher.

He wasn't the only debutant on the night for Newcastle, as manager Dalglish also unveiled Georgian midfielder Temur Ketsbaia and Irish international goalkeeper Shay Given.

Ketsbaia had a rather less eventful debut than either Tomasson or Given.

He will need more time to make an impact.

But Given did enough to please Irish fans in the small 15,000 crowd, fans who are already well used to his brilliance. He made a couple of useful first-half save from Belgian strikers Gilles Debilde and Luc Nilis, the man who pipped Tomasson for the top scorer's award in Holland last season.

There was little, however, that Given could do about either PSV goal after he was badly exposed by his defence.

The first came on the half-hour from Bruggink and the second 15 minutes from time when Stam finished after Nilis hit the crossbar.

That wasn't enough, however, as Tomasson had the last word.

The organisers wanted Newcastle in the final and he kept their side of the bargain with that winner.

Sadly for the organisers of a tournament that has not attracted the high crowds expected, Celtic failed to keep their promise, and so Newcastle face Derry tonight.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Dervan, Cathal
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 16, 1997
Words:678
Previous Article:KERR IN BATTLE FOR BOY DUFF.
Next Article:GIANT KILLERS!; Derry City 3, Celtic 2: Derry heroes shatter the mighty Celts.


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