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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Late Goals Sink 'Castle Title Hopes

LONDON -- Newcastle's English championship hopes were dealt a body blow when it crashed 2-1 at Blackburn, while Manchester United kept to its winning ways with a 1-0 defeat of Coventry.


Graham Fenton, who ironically comes from the Newcastle area, struck two goals in the last four minutes on Monday for the Rovers to cancel out David Batty's 76th minute opener against his former club.


Manchester's Eric Cantona scored his seventh goal in eight games in the 47th minute to move United to 73 points with four matches to play. Newcastle has 67 with five games remaining.


Batty appeared to have repaid all Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan's faith in him with a sensational shot 14 minutes from time. The $5.72 million February signing from Blackburn drilled home a left-foot shot from 20 meters for only his second goal in three years.


But with just four minutes left, substitute Fenton was on hand to ram in the equalizer off Shaka Hislop following a Darren Peacock deflection.


Then, with the clock showing exactly 90 minutes and Newcastle throwing everything forward, an Alan Shearer-led attack again finished with the ball at Fenton's feet, the 21-year-old slotting home with real composure to hand Newcastle its fifth defeat in eight games.


After the match Keegan vowed defiance,but his words betrayed a fatalistic sense of impending doom.


"If it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be," said Keegan wistfully. "The dressing room was pretty quiet afterwards. We'll continue to fight though. We have to believe that United will slip up somewhere. You never know, there might be another twist to help us, stranger things have happened."


The title had looked all but certain when Newcastle were 12 points ahead in January, but now Keegan shrugged and accepted Newcastle's destiny was no longer in its own hands. "The players will learn more from what's happened this season than they could from reading all the books about football."


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In the Dutch first division, Peter Hoekstra, transferred from PSV Eindhoven to Ajax in mid-season, scored the equalizer which gave Ajax a 1-1 draw at PSV.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)