Ba rules out set­ting tar­gets af­ter Toon hat-trick

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - Sport football - Damian Spell­man HAT-TRICK HERO:

NEW­CAS­TLE striker Demba Ba is not set­ting him­self any tar­gets af­ter launch­ing his ca­reer on Ty­ne­side in style with a match-win­ning hat-trick.

The 26-year-old Sene­gal in­ter­na­tional, who scored seven goals in 12 Bar­clays Premier League ap­pear­ances for West Ham last sea­son, may not have been the mar­quee sign­ing the fans hoped and clam­oured for, ul­ti­mately in vain, dur­ing the sum­mer trans­fer win­dow.

How­ever, af­ter a slow start by the stan­dards he had set him­self at Up­ton Park, Ba be­lat­edly an­nounced his ar­rival with a tre­ble in Satur­day’s 3-1 home vic­tory over Black­burn which ex­tended the Mag­pies’ un­beaten start to the cam­paign to eight games in all com­pe­ti­tions.

That took him level with lead­ing scorer Leon Best, but the former Hof­fen­heim front­man in­sisted he has not set him­self a mark to reach be­fore the end of the cam­paign.

Ba said: “I just want to have good per­for­mances and score goals. That’s what makes me happy. I have a com­pe­ti­tion against my­self.

“It’s been a good day af­ter a lot of work and a lot of bad per­for­mances and now to­day, the work just paid off for me.

“I was not fit at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son and now af­ter six games, I am start­ing to get my sharp­ness back, and I am just go­ing to keep on work­ing to have it 100 per cent for the next weeks.

“You feel happy. I have scored my first goal here this sea­son and I just hope it is go­ing to keep on go­ing.”

Man­ager Alan Pardew never doubted Ba’s abil­ity in front of goal, but was con­vinced that the ef­fects of the player’s fast­ing dur­ing Ra­madan had left him fight­ing for full fit­ness.

How­ever, Ba re­vealed Pardew had re­peat­edly as­sured him that he would get his op­por­tu­nity when he was ready.

He said: “He al­ways told me that when I was fit, I would get my chance and it was up to me to take it or leave it.”

Ba had al­ready drilled a lon­grange shot over Paul Robin­son’s cross­bar when he fired New­cas­tle ahead with 27 min­utes gone.

In per­haps the best of his three fin­ishes, he con­trolled Best’s driven cross be­fore turn­ing de­fender Scott Dann and thump­ing a right­footed shot into the back of the net. Ba said: “To tell you the truth, the ball was for Leon. I just wanted to give it back to Leon be­cause he was in a good po­si­tion as well.

“I haven’t seen the pic­tures yet, but I don’t think any­body touched it and the ball went into the goal, so I am very happy with that.”

He dou­bled his tally within three min­utes with a sim­ple close-range header af­ter Steven Tay­lor had helped Danny Simp­son’s cross back across the penalty area, and com­pleted his hat-trick nine min­utes af­ter the restart.

Che­ick Tiote’s deep cross al­lowed Ba to climb at the far post and loop a header over Robin­son with Best fail­ing to get a de­ci­sive touch as he col­lided with Dann and Robin­son on the line, although not il­le­gally in the view of ref­eree Martin Atkin­son.

Rovers, how­ever, took a dif­fer­ent view and mid­fielder Martin Ols­son was booked for his protests, a cau­tion which proved costly 20 min­utes from time when he was yel­low-carded for a sec­ond time

It’s been a good day af­ter a lot of work and a lot of bad per­for­mances. Demba Ba, New­cas­tle striker on his

up­turn in for­tunes for United.

for a cyn­i­cal trip on Best.

The vis­i­tors had given them­selves hope eight min­utes be­fore half-time when Ju­nior Hoi­lett had blasted home af­ter Mauro Formica and Ols­son had cap­i­talised on an er­ror by Ryan Tay­lor, but Ols­son failed to make the most of two sec­ond-half Michel Sal­gado crosses as their hopes were ex­tin­guished.

Vic­tory main­tained New­cas­tle’s fourth place in the ta­ble just a point adrift of Chelsea in third, but sent Black­burn back into the bot­tom three and dis­si­pated the op­ti­mism fos­tered by last week­end’s vic­tory over Arse­nal.

Man­ager Steve Kean, who cited the con­tro­versy over Ba’s third goal as the turn­ing point in the game, was nev­er­the­less de­fi­ant.

He said: “It’s a dis­ap­point­ing re­sult be­cause we felt pos­i­tive, we felt we could come here to­day and get some­thing.

“The way we came back into the game and the way we started the sec­ond half, we were pos­i­tive.

“That checks the mo­men­tum we have built up from beat­ing Ar senal and then get­ting through to the next round of the Car­ling Cup, but we will get back on the train­ing ground.

“We will see how the in­juries are be­cause near the end of the game, (Gael) Givet had to stay on in­jured, Sal­gado had to stay on in­jured and we ended up with young Ja­son Lowe hav­ing to play at left-back, so it was tough near the end, he said.

Sun­der­land boss Steve Bruce will re­turn to Nor­wich City tonight know­ing the les­son he learnt there 27 years ago re­mains just as rel­e­vant to­day.

Bruce en­dured a dis­as­trous de­but for the Ca­naries when he scored a first-minute own goal against Liver­pool on the open­ing day of the 1984-85 sea­son af­ter his move from Gilling­ham, but went on to pick up a win­ners’ medal in the League Cup fi­nal that sea­son.

The cen­tral de­fender spent three and a half years at Car­row Road be­fore his form alerted Manch­ester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson to his prow­ess, and the rest is his­tory.

That re­vival of for­tunes was not lost on Bruce as he con­tem­plated his re­turn hav­ing guided Sun­der­land to a 4-0 vic­tory over Stoke last Sun­day amid spec­u­la­tion that his time at the Sta­dium of Light could be draw­ing to a close.

He said: “In my first game for Nor­wich, I scored an own goal af­ter 30 sec­onds – it was against Liver­pool at home – and I think I scored a sec­ond own goal as well about 22 min­utes later.

“I think they were call­ing for my head that day as well – ‘Who’s this clown we have bought here from Gilling­ham? Get him back to Gilling­ham’.

“Six months later, we were win­ning the cup against Sun­der­land, iron­i­cally, at Wem­b­ley.

“I had gone from the third divi­sion to play­ing in the first divi­sion, as it was then, so for that, I will al­ways be grate­ful to Nor­wich.”

PIC­TURE: OWEN HUMPHREYS/PA

New­cas­tle’s Demba Ba cel­e­brates his sec­ond goal at St James’ Park to the de­light of man­ager Alan Pardew, in­set.

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