Birmingham 0 Newcastle 0 – Saturday 18 March 2017 3pm
Up at the crack of dawn – who needs an alarm clock when you have a one year old?
After a few pick ups we were on the motorway by 8ish for a relatively straightforward journey to Birmingham.
From what I gather, there’s not too many places to go for a pint close to St. Andrew’s so we grabbed a few in a local Ibris. It wasn’t until we got into the ground did we really feel the pre-match atmosphere.
Before the game I was confident we’d get a result, even without Shelvey in the team.
This confidence was further boosted after a chat with a Birmingham fan who was pretty sure they’d lose.
The game itself was far from a classic with few clear cut chances for either side. We seemed to be happy to pass it around without posing any major threat.
I thought the team were solid enough but didn’t quite go far enough to win the game.
Our fans travelled in great numbers once again, excellent on the concourse – but that didn’t transfer to the stands and towards the pitch.
I mean, we’re top of the league but I don’t get the feeling we’re on the crest of a wave or hurtling towards promotion.
Results elsewhere mean we’ve gained another point towards promotion but it feels like we’re making hard work of it.
I’m still confident we’ll go up but the way we’re playing feels like we’re labouring towards the finish line.
That’s three times I’ve been to Birmingham and I’ve seen three draws: 0-0, 2-2, 0-0.
Bit of a break now and hopefully the lads can regain a bit of freshness in their legs before a couple of winnable home games.
Darlow 7 – Relatively untroubled, did what he had to well.
Anita 5 – Tried to get forward but lack quality, never looked comfortable in defence.
Hanley 7 – Decent return, looked like he’d never been out of the team, defended well.
Lascelles 6 – Still not at his commanding best but probably didn’t really need to be.
Dummett 7 – Steady performance got forward as often as possible.
Ritchie 7 – Tried to make things happen, scored a legitimate goal.
Diame 5 – Ineffective, could do more to be a presence in the middle of the pitch.
Colback 6 – Kept things moving in midfield.
Gouffran 6 – Best work was his defensive duties, would like him to be more direct when in decent attacking positions.
Perez 7 – A lot more effective than in some other games this season.
Murphy 7 – Led the line well and brought people into play.
Gayle 7 – Busy when he came on.
Atsu N/A – Not on long enough.
Shelvey N/A – Not on long enough.
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
Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Hanley, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Colback, Gouffran (Atsu 82), Perez (Shelvey 78), Murphy (Gayle 63)
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)
You can follow the author on Twitter @lyon1892
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])