Football

Hughton heaps praise on Harper

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Manager Chris Hughton praised the quality of Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper after Monday night's 1-0 win at Sheffield United which restored the Magpies' position at the top of the Coca-Cola Championship.

The 34-year-old produced several fine stops to help condemn the Blades to a fourth straight league defeat, but none better than the brilliant reaction save to keep out Darius Henderson's point-blank header in stoppage time.

Asked whether his side were fortunate to leave with a win, Hughton said: "No. What we have had is Steve Harper who made a couple of absolutely fabulous saves and that's the quality of the keeper he is. Over the 90 minutes we deserved what we got."

Hughton added: "He's doing the business. There are different aspects to Steve Harper. He's a Newcastle lad and has been here for a long time, he's a very calming influence, a mature lad and a mature player and that has been invaluable for us.

"It was vitally important we got something from the game."

Newcastle climbed back to the summit courtesy of a lucky own goal after Ryan Taylor's low 25-yard shot deflected off hapless Blades captain Chris Morgan and into the bottom corner to heap more pressure on the hosts' manager Kevin Blackwell.

Hughton dismissed suggestions Leicestershire referee Kevin Friend might have blown for a foul in the build-up to the goal when Kevin Nolan clattered into Blades defender Kyle Walker, leaving the ball to break free into Taylor's path.

Hughton, marking his first game as permanent manager with his side's third win in seven league matches, said: "My first impressions are that he won the ball."

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Topics:
Darius Henderson
Football
Ryan Taylor
Kevin Nolan
Championship
Steve Harper
Newcastle United
Sheffield United
Ryan Taylor
Kyle Walker
Chris Morgan

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