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Newcastle United
August 23, 2012
Posted by Marc Duffy on 08/23/2012

Our five year wait for European football ended tonight with a 1 v 1 draw in Athens against Atromitos.

It was 38C during the day in the Greek capital and the temperature barely dropped approaching the 2000 local kick off time.

Alan Pardew surprised a few by including Papiss Cisse in the starting XI. There was a shock start for 212 year old Steve Harper too, 16 months since he last started a game for the Mags. Before the game he joked that some of the lads have started calling him 'cocoon' because of it!

17 year old local lad Adam Campbell had been rumoured to make a start, but he had to make do with a spot on the bench.

Anita and Bigirimana, who from my perspective looked like twins during the game, also made their first starts since signing for the club.

Lineup:
Krul, Tavernier, Perch, Williamson, R.Taylor, Bigirimana, Anita, Marveaux (Gutierrez 70), Obertan, Gosling (Amalfitano 64), Cisse (Campbell 77).
Unused Subs : Krul, Santon, Cabaye, S.Taylor.


The first 20 minutes of the game were largely unremarkable with the heat clearly having an impact on the pace and style of the game. We kept possession well without ever really looking to threaten. There were a lot of short balls between the midfield and the back four.

Twenty minutes in, a deep cross from Tavernier out from the right exposed Itandje as he tried to gather it with one hand! This led to a number of aerial assaults throughout the game be it from corners, open play and throw ins.

August 21, 2012
Posted by Marc Duffy on 08/21/2012

Newcastle lineup:
Krul, Simpson, Perch, S.Taylor, Santon, Tiote, Cabaye (Anita 71), Gutierrez, Ben Arfa, Ba (Obertan 85), Cisse.

Tottenham lineup:
Friedel, Walker, Kaboul, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Bale, Sigurdsson (Van der Vaart 68), Livermore, Sandro (Kane 85), Defoe.

Premier League football returned to a sunny St James' Park on Saturday afternoon and it was a dream start to the season for the home side with three points bagged.

There had been fitness doubts surrounding Ben Arfa and Cabaye before the game but both players were in the starting lineup. Coloccini missed out through injury and was surprisingly replaced by James Perch with Mike Williamson only taking up a spot on the bench.

For Spurs AVB surprisingly opted to start with Gallas ahead of summer signing Vertonghen.

January 21, 2012
Posted by Marc Duffy on 01/21/2012

One change for Fulham at the half. Ruiz, who looked like a fish out of water in the centre of midfield, is replaced by Baird who will also be playing out of position but is much more defensively minded.

I fully expect Fulham to show a lot more in the second half.

51 - Goal Fulham. 1 - 1. Yet again a Premier League referee and his assistant display total ineptitude. A foul on petulant Damien outside of the box is given as a penalty and Murphy scores it. Bloody terrible and these things happen EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Sian Massey made the call, but I'd better not say too much about her abilities or I may be deemed a sexist......

Why do they pay referee's? What a waste of money. You could pick any one of this 20,000 crowd out and they couldn't make decisions that were worse than that one. Fulham now on the front foot.

56 - their first corner of the match, Krul saves well from Zamora and a second shot goes wide for a corner off Colo. From the second corner Zamora takes a ridiculous dive in the area. He might as well with these people in charge.

58 - Goal Fulham. 2 - 1. Dempsey scores - Johnson slips in Zamora, Zamora takes the defence out, Dempsey bundles it in.

You couldn't get a better example of how an incorrect referee decision can completely turn the tide of a football game. Not good enough. As you can probably tell, I am seething.

Poor decisions aside, this also highlights the need to convert you're chances whilst you are hot. 60% possession is all well and good, but if you only score one then you are always in danger,

64 - Goal Fulham. 3 v 1 Dempsey again. Good goal. We have collapsed like a house of cards. Very, very worrying and pretty pathetic.

66 - Penalty Fulham. Williamson tried his best to wipe Johnson out, Krul succeeded in doing so. Clear penalty. Krul booked. Zamora scores it and it is 4 v 1. I thought this Newcastle side was a team built on heart and spirit? This is an embarrassment. Four goals in 16 minutes.

Fulham in the first 45 were one of the poorest sides I have seen in years. In this half our players have let the first penalty decision get to them so much that we are now making them look like Real Madrid. This is not good enough.

72 - Ameobi goal quite rightly ruled out for off-side.

We are also making Andy Johnson look like Diego freakin Maradona. ANDY JOHNSON.

75 - Guthrie off Perch on. The comeback is imminent. Strange sub that - Perch is an out-and-out defensive minded player so unless there is another change to follow soon, looks like we are going to play to keep it at 1 v 4?


We have been a revelation this season and we have definitely over achieved, but there are some supporters out there who are absolutely convinced that we will finish above Arsenal and Liverpool whilst challenging Chelsea for a top 4 slot. The fact that we have shipped 8 goals away to Fulham and Norwich should put a swift end to that chat. 7th will be an achievement.

It has proven to be very difficult for me to write this without multiple swear words.

83 - Cabaye off, Gosling on.

At least the lads can save themselves for their nice break to the Canary Islands.

84 - GOAL, Ben Arfa, excellent consolation goal. 4 v 2.

84 - Best off, Ryan Taylor on. Didn't see a great deal from Leon today.

Dempsey hat-trick, 5 v 2. WOEFUL defending. No point in finger pointing, but we definitely need someone to come in and challenge Williamson at CB. When the going has gotten tough today, far too many players have gone missing.

FULL TIME: 5 v 2

Krul 5 A little harsh as he had little help, but his penalty concession was rash
Simpson 5 Standard Simmo
Santon 4 Excellent up until the point that he hauled Johnson back at the end of the first half
Colo 4 All over in the second half. Missed a great chance in the first half too
Williamson 4 Very poor
Guthrie 6 Great goal, went missing when it mattered
Cabaye 5 Less influential than normal
Jonas 5 Excellent in the forst half, especially through th middle. Also disappeared
Ben Arfa 6 Great goal and dangerous at times.
Best 4 If he is not scoring from close range, he doesn't offer anything.
Ameobi 5 Won a few flick ons.

