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MICHAEL OWEN calmly slotted home an extra-time winner as Newcastle finally disposed of Coventry City in a pulsating Carling Cup tie.
Other than Owen, no-one of a Newcastle persuasion, player, coach, owner or fan, would have taken even a perverse pleasure from Scott Dann's stoppage-time leveller to send the game into extra-time.
But for Owen, introduced as a substitute near the end, it represented another 30 minutes fitness and, more importantly, another opportunity to score.
And the England forward duly obliged, speeding past a static Coventry defence and chipping Andy Marshall to give the Magpies a victory early efforts from Charles N'Zogbia and James Milner should have given them without the extra effort.
Given his key talks with owner Mike Ashley tomorrow that should plot a way forward for the Tyneside giants, Keegan might have seen positives and negatives in the way his team performed for the vast majority of the contest.
The two goals they did score could easily have been doubled without much effort. And this from a team without a recognised striker.
Yet pleased as Keegan must have been with the performance of his side, it overshadowed some basic home truths.
Against Coventry, a limited side for all their hustle and bustle, the Magpies looked good.
Against teams from the top half of the Barclays Premier League they will struggle.
I was seven years old, and my auntie (who was working for the Coventry Evening Telegraph, as it was then) presented me and my brother each with one.
"Sky Blues - Coventry City Est. 1883"
It meant very little to me back then, but it was my first ever scarf, and it was blue, so it quickly became the coolest thing I owned.
Little did I know that it was to start something in me that 20 years later I have yet to grow out of. On the contrary, it has grown with me, to the point where my teachers at school worried about me, to spending all my pocket money on replica shirts with numbers on the back, to now where I'm disregarding my day job to write about my team.
My team. Listen to me! Of course they're not my team, but we all think that, don't we?
Like with all relationships, I've let the club sit close to my heart, pushed them away again, only to invite them back with open arms. Right now I'm at the latter stage of the cycle, filled with all the optimism that Chris Coleman has sewn in me with his dapper suits and dashing Welsh charm.
I'm looking forward to spilling my emotions (football related, mostly) all over these pages, and you'll be happy to know that with no affiliations, I can pretty much say what I want.
How's this for starters?
If you buy a Yorkie from a snack machine at the Ricoh, you save 10p on the kiosk price.
COVENTRY CITY boss Chris Coleman says he doesn't care if striker Freddy Eastwood is a doubt for Wales.
The former Welsh international admits he's not interested at all in his country - only in Coventry City's fortunes.
BBC Sport reports Coleman says he "couldn't care less" if striker Eastwood is a doubt for Wales' opening 2010 World Cup qualifiers next month.
"I don't care about the Azerbaijan game to be honest with you," he said. "I couldn't care less.
"We need Freddy fit for us for Doncaster Rovers, we signed him for a reason. I don't care about Wales."
DON Hutchison served up this Christmas cracker in 2005.
The gifted midfielder - who played for the likes of Liverpool, West Ham and Everton - smashed in this belter against Leeds United on Boxing Day.
CHRIS COLEMAN is forced to field an understrength side in tonight's Ricoh Arena showcase against Premier League Newcastle United.
But the Sky Blues' boss is still hoping to plot a Carling Cup upset against his former Fulham manager, Kevin Keegan, and has already bolstered his midfield by switching hard man Aron Gunnarsson back to his preferred central role.
Marcus Hall looks likely to return to the side at left-back with Danny Fox switching to the right to cover for the injured Stephen Wright.
"I think this game would be ideal if we were going in full strength," said the City boss who confirmed that Wright (Achilles), striker Freddy Eastwood (groin) and goal-keeper Keiren Westwood (thumb) will all be missing tonight.
"With us playing a Premier League team in the cup in front of a big crowd, to take a scalp like that would give you a bit of confidence.
"On the other hand we are coming up against a good, strong team who have had a good start to their season and we have got to be careful that it doesn't turn into a thumping.
