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Newcastle beat Middlesbrough 3-1 to grab lifeline

NEWCASTLE United grabbed a Premier League lifeline yesterday when late goals by substitutes Obafemi Martins and Peter Lovenkrands secured a 3-1 home win over fellow relegation strugglers Middlesbrough.

The victory in a tense Northeast clash, Newcastle's first win at home in 2009, edged them out of the relegation zone on 34 points, above Hull City on goal difference.

Middlesbrough, who have lost 11 successive away league games, look destined to go down as they remain second-last on 31 points.

West Bromwich Albion also have 31 and the four teams have two games remaining.

For two teams who have found scoring so hard, it was an all-action opening at St James' Park.

Middlesbrough went ahead with a farcical goal after three minutes when Tuncay Sanli's shot hit goalkeeper Steve Harper then cannoned into Habib Beye who could not prevent the ball rolling into his own net.

Newcastle roared back and, after Mark Viduka hit a post, they equalised in the ninth minute. Beye made amends for his error with a charging run that earned a corner, which Steven Taylor met with a thumping header.

It was the first home goal since Alan Shearer took over for the last eight games of the season and only the second of his six matches in charge so far.

Tension then took over as the game became scrappy but Martins sent the home fans wild in the 71st minute, moments after coming on for Michael Owen.

The striker collected a Kevin Nolan flick, turned well inside the box and managed to force the ball home.

Nolan also set up the third four minutes from time when Lovenkrands lashed in a powerful shot.

Newcastle's last two games are at home to Fulham and away to Aston Villa while Middlesbrough host Villa before finishing at West Ham United.

Hull, who have been in freefall since the turn of the year, visit Bolton Wanderers then host Manchester United, while West Brom, who have won two of their last three games, host Liverpool then play Blackburn Rovers away.


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