In summary:
Very, very weird. We were outstanding in the first half - one of the best away 45's that I've seen from us, however as I noted in the 1st half summary, 60% possession is all well and good, but if you only score the one, you are never safe. If we had taken a two goal lead in to the break a poor Fulham team would never have recovered.

Anyone who knows football knows that one incident can change the entire pattern and momentum of a match. Sadly that was the case today with Sian Massey awarding a penalty for a foul that was outside of the area. After that our collapse was absolutely pathetic. Yes, the decision instigated it, but a team with true ability and heart (and a Tiote) would not have succumbed so easily to such a poor side.

Disappointing.

And just when I thought I couldn't dislike Duff anymore than I already did.

The true test of character will come next time out.......


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The Gaffa © Getty Images

Posted by Marc Duffy on 01/21/2012

A difficult game today - we have a very poor recent record down at the Cottage.

A definite boost to our chances with Cabaye being declared fit shortly before kick off. Fulham have won three of their last four at home too, so I would be happy to take a point.

Teams:

FFC: Stockdale, Riise, Hangeland, Senderos, Kelly, Dempsey, Sidwell, Murphy, Petulant Damien, Zamora, Ruiz

NUFC: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Colo (C), Santon, Ben Arfa, Jonas, Cabaye, Guthrie, Shola Ameobi, Best

1 - Cabaye shoots from 25 yards, easily gathered by Stockdale, but a positive opening.

2 - Stockdale hoofed the ball down field and the wind carried it so far that it pretty much looked like a long range shot! Krul then kicks into the wind and it holds up, so we need to keep the ball on the floor today.

8 - Very quiet, not a great atmosphere and not a lot happening on the field of play!

Apparently Capello is in the ground today to watch Stockdale and Zamora. And people think England stand a fighting chance in the Euro's?!

11 - A long ball forward glanced on by Shola. For a moment Senderos seemed uncertain which penalty area he was in and knocked it wide for a corner. The corner ends up with a shot from Shola again straight at Stockdale.

16 - This is a dog of a game so far. Not much to report. You would have expected Fulham to have more pressure than they have in front of their own fans early on, but we are containing them well.

17 - Jonas with a good break forward, beats two, lays off to Hatem who skins Senderos and shoots - Stockdale saves well. Good football.

Senderos is terrible. He is pretty much a spare man because of our shape but on the odd ocassion that he brings the ball out, he seems to look to pass to row 2 of the stands.

20 - Jonas whips in a good cross, Shola heads over. Decent chance. We look the more likely at the moment.

Zamora can only get better! So far if he hasn't been off-side he has displayed a touch Titus Bramble would be proud of.

I haven't seen much of Fulham this season - do they always play this massive hoof to Zamora and hope for the best, or are they just trying to use the wind to their advantage?

24 - Fulham shoot, easily saved by Krul. Met by ironic cheers from the home fans!

26 - Demonstrating his absolutely basic natural ability, Sidwell flies in on Santon on the touchline. The ref has a word but no card is shown.

27 - Senderos again. Comedy. Is he going to head it? No? Yes - he does totally confusing his own keeper. Corner. Ends with a mis-struck shot from Ben Arfa.

29 - Another Cabaye shot. We are totally dominating now in terms or possession - it would be nice to capitalise on this.

34 - More pressure piling on and the best chance of the game falls to Colo who headers straight at Stockdale. That should have been the lead. We MUST make the most of this because there is no way Fulham at home will be this bad for 90 minutes.

37 - FULHAM SUB: Sidwell injured earlier by bumping into Shola the Beast. Andy Johnson comes on - he has done pretty well v us in the past.

We are totally dominating through the midfield, and that area has been weakened for Fulham with them having to drop Ruiz back in there. I do worry about our lack of forward quality though.

41 - Good strike from Shola and another decent save by Stockdale. Ben Arfa to take the corner which I can only hope is better than his regular efforts. It isn't.

GGGGGGGGGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! 42 - Ruiz tries to run the ball out of midfield, he is robbed and Guthrie absolutely lashes one home. Guthrie likes a shot but thats his first league goal in ten months. Great strike.

45 - Johnson breaks, Santon fouls him on the half way line stopping him from breaking clear. Could have been a red, but the fact he still had 50 yards to travel obviously plays a part as Santon only sees yellow!

HALF TIME and BBBOOOOOOs ring out at the cottage.

1 v 0 to NUFC!


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October 31, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 10/31/2011

Well, it is not over yet.

I can't imagine that Stoke will be as poor in this half.

46 - Best catches Upson with his left arm and free kick Stoke. I only add that in in the interests of equality!

52 - Mix up between Cabaye and Krul leads to a Stoke corner. Huth heads over - one of their better chances but again, the lads did well to put Huth under a lot of pressure.

54 - Steve Taylor gives away a free kick. Kick swung in, Taylor heads behind for a Stoke corner that comes to nothing.

There is very little mobility in this Stoke side, the wide men apart. Lots of power, but little pace and agility. Even then the wide men are massively restricted by the ridiculously small pitch.

58 - Stoke come the closest to scoring that they have all night from (yawn) a Delap throw.

Stoke have been much more dangerous so far in the second half, which is natural. We look prepared to sit back and soak up the pressure which is a gamble. If they nick one the crowd will wake up and it's game on.

Trapattoni said that he doesn't pick Leon Best because he's lazy. Utter nonsense. Quite the opposite.

61 - Stoke corner, Simpson nips in ahead of Crouch to head behind for another corner. This one is aimed at Upson but he headers wide under pressure from Ba.

63 - Ryan Taylor floored again whilst bravely winning a header. This one thanks to Huth's elbow - he made no effort to play the ball at all.

