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"If anyone had told me that I would have two goals in my first two home games," said Birmingham City striker Dwight Yorke with a grin, "I think I would have settled for that."


There is an old football adage about players returning to haunt their former clubs. Apparently, it holds true for their past managers as well.

Yorke's incisive first half strike upset a flying start by visiting Newcastle United, led by his former Blackburn Rovers boss Graeme Souness, as the teams played to a battling 2-2 English Premier League draw. It was a game with something for everyone to savour and frown at.

If Souness was displeased his former player had ruffled Newcastle's feathers, Birmingham manager Steve Bruce also noted with irony that Nicky Butt, who got Newcastle's equaliser, should have been in his team's dark blue shirt.

"To think he sat here just 15 months ago," said Bruce in the post-match press conference, shaking his head mournfully.

Butt, who was deemed surplus to requirements at Manchester United last season, was pursued by Bruce but chose Newcastle instead.

"They were some nice twists today," said Bruce, with a woeful smile.

The first occurred on Emile Heskey's ankle, after just nine minutes, and was the cue for Yorke to enter the fray as a replacement for the lone striker.

Newcastle were already leading through a 3rd minute item from Jermaine Jenas' item and Yorke was unhappy about the way he got on the field.

"I did not come here to sit on the bench," said Yorke. The former Trinidad and Tobago international needed just less than 15 minutes to make his point more forcibly. Birmingham playmaker David Dunn-another Souness discard-released Yorke from his markers with a clever threaded pass and the striker waited until he saw the whites of Newcastle goalie Shay Given's eyes before driving through his legs for the equaliser.

Yorke might have snatched a double in the 35th minute as he shaped to meet a right side Damian Johnson cross only to be knocked off his feet by Robert Elliott in the opposing penalty area.

"It looked a push," said Bruce.

Referee Howard Webb looked the other way. Webb did offer a free kick, ten minutes into the second half, for a foul on Jesper Gronkjaer at the left touchline and Matthew Upson headed home Robbie Savage's delivery from point blank range.

Birmingham have managed just one win from seven outings this season and yesterday was the first time they got more than a single goal in a match.

"You are not sing-ing, you're not sing-ing, you're not singing anymore!"

The Birmingham fans taunted their Newcastle guests.

The celebrations proved premature.

In the 66th minute, Butt met a weak headed clearance with a spectacular scissors kick from on top of the area that flew to the left of Birmingham goalie Maik Taylor to tie scores at two goals apiece.

There were some late scares from either team as Dunn and Yorke both threatened for Birmingham while an audacious 40-yard free kick from Newcastle winger Laurent Robert rebounded off the heel of the post.

"I almost s**t myself," said a laughing Bruce, as he recalled Robert's effort with a bit too much candour.

Souness, who was reportedly chosen by Newcastle after Bruce declined the post, was in a pricklier mode.

"Anyone with any semblance of intelligence would know that we have come here after a very difficult week in terms of travelling," Souness told the reporters, "and there is no way we could have been at our best."

It must be reassuring to know that anyone who disagrees with your opinion lacks anything resembling common sense.

Straightforward but generally polite and approachable, Souness knows the pressure of leading such an ambitious club and Yorke was happy to add to his discomfort.

"Of course you are aware of who is sitting on that bench and you want to do well," said Yorke, when asked about the emotions of playing against a former employer. "But, in the end, it is beside the point because it just about trying to get three points "I am happy with my form so far although it is a bit hard coming off the bench. But I will continue to work hard for my place." A Premiership point apiece for Bruce and Souness at the final whistle. And another made in style by Yorke to both men.