Following the derby on Sunday I was left with a fairly odd feeling. A combination of disappointment, fury and pride.
A disappointment which rightly came from yet another crushing derby defeat against a desperately poor mackem side. Last season the six points they gained from playing NUFC kept them in the league and to be honest that annoyed me more than the defeats themselves in a way.
The defeat can’t be blamed on anyone in black and white for a change however but the finger of blame can rightly be thrust in the direction of Bobby Madley. I do think some players didn’t have a great game, with Mitrovic for example looking sluggish, but he wasn’t the reason we lost.
Our wafer thin confidence meant that once the referee pointed to the spot and showed Coloccini a red card, we were never likely to get back into the match. We did keep battling through and were the better side but just didn’t really create much – Mitrovic’s one on one aside.
Returning briefly to the official, it was a performance of a man who was clearly not up to the task he was handed. In my opinion it was not a penalty and if you wanted to argue that it was, it was not a red card by any stretch of the imagination. That decision altered the game hugely but in my opinion the other decisions during the game had an equally damaging effect.
The hateful Lee Cattermole clattered into a selection of our players, and did so without punishment. He has injured Jack Colback and wasn’t booked. Laughably the referee counted up his four poor challenges the next time he spoke to him yet still didn’t punish him. He wasn’t the only one.
We had 2 players booked plus the red card and they none, which implies we lumped them around the place which certainly wasn’t the case.
Finally, if Madley wants to give a penalty for the ‘challenge’ on Fletcher then he needs to be consistent in his decision making and award a selection of fouls on Perez for similar ‘barges’. Neither are fouls in my mind, but to give them one decision like that which had such an impact on the game, he needs to be fair to both sides which he wasn’t. He was desperately poor.
It was Madley who left me with the feeling of fury after the match, coupled with the fact the equally odious Adam Johnson scored. I didn’t particularly like his celebration but if you’re given dogs abuse for the whole match you can’t be surprised if he responds. I do think that there is a question of if he should be allowed to play football at the moment, given he has been charged by the police, but that’s a story for another day.
The pride feeling was an odd one, especially considering the result. For once though us as Newcastle fans we hadn’t been short-changed by the players, owner or manager but by someone we couldn’t control.
I felt we played well but were undone by a lack of self-confidence (unsurprising given our results this season and in these matches in the recent past), a dodgy ref and some slightly wayward finishing.
In contrast, I think Sunderland are a poor side, managed by a one-dimensional manager who will finally have his bubble burst and manage this rabble in the Championship next season.
I’m confident that by the time they return to Gallowgate in March our league positions will be more reflective of our abilities (and theirs….) and we will halt this derby run. We simply have to.
Ultimately, the overriding feeling is one of disappointment and frustration. We do have positives to take from this match though and I think that’s what’s worth taking from it.
The infamous banner held up by fans read “we don’t demand a team that wins – we demand a team that tries”. For a pleasant change I felt we had that in a derby match for the first time in a while. Long may it continue.
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