"We have lost 3-0 at home to Bristol City in a game full of incident and we are going into the Newcastle game under-strength and it is going to be a tough, tough game.
We are the under-dogs but there is always a chance of an upset.
"I am glad it has come round quickly after our first defeat of the season because it gives us the chance to put a good performance in ahead of Doncaster on Saturday.
"We want to put on a good show for the supporters and test Newcastle, and the pressure is on them."
COVENTRY CITY are licking their physical and mental wounds today as they prepare for their Carling Cup showpiece against Newcastle United.
Striker Freddy Eastwood and goalkeeper Keiren Westwood are set to miss tomorrow's tie at the Ricoh Arena while Steven Wright's Achilles problem means that midfielder Aron Gunnarsson will again be forced to plug the gap in the back four.
And, while he ponders his reduced tactical options, Chris Coleman admits he has to repair the psychological scars inflicted by the 3-0 home defeat against Bristol City that shattered the Sky Blues' 100-per-cent start to the season.
"We can't afford to feel sorry for ourselves," he insisted.
"Newcastle is a great draw for us and if we were going into it with a fit team, a full squad, we'd be thinking 'lovely!'
"Unfortunately at the minute I haven't got a clue who's going to be fit for the game.
"I'll field the strongest side I can but if they're on it and we're off it it will be a hammering and we don't want that because that can affect you for a while."
Coleman revealed: "Freddy hurt his groin in the first 10 minutes - we kept him on hoping it would get better but it didn't. Keiren has concussion and a dislocated thumb after the collision for the first goal which we felt was a free-kick.
"I don't know whether Steven Wright will be ready for Newcastle or Doncaster so we'll probably have to go in with Aron at right-back again.
"That's not ideal - you can get away with it once, perhaps twice, but you can't keep getting away with it and we missed him in the middle of the pitch.
"You want your best players fit, on the pitch in their right positions, so we might have to move for another right-back, possibly on loan."
COVENTRY keeper Keiren Westwood admits he's a big admirer of Kevin Keegan after the Newcastle boss did him a favour - by releasing him.
Westwood, 23, will come face-to-face with his former boss when the Sky Blues take on the Toon in the Carling Cup on Tuesday night.
The summer signing from Carlisle knows the Geordies' own special K better than most at the Ricoh, having worked under the former England manager at Manchester City.
In fact it was Keegan who showed a young Westwood the door four years ago after he failed to make the grade between the sticks with the blue half of his home city.
However, the budding Republic of Ireland international bears no grudge towards the Magpies manager after he admitted that he deserved to go.
And Westwood even thanks Keegan for that early bombshell as it helped give him the kick up the backside he needed to go on and develop into one of the Championship's top keepers.
DELE Adebola scored one goal and made another against his former club as Bristol City maintained their unbeaten start to the season by dethroning Coca-Cola Championship leaders Coventry at the Ricoh Arena.
Adebola, a Sky Blues player for four-and-a-half years before his move to Bristol City in January, gave the Robins the lead in controversial circumstances in a fiery first half before setting up Michael McIndoe after the break.
Substitute Steve Brooker added a third goal in injury-time at the end of the game.
LOYAL Sky Blue centre-back Richard Shaw only scored once for Coventry City.
But what a belter it was.
If you're only going to score one goal in years of professional football, you'd want it to be like this.
Rumour has it, if the net had not been there, the ball would still be travelling....
BRISTOL CITY Gary Johnson says he can't wait to end Coventry City's unbeaten start to the season.
The Robins boss wants a repeat of last September, when City inflicted Coventry's first defeat of the season with a resounding 3-0 victory.
He told the Bristol Evening Post: "They always seem to start well in the opening games of the season and we always have to go there to knock them off the top.
"But it's always nice that we are going there to knock them off, that we are always that close and it would be good to get the results that we've got previously.
"We'll certainly settle for less than that so long as we win.
"Coleman's a good manager, he'll have them playing some good football judging from the reports."