64 - Walters tries to find Pennant out right, but again Jonas is in covering and clears. Outstanding. Jonas is single handedly inventing a new position on the football pitch - left back + 1 yard.

68 - Etherington off, Jones on for Stoke. Could be difficult for us. I have no idea why Pulis didn't start him given how he tore us apart at our place last season.

We are making great us of the Stoke City pitch side towels in this second half!

It looks like James Perch is coming on. Good luck to the lad, but this worries me.

73 - Colo headers off the line. Crouch dives in the aftermath after the slightest bit of contact from Ba. Penalty. Disgraceful call, he went down in instalments. Walters scores the penalty, 1 v 2 with 16 left.

77 - Cabaye off, James Perch on?!?!?!?! Strange one that. Perch is booked within a couple of seconds. I'm guessing Pardew really doesn't rate Gosling.

The Stoke fans are getting pretty wound up when we dry the ball with the towel and Pulis is having a word with the 4th official. Are they for real?

79 - Playing them at their own game, Raylor throws a long one in and Best is pushed at the back post. Unlike Crouch, he keeps his feet but it's still a pen......

81 - HATTRICKDEMBABA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3 v 1

82 - Ba finds Obertan out wide - he shoots just wide of the keepers right hand post. Unlucky but he should have taken it earlier.

83 - "There's only one Alan Pardew" rings out from the away end.

86 - Leon Best off, Sam Ameobi on. Well played Leon, up there to lend Demba a hand all night long.

87 - Good burst from Walters, ball out to Jones and an excellent sliding tackle from Perch.

87 - It kicks off and Huth is in the middle of it - he took Krul out after the whistle. What a surprise.

89 - Ball played out to Pennant and he is brilliantly tracked by Coloccini. Another outstanding performance from a top class Captain.

91 - Guthrie off, Gosling on. Well played Danny lad - superb graft. Terrible barnet mind.

92 - Crouch slices one up in the air. He is absolutely terrible that bloke. The modern day Kevin Francis.

95 - Now it is Danny Simpson injured in his own penalty area by a hefty challenger from Walters.

Full time - Stoke City 1 v Demba Ba 3

Summary

Absolutely top class performance. If someone had told me that tonight would end 3 v 1, I'd have assumed we would be on the wrong end of it.

Our work rate was exceptional - we out-Stoked Stoke and added some attacking flair into the mix.

Coloccini, Jonas, Ryan Taylor, Demba Ba - they were superb and there were no weak links.

That result takes us up to 3rd after 10 games - and thoroughly deserved. Pundits - have we played anyone yet?.........

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Posted by Marc Duffy on 10/31/2011

Happy Halloween and mackem Slaughter Anniversary.

A very tough game in store for us tonight has been made even tougher by the pre-match news that Cheick Tiote misses out through injury and will be replaced by Danny Guthrie. In terms of playing styles, this is one of the worst fixtures that it could have happened for.

Both of the other injury doubts, Steve Taylor (broken nose) and Leon Best (tonsillitis) are good to go, so we line up:

Krul, Simpson, Raylor, Saylor, Colo (C), Guthrie, Cabaye, Jonas, Obertan, Ba, Best

Former Mag Jonathan Woodgate starts for Stoke.

A win would see us climb up into third, though Stoke are unbeaten at home so it wont be easy. Let's not forget how tough a fixture this was for us last season, but we have bettered most like-for-like fixtures this year so far vs last, so you never know.....

1 - CORNER: Obertan's pass is deflected behind by Pennant. You see them lining up in the 18 yard box and it quickly becomes obvious how big a side Stoke have. Headed out for another corner - Cabaye crosses into the box, cleared out and a decent effort from Ryan Taylor goes wide. The 250th game of his career.....

3 - A Delap long-hoy. It looks like Ba is picking up Shawcross - I don't fancy our odds on that one.

4 - Colo brushes skin-headed Walters head and Walters hits the deck like a small child, looks to the linesman, gets nothing so jumps up and waves a finger at Colo.

Roberto Mancini is in the crowd wearing one of the worst scarf's that I have ever seen in my life.

I know Obertan has yet to convince many Newcastle fans, me included, but this is the type of game that he could really prove his worth. His pace on the break could help to relieve the pressure

12 - GGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLDemba Ba! Long ball from Krul, headed on by Best, superb ball in from the right delivered by Obertan and headed home by Ba. He cups his ear to the boo boys! 1 v 0.

16 - More boos for Demba. Booing him because the club wouldn't sign him so he went to West Ham instead! He responded in the perfect way a few minutes ago!

17 - A howler from Shawcross as he falls over under no pressure. Ba nicks the ball but Begovic comes out quickly and does well. Shawcross limps off like a 12 year old who has just made a silly error in the playground.

18 - It seems I have been a bit harsh on Shawcross - he's been subbed. Upson on. He has had some shockers vs us in the past so let's hope that continues.

Jonas doesn't look too keen to hang on to the ball so far. I wonder if he is worried about getting roughed up?!

22 - Rory Delap's fourth or fifth long throw from the right. I'm not even sure he has touched it with his feet yet.....

24 - Superb ball over the top from Cabaye looking for Ba. Begovic again does brilliantly coming off his line quickly - get those ones wrong and you are in big trouble.

28 - Another Delap throw from the right. Stoke are very effective at what they do, but it can be a tough watch.

29 - A cross from the right that Krul, under no pressure, should take easily but he drops it behind for a corner. If he had been more central it might well have been an OG. We are under quite a bit of pressure.

I do like that black strip. Might have to buy one.

33 - Only 2 shots in the entire game so far, both from us. 1 on target.

35 - Another long throw from Delap, cleared, long range shot from Etherington easily saved by Krul.

It looks like Wilson might be coming off for Huth. This used to happen to us regularly when we played in Europe every year - the number of sprains and strains that our players picked up was ridiculous.

38 - Cabaye has given away a free kick on the corner of our area. Etherington finds Pennant but he's well covered.

Further to my earlier comment on Jonas - he has yet again proved how helpful he is defensively.

