GOAL hero Shola Ameobi was thankful for helping Newcastle United maintain their “momentum” in their push for Europe after his last-gasp strike rescued a point.
Ameobi was hailed as a modern-day Newcastle “legend” by Alan Pardew after he notched his 11th goal in Tyne-Wear derbies to level a remarkable game St James’ Park.
However, he was remaining as humble as ever when asked to reflect on his contribution to the 146th North East derby. He said: “It has been a mad week. I have not been able to train with sickness and I was not expecting to be involved.
“For some reason I tend to score in these games and it is a fantastic feeling – for myself, for the fans and for the club.
“We want to keep the momentum going – they made it tough for us.
“I managed to come off the bench and grab another goal, it is just great for us.”
Pardew had thought about bringing on Ameobi at half-time but, due to his flu-like bug, opted to leave it until 72 minutes to introduce him.
He won a penalty and scored the late goal, enough to justify the faith of his manager. Ameobi said: “When you come on as a striker of course you want to get on the score sheet. I have started a lot of these games so coming off the bench was a new experience for me.
“We were a goal down and the manager said to me ‘go and get the goal.’ I duly obliged and it was just fantastic.
“Unfortunately, we did not get the winner – we had a lot of chances but we are delighted to get that.”
Ameobi felt the way Newcastle battled until the end was evidence of their fighting spirit – battling qualities which have served the Magpies well in their remarkable campaign so far.
He added: “They were better in the first half. They came here with a great game plan, but the second half it was all us.
“After Sessegnon was sent off we were able to take the game to them.
“At the end there we could have nicked it but take nothing away from their guys, they have defended well and we could not break them down more than once.
“It was quite an even game but, with the second-half performance we have had, we showed a lot of grit and bottle to come out in front of our fans one goal down and still fighting.
“That is something we have shown all season, that inner belief to show we can get a result.”