Paul McShane acknowledges that Newcastle United have ‘great qualities’ but still thinks his team were a bit hard done by at St James Park.
Newcastle had lost to Fulham on the opening night of the season and then the next weekend Huddersfield came to Tyneside and did a smash and grab, scoring twice from only three shots on target and having only 35% possession.
Four days later Reading arrived at St James Park with Newcastle on precisely zero points from a possible six.
Isaac Hayden looked to have set Newcastle on their way with a goal on 20 minutes but a nervous performance was summed up when on his first start for NUFC, Ciaran Clark gave away a ridiculous penalty just on the stroke of half-time. Very difficult to believe that this is the same player who is arguably Newcastle’s player of the season!
For Paul McShane, he thought Reading ‘played ok and then we gifted them goals’, though there is always two ways of looking at any match.
Ritchie scored a penalty for Newcastle five minutes into the second-half to restore the lead, only to fall asleep a bit and concede possession – though Reading rarely looked to threaten.
The stats below showing that despite the advantage in possession, shots and corners, they only three on target and that included the penalty goal.
Dwight Gayle scored a brilliant free-kick on 69 minutes and then a tap in from an excellent Hayden run in the closing stages, it could have been a hat-trick if the linesman hadn’t spotted the ‘alleged’ use of his hand (see image above) in the first few minutes.
Reading Captain McShane says that they will ‘need to be on top of our game’ when they come up against a Newcastle side that has ‘clever players’ and ‘experienced players’.
If Rafa’s players show the same resilience in defence and clinical finishing at the other end, that they displayed at Brighton and Huddersfield, the home side could have a real struggle tonight.
“Do you know what, we lost up there but when you look back, it was one-all at half-time.
“I thought we played ok and then we gifted them goals.
“We tried to get back into the game but they kept catching us on the break.
“Newcastle have great qualities and they have some experienced players, some clever players.
“We need to be on top of our game and we have been preparing – got to take that into the match.”
Here are the stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 4 Reading 1 – Wednesday 17 August 20016 7.45pm
Newcastle: Hayden 20, Ritchie 50 (pen), Gayle 69, 89
Reading: McCleary 45 (Pen)
Possession was Reading 58% Newcastle 42%
Total shots were Reading 13 Newcastle 11
Shots on target were Reading 3 Newcastle 7
Corners were Reading 9 Newcastle 2
Team: Sels, Anita, Clark, Mbemba, Dummett, Shelvey, Hayden, Ritchie (Aarons 90), Perez (Lascellles 76), Gouffran (Colback 84), Gayle
Unused Subs: Darlow, Janmaat, Hanley, Armstrong
Ref: Andy Madley