39 - GOLGOLGOLGOLGOLGOLGOLGOLGOLGOLGOLGOL and it is wor Demba again. Left footed diagonal cross from Captain Colo, Besty brings it down well, miscues his shot but Demba slots home!

41 - Wilson off, Huth on. A second later Stoke swing in a great corner and a scramble ends with the ball in Krul's hands.

Nanananananana na na na, Demba Demba Ba, Demba Ba, Demba Demba Ba

44 - Ryan Taylor, who has played very well so far, is left flat out on the floor after a heavy challenge from Walters. It looks quite serious. He finally gets to his feet and will see out the half.

49 - Wilkinson gifts the ball to Best (they've done that a few times tonight), Best shoots wide from distance. Decent effort.

HALF TIME: STOKE CITY 0 DEMBA BA 2
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October 18, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 10/18/2011

What a start to the season. The boys are doing us proud.

A lot has been written about our superb start and many media pundits claimed before last weeks 2 v 2 draw with Tottenham that “Newcastle haven’t played anyone yet.” Utter nonsense. We have played 5 out of last seasons top 10 so far.

So how do we literally compare vs. Last season on (and off) the pitch?

Here are a couple of head-to-head result and attendance statistics comparing this season to last, further highlighting how much improvement looks to have been made on the pitch:


Alan Pardew
September 17, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 09/17/2011

One thought as I looked through the options from the bench during the half time break – if Steve Taylor or Colo take a knock we could end up with a back four of Simpson, Perch, R Taylor and Colo/ S Taylor. That is a very worrying prospect. Surely Kadar on the bench would be a safer option?

I wouldn’t mind seeing Marveaux get some extended playing time in the final 45. Maybe Sam Ameobi too.

46 – Ball played into Agbonlahor’s feet. He easily brushes Simpson off the ball, swivels and shoots wide. Most of the ground thought it was 2 v 0.

49 – The linesman gives a free kick for an imaginary foul on Bannan. Fortunately Krul takes it easily.

52 – Tiote robbed by Bent 25 yards from goal – he really needs to stop lingering on the ball. Fortunately S Taylor and Colo mop up and clear the danger.

55 – Tiote caught in possession on the half way line – Bent breaks and crosses but Krul again claims easily.

56 – One of these days Cabaye is going to score a world class goal – Obertan plays a sideways pass and his lash is saved by Given.

56 – GGGOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL
Leon Best! Fantastic cross in by Tiote from the left. Besty gets his nut on it, Given saves but Leon knocks in the rebound. 1 v 1 and more than deserved.
I might be wrong with this stat, but I am sure that is Bestys 9th goal in 13 league starts.

60 – The heavens have opened and it is pouring down! I wonder if that will have any impact on the game.

62 – Petrov booked for a foul on Best 25 yards from goal. It looks like that one has hurt our goal scorer. RT lines it up and this time it is Ryan Taylor over the wall. Unfortunately its over the cross bar too.

66 – Demba Ba has looked pretty good today. He collects the ball, dummies smartly and strikes a shot that Given saves.

67 – Bannan and Petrov off, Ireland and Albrighton on. The Villa fans aren’t impressed so they aim a few BOOOO’s at the former Birmingham gaffa. A few boo’s from the away end aimed at Ireland too. One of the most pointless signings in Newcastle United history and there have been a few!

68 – Best off, Shola on. Leon clearly didn’t recover from the injury sustained when Petrov was booked.

71 – Steve Taylor miscues and Bent is through. Krul rushes from his line and Bent lobs him but it’s a poor effort that Steve Taylor gets back in to clear.

74 – Flashes of lightening overhead and it looks like a storm is brewing. I assume this is the result of a microclimate caused by having two Ameobi’s so close together.

76 – N’Zogbia skips past a couple of players and whips the ball across the area. Well defended.

78 – Cabaye over runs the ball and loses it. Tiote then cuts out a through ball but plays it straight to Albrighton who shoots wide of Krul’s left hand post.

79 – Ba off, Marveaux on. Ba can be pleased with his efforts today. He is improving and looking a bit more like the player I was expecting.

80 – N’Zogbia plays a short corner to Albrighton who crosses and Krul does well to punch clear under pressure.

82 – A long throw from Ryan Taylor is chested down by Shola and well struck at goal by Cabaye. Given saves, though I don’t think it would have stood as there was a whistle.

85 – Jonas off, Sam Ameobi on. Bent off, Delfonueso on. Bent had two superb chances and blew both of them. That’s why he’s not England class.

85 – Another cracking strike from Cabaye and it ends with something I have seen hundreds of times before – a phenomenal Shay Given save!

86 – Sam Ameobi netted a brilliant goal chipping Given from a very difficult angle way out left. Unfortunately play was stopped for yet another Villa free kick but it looked good all the same!

89 – Obertan absolutely skins Warnock knocking the ball round him one way and chasing after it around the other. It doesn’t come to anything but it was a nice bit of skill.

90 – Marveaux plays the ball to Cabaye who opts to shoot from the angle when there were players lining up for the pass! I will let him off though, he’s been brilliant today.

In summary:
A very, very encouraging performance. We totally bossed the game and Cabaye was once again outstanding. Admittedly it wasn’t the most exciting game I’ve ever seen, but I wasn’t sure that we would take anything out of this so I am pleased with the point and the performance.

The crowd? 34,248 – the biggest crowd of the season at Villa Park(!) and many of them prefer booing to cheering as they demonstrated at full time.

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Posted by Marc Duffy on 09/17/2011

I enjoyed the ‘as live’ blogging that I did for the QPR game, so today will be much of the same with a half time match report posted and then a full time second half report uploaded when the game is over.

Tough game at Villa Park today. I know they are no great shakes, but our recent record down there is poor. They have a lot of pace in attack which is something that we struggled to cope with at Loftus Road on Monday night – lets hope we can keep a clean sheet again today as we did then.

