Honours Even At St James' Park (Sky
Newcastle 0-0 Chelsea
FA Carling Premiership
Adrian Sherling reporting
Points were shared as neither the Premiership leaders nor the Premiership hopefuls could find the net in an entertaining goalless draw at St James' Park.
There were chances galore, most notably for Chelseas Tore Andre Flo, and it was good to see that, with all the overseas talent on show in the North-East, the outstanding player was English Kieron Dyer.
The young international was a bundle of energy down the Newcastle right and his crosses were a constant cause of menace for the Blues' defence.
Within the opening minute, the Magpies almost took a surprise lead. Daniel Cordone, an early candidate for bargain of the season following his 500,000 summer move from Argentinian side Racing Club, stumbled through the Chelsea rearguard, but put his shot too close to Carlo Cudicini.
The Italian goalkeeper was still standing in for regular stopper Ed de Goey, who failed a fitness test on his hamstring problem. Many people see the 27-year-old as a weak link in the current Chelsea line-up, but he proved his worth with a marvellous stop from Alan Shearer after 20 minutes.
Cordone swung a left-sided free-kick into the box and the former England skipper rose majestically to power his header towards goal. It looked destined for the corner, but Cudicini did superbly to turn it around the post.
Chelsea weathered the Black and White storm and started creating chances of their own towards the end of the half. A touch of ball juggling gave Tore Andre Flo some time, but the Norwegian, in for Gianfranco Zola, failed to get his shot on target.
He certainly should have done better when Mario Melchiot found space down the right-wing. The Dutchmans cross was low and hard and although Flo did get a touch to it from just a yard out, it was still not enough to give the Blues the lead.
Newcastle regained their authority in the second period and Nolberto Solano came inches away from giving his side the lead with a superb left-footed volley following Dyers delightful cross.
Another Shearer header also went close, but again Cudicini was equal to it. The former Southampton and Blackburn hitman, now looking for his 201st league goal, also hit a last-gasp free-kick just wide as they game finished even, meaning that Chelsea have now failed to win in their last four matches.
Newcastle: Given, Barton, Goma, Dyer, Shearer, Speed, Solano (Gavilan
85), Cordone, Hughes, Gallacher (Ameobi 70), Charvet.
Subs Not Used: Griffin, Harper, McClen.
Chelsea: Cudicini, Panucci, Leboeuf, Desailly, Hasselbaink, Wise, Le
Saux, Melchiot (Morris 78), Di Matteo, Flo (Zola 82), Harley (Dalla Bona 83).
Subs Not Used: Hitchcock, Gudjohnsen.
Booked: Flo, Panucci.
Ref: G Poll (Tring).