Controversial win for Blackburn

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> A controversial goal by Paul Gallagher gave Blackburn Rovers a 1-0 win at Newcastle United in the English Premiership on Sunday.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Neither team came in to Sunday's fixture at St James' Park in particularly scintillating form. Newcastle United were on the back of two draws at Charlton and Leicester - not the sort of form expected of a team eyeing a Champions League placing. And Blackburn have been rapidly slipping towards the relegation zone, thanks in part to possessing fewer 'clean sheets' than any other side in the English Premiership. Early scare The visitors managed to give United an early scare, teenager Paul Gallagher's flick just clearing the crossbar. But while not appearing totally comfortable - and certainly not fluent - Newcastle had the better of the first half chances. The prolific Alan Shearer was denied by Brad Friedel after 21 minutes. When Barry Ferguson picked up a severe injury five minutes later, Rovers looked to be in for a miserable afternoon. Their influential Scottish midfielder fractured his patella in this innocuous-looking challenge and will be out for the rest of the season. Manager Graeme Souness was suitably frustrated. Missed chances The hosts' Laurent Robert and Shearer both had further good chances in the half - Michael Chopra had a goal ruled out in his first start for the 'Magpies'. A dull game became even more sterile after the interval. Newcastle produced a couple of early openings that were dealt with. But 18 minutes from time, Rovers conjured up a shock goal - and in controversial circumstances. Despite the close proximity of referee Mike Halsey, 19-year-old Gallagher appeared to escape with fisting the ball into the net. Newcastle players weren't impressed - but within three minutes, they almost went two-down - only an extraordinary clearance from Andy O'Brien keeping their hopes alive. In the event, Sir Bobby Robson's men weren't able to find their way past the highly-impressive Brad Friedel. United lost further ground on an already-distant top three - Rovers escaping from immediate danger. (AP)