Starting lineup:
Shola apparently has a slight knock so is downgraded to the bench.

Newcastle legend Shay Given keeps goal for the home team. N’Zogbia starts too.

Krul, Simpson, R Taylor, Colo ©, S Taylor, Tiote, Cabaye, Jonas, Obertan, Best Ba

First observation – empty seats. Very poor fans these. There can’t be more than little over 30,000 in the ground.

5 – Quiet start from both. Newcastle look quite settled and the first chance of the game is a lash from Cabaye that looked like it might sneak in, but it snuck wide of Given’s post.

8 – Best fouled by N’Zogbia. Ryan Taylor has a lash but this time fails to get it over the wall!

13 – GOAL: 1 v 0 to Villa. The ball comes off Colo and falls perfectly for Agbonlahor who finished well. Krul had no chance. Against the run of play. Colo could probably have been tighter to the Villa man and certainly should have been stronger. Agbonlahor’s third of the season.

15 – Bannan takes a lash with his left foot and it is not far away at all.

23 – Through ball to Ba who was flagged off side. He caught Given on the wrist in the incident. Given seems OK, but one to watch.

24 – Newcastle look short on ideas again as Tiote and Simpson repeatedly knock the ball between each other leading to the inevitable hoof. Best mis-controlled, Villa broke and Darren Bent misses an absolutely brilliant chance to make it two.

26 – Corner – Cabaye swings the ball outwards, Taylor does very well to get a shot on target saved by Given. Comes back out to Taylor but there’s little he can do with it. Goal kick.
28 – Cabaye slips a ball through to Leon Best. He’s off side – the first of many I’m sure.

29 – Petrov takes a pot shot from about 35 yards. Not too far away.

30 – Ball into the box from Simpson, flicked on from Best and falls to Jonas who lashes wildly high and wide.

So far this is panning out as I fear many games might this season. We have played well, but there is an obvious lack of cutting edge in the final third.

32 – Steve Taylor clears with a header and Obertan breaks. Ball is played into Ba who swivels and shoots. Deflected for a corner. Not a lot achieved from the resulting corner.

33 – Ryan Taylor beats his man and whips it in left footed. Corner off Petrov. Cabaye takes a great corner right across the area but Obertan puts it wide with no conviction at all. Again – no cutting edge.

Despite trailing it is the away fans generating all of the noise – as you would expect. They’d have a lot more to sing about if we had a striker.

40 – Fifth corner of the half for us. Cabaye crosses, headed clear.

We are dominating possession and a lot of it is in dangerous areas. Villa, true to the McLeish way of football, are relying on long hoofs in the direction of Bent aiming to get in behind.

Half time and we trail 1 v 0. We have been by far the better team and as much as I hate to repeat myself, if we had a goal scorer in the team it could be very different.

It will be interesting to see how we come out in the second half. It will be difficult for Pardew to keep the lads heads up as it is frustrating enough watching, let alone playing. If we can maintain this performance we should sneak a goal, somehow.

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September 12, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 09/12/2011

Well here we go for round two. I still think we can win it!
No half time changes from either side. I know I would have.

45 – It took QPR all of 25 seconds to get their first shot at goal of the half. Easy take for Krul.

46 – Shola pulled back by Ferdinand on the edge of the area after Jonas loops a ball over. The officials missed it and then Paddy Kenny fell over like an idiot.

Can we not get Shola to envisage Ferdinand in a mackem shirt?

48 – Cross in from Danny Simpson, Best gets half a head to it and JONAS…. Well you know the rest. It sort of went upwards and slightly backwards.

50 – Traore picks up an injury and is replaced by Connolly – who is ushered onto the field by Keith Curle. Where’s Tino when you need him?

Continued pressure from QPR. We are continuing the trend of HOOOOFF. I wonder what was said at half time? Not much apparently.

A scrappy period of the game and a couple of stoppages – Jonas receiving some treatment.

61 – Corner swung in from Cabaye – Kenny beats Colo to it and punches clear.

62 – Tiote booked for a foul on Barton who rolled about like those cheaters he so despises.

63 – Shola off, Ba on. Shola can just take off his top and keep it for the weekend. Probably won’t need a wash.

65 – QPR corner finds Shaun Derry. Great chance, awful technique. That’s why he hasn’t scored a goal in five years.

Our players seem terrified when the ball is at their feet. Just now (68), Danny Simpson picked up the ball just inside of the QPR half and hoofed it hard and low as far as he could into no mans land.

Since Pardew arrived we are regularly poor after long international breaks.

69 – Barton plays in Wright-Phillips (I’m going to copy & paste that name) , he looks for Bothroyd again but thankfully the big fella cant reach it again. And to think that this bloke has played for England.

Barton has been much more involved in the second half. Starting to look threatening.

72 – Derry gets his bonse to another corner but Tiote’s coverage prevents him from doing anything.

74 – The ball finds its way to Jonas 19 yards out. Another abysmal swinger from the long haired Argentinian. Look out row Z.

76 – Ball whipped in and Obertan is on the end of it. He shoulders it wide.

77 – Jonas drives on forward into the corner and pulls it back down the line to Ryan Taylor who misses the ball. Its one of those nights for him. I’d still fancy him lashing a free kick in from 25 yards though.

78 – Bothroyd off and Newcastle nemesis DJ Campbell on. Not a good thing.

80 – Ryan Taylor cross, half chance for Obertan but he headers wide.

81 – Best off for Marveaux

82 – Wright-Phillips skips past Tiote with a drop of the shoulder and curls a shot wide of the top corner.

84 – Free kick to us, 23 yards from goal. Could it be?
Nope – its Ryan Taylor, into the wall.

86 – A yellow for Steve Taylor as Paddy Kelly, looking in the opposite direction, runs straight into him.

87 – Sam Ameobi on, Obertan off.
Puncheon on, MotM Wright-Phillips off

88 – Tidy triangular football between Tiote and Marveaux ends at Ryan Taylor who, under pressure, half slices half clears it.

