There was sympathy from a surprising quarter for Newcastle United, with Michael Gray thinking they deserved the three points at Birmingham.

The former Sunderland player turned pundit, thought that on another day Newcastle ‘could have won by three or four’.

Michael Gray saying that it was an ‘outstanding performance from the Birmingham goalkeeper’.

Tomasz Kuszczak making three or four excellent interventions to prevent Rafa Benitez getting the victory.

However, the pivotal moment of the match was almost certainly when Matt Ritchie had a goal disallowed in the first half.

Rafa Benitez felt it definitely should have stood and TV pictures appeared to show that Ritchie was behind the ball when it was kicked, so he couldn’t then have been offside when he followed up and put away the rebound after Kuszczak saved the initial effort from a Newcastle player.

Michael Gray insisting ‘Newcastle have been hard done by’ when the officials combined to deny NUFC a perfectly good goal.

Michael Gray talking on Football On 5:

“I think he (Matt Ritchie) is onside, for the linesman to give it is a big call.

“If you are a centre-forward and somebody gives offside there, you are going crazy.

“What happened to giving the advantage to the forward player?

“Newcastle have been hard done by.

“On another day they could have won by three or four.

“It was an outstanding performance from the Birmingham goalkeeper.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Birmingham 0 Newcastle 0

Possession was Birmingham  35% Newcastle 65%

Total shots were  Birmingham 9 Newcastle 17

Shots on target were Birmingham 1 Newcastle 3

Corners were  Birmingham 3 Newcastle 5

Referee: Simon Hooper

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Hanley, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Colback, Gouffran (Atsu 82), Perez (Shelvey 78), Murphy (Gayle 63)

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Gamez, Mbemba, Mitrovic

Crowd: 19,796 (Newcastle 3,300)

(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to today’s game go HERE)

(To read what Rafa Benitez had to say post-match go HERE)

(To view the NUFC player ratings and add your own to our interactive system go HERE)

Rafa Personalised Gifts  - shop.themag.co.uk


  • Geordiegiants

    They used to say that the Geordie nation new their football. Now we have a load of so called fans on here greifing our football and manager, and a staunch MAKEM can see the bigger picture.

    • Peter Robson

      Know exactly where you´re coming from mate, they´re not happy unless we´re putting in performances like the 6-0 against QPR !!

      Rafa has the job of getting us back in the top flight and that is what he´s doing !!!
      The weight of expectation on the Manager and team is enormous !!

      Nobody expected Chris Hughton to succeed so there was no pressure, whereas every move and every decision by Rafa is analysed by everyone from “Expert” to armchair warrior !!!

      Let him get on with his job and we´ll get on with ours, supporting the team !!!

      In Rafa we Trust !!!

      • Geordiegiants

        I wish they were as vocal with support on the terraces, as they are with negativity on here.

        • Toonlol

          I’ve watched some shoddy managers and don’t care less players for years and years , so watching a team that puts in 100% every game , with a world class Manager is a dream.
          Go back to the beginning of last season people had a lot to moan about , fast forward to now, yes, in the Championship, but top and bar a major catastrophe get promoted , and with Rafa here , the calibre of player he can get its exciting times ahead.
          I read so much negativity after the Fulham game, yes we were very poor, and Fulham very good on the day, and every team has a game like that in a season , so for all the negative fans out there , let’s put this into perspective and get behind the manager, team and club for the final push.

          • Damon Horner

            negativity after the Fulham game? mate, there’s negativity on here whenever we don’t get a good result or play them off the park, bit strange from a fanbase who didn’t expect to walk the league!

            You’re right about perspective, I see this season as a transition one and any transition side that achieves their aim deserves the praise and respect, so far, we’re doing just that.

          • Geordiegiants

            Agree fully, some of this lot haven’t got a clue. We all have different opinions yes, but the stuff written on here is shameful sometimes.

          • Peter Robson

            This discussion is brilliant, it´s exactly what this site should be about instead of slagging off someone who holds a different opinion !!!

          • Porciestreet

            Dead right Toon, ….Fulham go and get humped 3-1 at the Cottage …Just shows dunnit.

  • F Gonial

    I think the majority of fans are behind Rafa, me included; but you have to create more than two chances of scoring when at home. Our current squad has about 3 players capable of playing in the Premiership.
    We don’t need to spend £50m on one player but we must get quality players in.

    • Geordiegiants

      Exactly that’s the point. We don’t have a team full of premier league players. We have a team full of grafters, that is what Rafa wanted, and needed after all the charlatans we had before. Expectations are far to high, I expect us to get promoted, but I didn’t and don’t think it will be easy. We we have created enough chances and converted enough chances to be top of the league, that is all that matters this season.

      • Damon Horner

        exactly right and this will form the basis of his team, what Rafa would be doing next is injecting improvements in quality position by position where the players are available and funds allow.

        We have seen a transition season yield success if things stay like this and most transitions don’t really see that, this summer should see this team start to be evolved.

  • Mrkgw

    The quality of refereeing in the Championship this season has been dismal. Well balanced views from Michael Gray instead of the usual drivel served up by David Prutton.

    • Geordiegiants

      I couldn’t agree more about referees, but they are equally shocking for everyone down here.

  • frigopie76

    Let’s consider our recent form with some actual facts rather than the doom and gloom, negative stuff.
    In the last 10 games, we are 2nd in the form league. Huddersfield are the only team to take more points in that time (Only 3 more).
    Recently, we still have the best defense in the league. Only let in 9 goals in last 10 matches.
    Our only slight negative is goals scored. We have only scored 15 goals in 10 matches putting us in tenth (We are still the top scorers for the season though).
    All in all, we are on course for the title. Chins up people… keep believing!

  • pot

    Couldn’t agree more, but I think a massive overhaul is needed in the first-team.

    Darlow, will be dropped to the bench with Elliott starting.
    Yedlin, will be our starting right-back
    Clarke, will be starting centre back AND Captain next season
    VACANT – Mbemba maybe but not Lasselle’s, he’ll be on the bench, maybe Hanley
    VACANT – Not Dummett, we’ll have to sign a LB
    Shelvey, – will start the season but will be dropped to the bench after a couple of matches.
    VACANT – I like Hayden but get the feeling we will sign somebody, he’ll play after Shelvey gets dropped.
    Ritchie, nailed on starter, proved himself in the Prem League already.
    Atsu maybe?, never given the chance in Prem League, won’t be gouff – he’ll leave
    MIT!!, wasted this season, but will come good next year:)
    Gayle, will start but get dropped after 10 games for a striker we’ll sign in the summer.

    The whole squad needs a clear-out, gouff, anita, sels, lasselles, dummett, perez, diammi, murphy and the best of all COLBACK!!!!!!, all need to be moved on and replaced this summer.