89 – Barton fouls Sammy in the corner but the officials don’t give it. Barton then gives him a nudge on the floor and does a bit of a square up. Big man.

Full time: Queens Park Rangers 0 v Newcastle United 0

Not pretty and very fortunate, but I will take it.
This lifts us up to fourth in the table.

Sean Wright-Phillips was the best player on the park and I’d struggle to name a standout from our lads. Steven Taylor maybe?

Joey Barton? 6/10 and asked to swap tops with Leon Best after hugging most of our players. He got a great ovation from the away end at the end with chants of “There’s only one Joey Barton”. I will never boo him nor will I ever sing his name again.

Entertaining first half, pretty poor second half for the neutrals. We need to vastly improve.

Follow me on Twitter @MarcSDuffy


Posted by Marc Duffy on 09/12/2011

OK I am writing this as the game goes on – a minute by minute account of how it goes. Lets see how this idea works out!

Krul, Simpson, R Taylor, S Taylor, Colo ©, Jonas, Cabaye, Tiote, Obertan, Shola, Best

No place for Gosling on the bench, though not yet sure why. Santon on the bench.

Barton Captaining QPR…..

2 – Decent show of pace by Obertan and his cross finds Best, who handles it. QPR free kick, but encouraging.

4 – Ryan Taylor fouls Wright-Phillips. That is a mismatch in terms of pace and could be a problem. Shola booked for refusing to retreat 10 yards.

5 – First shot is a long ranger from Taarabt. No problem for Krul. We respond with a big boot that almost catches them out as Best lurks, but Kenny gathers it in.

8 – Cross from the QPR left (Simpson well out of position as he has been a lot this season), but fortunately it lands on the head of 2 foot 1 Wright-Phillips. Great chance, but he missed.

Some pretty big units in this QPR side. We need to limit set pieces in and around our area.

10 – Corner to us after a quick counter attack. We take a short corner (one of my pet hates) and don’t even manage to get it into the box.

12 – Absolute class from Leon Best. Great turn and a superb early strike very well saved by Kenny down to his right.

Jay Bothroyd is wearing bright yellow boots. Shouldn’t be allowed.

14 – Seconds after I commented on his boots, Bothroyd missed a brilliant chance. Ball in from Wright-Phillips who is looking lively. Ryan Taylor nowhere to be seen.

15 – Brilliance from Taarabt takes out three men. Wright Phillips shoots wide. Warnock almost cries on the touchline because he wanted a corner.

I wonder how far Anton Ferdinand would have gone in the game if he had a different surname. Not very I suspect.

19 – Barton collects the ball on the edge of the area, gets booed by the away fans, gets tackled.

21 – More brilliance from Taarabt with a turn of Colo and a meg of Tiote. Again the ball goes to Wright-Phillips who whips one in and again Bothroyd misses, unable to reach it.

24 – Tiote commits his third foul of the night – this one on Barton. Probably get booked for his next one.

26 – Ryan Taylor skinned again by Wright-Phillips, scramble in the box – Steve Taylor does a great job on Bothroyd. Corner
Simpson clears off the line from that corner – Bothroyd beating Steve Taylor in the air. We are all over the place.

32 – Wright-Phillips shoots from long range and it goes miles over the bar. Quite impressive that the little lad can kick the ball that far.

I will write about one of our attacks when we have one, I promise.
At least their incessant attacks have subdued.

34 – What is Alan Pardew doing on the pitch? No wait, its Shaun Derry and he is booked for a very poor tackle on Leon Best.

38 – Another great threaded ball puts Wright-Phillips away. He lobs Krul from an angle but Steve Taylor heads off the line. How we are still level is a mystery.

On the odd occasion that we get the ball our tactics appear to be HOOOOOOFFFFFFFFF and hope for the (Leon) best.

43 – Another free kick for another Ryan Taylor foul on Wright-Phillips. I like Ryan but he has to go off at half time. They swing the ball in and a few dive at it but it drifts out of play.

44 – A half chance for us. Decent ball in from Ryan Taylor but Best fails to connect properly with the header.

45 +3 - A little bit of pressure after a run from Jonas, but it comes to nothing.

Half time – 0 v 0 but all QPR.

Pardew needs a serious tactical rethink. They seem to want it more and our constant, desperate hoofs are a waste of some very good technical players. Jonas also hobbled about for the last couple of minutes after taking a knock

Follow me on Twitter @MarcSDuffy

August 21, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 08/21/2011

It is nice having a team in the league that gives you easy points every season. It's even nicer when they are your most fierce rivals. For the second time this calendar year their widespread threats and promises of 'revenge' for the 5 v 1 humiliation last Halloween proved unfounded as we picked up our first three points of the season.

Before I get into the game I'll comment on the performance of World Cup Final referee Howard Webb. As he demonstrated in that game, the biggest stage of all, he seems absolutely terrified to make big decisions.

First of all he totally missed an absolutely blatant handball on the goal-line by Sebastian Larsson. His assistant also missed it and suggested to Webb that it should be a corner. Larsson ran to the same assistant moments earlier and clearly told him that the ball hit him in the face. Despicable cheating - let's see if it provokes as much debate in the national media over the coming days that last week’s incidents vs Arsenal did..... Though Larsson/ Sunderland may not be significant enough. The home side should have been reduced to ten with a lot of time to go and Ameobi would have put us one up from the resulting penalty (he never misses!) Thankfully it didn't cost us anything in the long run, but it was not good enough.

Webb took the same approach with Cattermole as he did with De Jong in his awful World Cup Final display. His refusal to book him after two terrible first half tackles meant that the regularly banned midfielder was free to carry on his assaults of our players in the second half - Jonas taking the worst of them and Cattermole finally went into the book. Cattermole is an absolute liability for that lot - not just because of his regular bans but his foul on Jonas gave us the free kick that we scored from. He injured Beye and Barton for the long term the year that we went down and I fear that it's only a matter of time before he puts someone else out of the game for a long the long term. He would have been sent off by a referee who called what happened rather than constantly trying to appease the home fans.

The luckiest man on the park was Coloccini. Our captain could easily have spent the night in hospital following an absolutely brutal, cynical tackle from Bardsley. Slow motion replays show Bardsley look up at Colo a split second before going in hard with his studs up on Colo's planted leg. It's amazing that he didn't smash it. Webb, true to form, gave him a second yellow card - not the straight red that the tackle so obviously deserved. Bardsley will now pick up a 1 game ban rather than the 3 (minimum) that the foul deserved. Replays also showed Webb apparently picking up a comment in his ear piece before judging what had happened - shame he couldn't have done that on the penalty call. All in all it was a 0/10 performance for Howard. Fortunately for him the game was not on live TV.

Tim Krul won't enjoy many easier games than this one. A couple of routine saves were required and not a lot more.

Sunderland had quite a bit of early possession and territorial advantage but they offered little threat. I think I could play up front for Sunderland. Gyan's (a very poor man’s Oba Martins) game involved taking ridiculous shots from anywhere and everywhere - most of them barely even reached Krul.

February 15, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 02/15/2011

Following some good performances of late that ended in disappointing draws, Tuesday night was a huge game for us.

The conditions at St Andrew's were awful - the pitch resembled a post-carny Newcastle Town Moor despite having been relayed in the pre-season!

Birmingham have a number of former Newcastle players in their ranks - Oba Martins obviously being one of them. The last time Oba and Newcastle were in Birmingham at the same time it ended in relegation for NUFC. We have made a lot of progress since that day. In 21 months since then, Oba has scored a paltry four league goals in three different countries.

Having conceded early on so often recently it was refreshing to see us fly into an early lead - Jonas played a great ball into the area and Lovenkrands netted with an excellent finish. There were only 96 seconds on the clock.

January 24, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 01/24/2011

Maybe I should just copy and paste most of last weeks match report.

Yet again I went into the game in the mind set that I would happily have taken a draw and yet again I left feeling disappointed at a draw because of a late goal conceded.

It is such a shame that we did not learn anything from the week before.

The departure of Wayne Routledge earlier in the week added to the injuries and suspensions left us short of options which is what made the overall performance so pleasing. If Nolan had not managed to overcome his virus we would literally have struggled to name 4 in midfield. I am not Routledge's biggest fan but having him in the squad is better than having no one.
In fact he could have been a useful inclusion - early in the game Gareth Bale hobbled off with a back injury and was replaced by (booed on) Sebastian Bassong.
Bassong is not the most mobile player and playing out of position it was something we could
have exposed.

Theory was that Wayne's departure must have meant Pardew was ready to bring in a replacement with Sean Wright-Phillips mooted, but I can't see us making a move for anyone anytime soon.

On the injuries - are these a result of a different training regime or is it just because of the busy Christmas period? There haven't been too many games in the past couple of weeks which does make you wonder. Our age old bad habit of rushing players back too early is something that we need to stop - I was dismayed to hear that Dan Gosling's knee problem may have flared up and that is why he was missing.

Anyway, back to the game!

January 16, 2011
Posted by Marc Duffy on 01/16/2011

I must admit, I was not too confident going in to this game. With Carroll and Tiote missing and the Stevenage debacle fresh in mind I would have agreed to take a draw before kick off. Funny then that come full time I was disappointed that we only left with a draw because we comprehensively outplayed them in all areas, again.

The team from the village of the damned were seeking only their 2nd home win over the boys from the big City up the road in three decades, but it soon became obvious that they would not have it all their own way as many of them (including their plastic Geordie manager) assumed they would.

Bruce spent a lot of time in the past 2 weeks talking about 'revenge' and what song he would play to wind up the Newcastle fans at full time after they'd beaten us. I have no idea what song he chose - 'Loser' by Beck would be my suggestion, or maybe 'Bigmouth Strikes Again' by The Smiths.

It took only a couple of minutes for Newcastle to forge their first chance - Joey Barton played a fantastic ball through to Shola putting him one on one with Gordon. Shola slotted it past the keeper but it also went wide of the post - a truly awful effort.

Not too long after that Harper saved well from the largely anonymous Darren Bent as the opening minutes were played at an incredible tempo.

November 14, 2010
Posted by Marc Duffy on 11/14/2010

What next for NUFC? Your guess is as good as mine. Our form is impossible to predict and this past 8 days have shown that to be the case more than ever before.

Despite our very impressive away form I could not see us picking up much from the Emirates. I would have been delighted to accept a draw before the game took place, but by full time we had 3 points in the bag along with a clean sheet and it was well deserved.

We were solid from back to front. Tim Krul was superb, pulling off a great save from Nasri, but also showing a mature head in slowing the game down when necessary and communicating better with his back 4 than he has done up until now.

Danny Simpson put in his best performance since arriving and our other fullback was yet again superb. The way Jose dominated Walcott made the England man look like a schoolboy playing against a seasoned pro.

November 3, 2010
Posted by Marc Duffy on 11/03/2010

Right - I have almost sobered up (it is Tuesday evening), so where do I begin? 5 v 1 - haha! Unbelievable.

The most common feedback on the game that I have read from mackems has been along the lines of "The ref was your 12th man" and "We will still finish above you". Both of those statements make me laugh even more. When I woke up on Monday morning I felt like I had spent 48 hours doing constant sit-up's. My stomach was aching from all of the laughing that we did on Sunday night.

The truth hurts them and the truth is that we out-fought, out-played and out-everythinged (to sum it up I had to create a new word) them in every area of the pitch.

September 23, 2010
Posted by Marc Duffy on 09/23/2010

I honestly don't know where to start! That was amazing. What kind of football team can lose at home to Blackpool and then go away to Goodison and win, then rock up to Stamford Bridge and score FOUR! The wonderful world of Newcastle United Football Club.

I got into the ground just in time for kick off after the inevitable pre match beers and looking down at the line up's I thought we would do very well to walk away with a respectable defeat. They fielded several 'first teamers' whilst for us only Colo started in Saturday's excellent win at Everton.

September 14, 2010
Posted by Marc Duffy on 09/14/2010

Saturday was painful. I don't think any fan predicted a defeat at home to Blackpool, and judging by the way the players performed I think that they also assumed that three points were on their way. The similarities to some of the performances in the 08/09 relegation were frightening - the home defeat to Hull stands out more than any.

As we all know, Blackpool came up with us last season - though we finished 32 points ahead of them with a goal difference that was 39 better. We absolutely hammered them 4 v 1 at SJP and the key to that result and performance was targeting Stephen Crainey at right back. We destroyed them down the wings, so to see us pretty much ignore Routledge and Jonas on Saturday in favour of constant big hoofs down the middle was bemusing.

Blackpool Blog: DJ Dances to Ollie's Tune Again

Holloway completely out-thought Hughton. Blackpool were better organised and far easier on the eye than the one up front big boot merchants.

August 27, 2010
Posted by Marc Duffy on 08/27/2010

Chris Hughton took the brave decision to drop all 11 players from the 6 v 0 Villa win to field a very young side in the League Cup 2nd round on Wednesday night. Not only did the gamble pay off, but it also showed the fans that we do have strength in depth, albeit through a very talented crop of teenagers.

The starting XI contained no fewer than six players aged 19 or under and only one player over 30 (Lovenkrands – though promising youngster Shola will hit the big 3 0 soon) and the average age of the side was 21. If Andy Carroll had started instead of Lovenkrands the average age would have been down to 20.

August 23, 2010
Posted by Marc Duffy on 08/23/2010

The game was amazing. Talking with the lads before kick off, opinions on what the outcome would be were mixed - a draw being the most common prediction. I went for a 2 v 1 win and, believe it or not, no one predicted a 6 v 0 slaughter!

Villa started reasonably brightly setting up with a very attacking formation. Early on their tactic of the long ball over the top aiming to capitalise on Ashley Young's pace looked like it might reap some rewards. We looked threatening as we broke too, but when Steve Harper (who looked unsettled throughout the first half) gave away the penalty for a rash challenge on Young (who made the most of it, though it was a penalty to be fair), it looked like we would be chasing the game. Carew stepped up and lashed the ball over the bar – the miss sent the Gallowgate end delirious and all of a sudden our players looked even more energetic.

August 17, 2010
Posted by Marc Duffy on 08/17/2010

If Newcastle fans were honest with themselves (as most are) then this result was fairly predictable. When the fixtures were revealed a couple of months ago I was dismayed that we didn’t have a home tie vs a bottom half team to maintain last seasons momentum, but all in all at least this fixture (arguably the toughest of the season) is out of the way and we managed not to ship 6 like our automatic promotion rivals did at Chelsea.

April 14, 2009
Posted by Rob Lee on 04/14/2009

Having been somewhat destroyed by Chelsea at home 2-0, next up we faced the might of Stoke City away in what was deemed as a must-win game. We drew 1-1. Granted, we played pretty poorly for most of the game, there were a few positives to take from this game.

Firstly, other than Middlesbrough beating Hull City, other teams around us also were beaten. Hull (as mentioned), Sunderland and also Blackburn Rovers all lost, meaning that we are just two points off safety, one behind local rivals Sunderland.

December 13, 2008
Posted by Rob Lee on 12/13/2008

Having gained an unlikely point from Stamford Bridge and also from the Smoggies away at The Riverside with two back-to-back scoreless draws, it seems that Joe Kinnear is bringing some much needed stability to our battered and bruised football club. The point at Stamford Bridge was a hugely uplifting and deserved result at a stadium where we would normally concede three or four goals and go home very fed up. The team showed fight and spirit, whilst super Shay Given proved once more that he is one of the greatest goalkeepers in the land with a string of superb saves, repeating the achievement a week later at Boro. Also worth a special mention is the huge improvement seen in the heart of our defence, with Fabricio 'the hair' Coloccini and Sebastian Bassong putting in memorable shifts recently, the latter looking excellent, especially considering his tender years.

I have to say that although I do not want Kinnear to stay as manager in the long run by any means, I am pleased that he has been given the job at least until the end of this season. He will bring fight and determination to the team, as well as some (probably short term) stability that should see us avoid relegation with ease judging by recent performances. Also, he has stated recently that funds will be available in January to strengthen our tiny squad, without the need to sell. However, if I remember rightly, isn't this what Keegan said, only to be left somewhat embarassed and humiliated by a disastrous regime that broke promises? Kinnear has also insisted that he is the man who chooses the players to bring in, with Dennis 'inch-high, private-eye' Wise simply given the task of going out and getting them, which is surely what should have happened whilst Kev was the boss. Strange, eh?

October 28, 2008
Posted by Rob Lee on 10/28/2008

After a truly horrific display against local rivals Sunderland on Saturday, we battled hard for a much-needed 2-1 win against West Brom on Tuesday night. After putting in a surprisingly decent first half in which we could and should have scored more than the two goals we got, things were running smoothly.

It took only nine minutes for us to break the deadlock. A wonderful through ball from the hopefully rehabilitated Joey Barton allowed Shola Ameobi to run at their last man, only for the naive Ryan Donk to bring our very own Pele down with a clumsy tackle. Barton clutched the ball and pelted home the penalty, his second goal for us and his his second penalty for us also. So two goals, two penalties, that is.

About
Marc Duffy Marc Duffy is a National Account Manager in the alcoholic drinks industry - a career in alcohol was obviously the natural step after following Newcastle United for all of his 32 years. Marc blames his father for his obsession with Newcastle United - since attending his first game at the age of 4 Marc has endured many ups and downs, and despite the lack of silverware remains positive that a trophy will be won at some point in his lifetime! (Wait, does the Intertoto cup not count?) Follow Marc on Twitter @MarcSDuffy

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