Rafa Benitez was stuck between disappointment at the match officials and his own players, after a late goal cost Newcastle victory in a game they totally dominated.

Leeds didn’t win a single corner and Newcastle had 19, whilst Newcastle’s shots totalled 22 and completely dwarfed the four for the visitors.

These games do happen from time to time and are what make football such a great game, even if sometimes frustrating when you have been the better team by such a distance.

However, when it comes to the officiating in this division it has really been shocking – all the worse when you consider that the referees are full-time these days in the second tier as well as the Premier League.

Rafa Benitez says that he doesn’t understand some decisions ‘but we can do nothing’.

Unlike the Burton match, the officials arguably cost Newcastle points on Friday night, just as they did at Forest and possibly other games.

The lack of a natural finisher (apart from Ritchie) in Gayle’s absence didn’t help either but if Newcastle play anything like they did against Leeds, they will blow teams such as Ipswich and Preston away in the coming days.

Rafa Benitez:

“I am very upset, upset because we played a very very good game.

“A lot of energy, passion, good play, chances. A lot of good things but decisions (from the match officials) that I do not understand.

“Then we make a mistake at the end and we pay for it.

“I don’t understand five minutes (injury time) and I don’t understand some decisions – but we can do nothing.

“We try to respect the referees but I still don’t understand what is going on.

“We had a penalty the other day (v Burton) and we lost seven minutes – they gave three minutes (injury time). Today we don’t have anything  special and five minutes (injury time).

“They (the players) didn’t switch off, it is to do the right things and to be in the right positions. We didn’t stop the cross (for the Leeds goal) and we were in a bad position defending – we pay for that.

“Their keeper was man of the match and they have one chance and they score.”

One of best performances of the season?’

“Yes, it was really good.

“You have to give credit to our players because they were giving everything and playing good football.

“A pity that after that you have to concede a goal like this in 95 minutes.

“We have to be positive and be ready for this next game (Ipswich away on Monday).”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Leeds 1

Goals:

Newcastle: Lascelles 67

Leeds: Wood 90+5

Possession was Leeds 44% Newcastle 56%

Total shots were  Leeds 4 Newcastle 22

Shots on target were Leeds 2 Newcastle 4

Corners were  Leeds 0 Newcastle 19

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Mbemba, Dummett, Ritchie (Yedlin 84), Shelvey, Hayden (Colback 79), Gouffran, Perez (Diame 90), Mitrovic

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Hanley, Murphy, Atsu

Crowd: 52,301 (Leeds 3,200)

(To give us your player ratings go HERE)

(The instant fan/writer reaction from Friday night’s match HERE)

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])



  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    One thing i`ll say, if we play like that in the next couple of games we will blow the opposition away there`s no doubt about it

    • Jimblag23

      Were you there? Because the atmosphere also seemed better than it has been for a while.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        no, haven`t been for 3 years because of Fatso, watched it on sky

      • nevfur

        Good atmosphere yeah actually took on the away fans for a change. Good performance, poor finishing although credit to Leeds defence and keeper. Poor ref again then we threw it away with poor marking at the end. Keep up playing like this and we will go up comfortably. Hayden, Ritchie and Mbemba excellent. Mitro and Dummett very good. Lashelles best game for a while for 94 mins lol

      • Geordiegiants

        Atmosphere has always been tremendous against Leeds, ever since I was a young kid.

  • Jimblag23

    Rafas bang on.
    Whilst I feel irritated we blew it at the end, it was a cracking match and hopefully we’ll see more exciting matches next season once we strengthen the team further.
    Clark and Gayle should be back soon and Hayden is a welcome returnee, so it should be only a matter of time until we secure those couple of wins we need to be certain of promotion.

    • Jezza

      Strengthen the team further? I don’t understand your use of the word “further” especially after the January window.

      • Jimblag23

        Strengthen it further than it currently is, pretty basic stuff.

        • Jezza

          It sounded like you meant that they are already in the process of strengthening, as if they’d signed a few players in January or such like.

          • Jimblag23

            If you say so?

  • Simon Ritter

    Yes, one of the best performances of the season, against one of the best teams rather than against a bunch of bus-parkers. That’s one positive. If our players can motivate themselves to the same extent in the next four games we could still be champions and will certainly be promoted. Another positive. The negatives include: switching off for the equaliser, a lack of clinical finishing, Shelvey’s petulance, which on another day could have earned him a second yellow. Yes, the dragging down of Mbemba was a clear penalty (except to the officials, apparently) but I cannot argue with five minutes of stoppage time. Six subs at 30 seconds each plus a bit of time wasting. The players cannot control what the officials do but they can play to the whistle and mark properly in stoppage time. I hope . . .

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      the first 11 is ok, it`s when we need subs that`s when the problems start

      • Jezza

        Especially when those subs are Colback and Diame. We’d have been better off with 9 men on the pitch.

    • LA Toon

      If we can’t put a game to bed and continue to not focus for 90 plus minutes we will struggle to achieve automatic promotion. How many of the present players are premiership quality, 2 or 3? Can’t see fat controller forking out for that many replacements. Worrying days ahead.

  • Peaco

    We can moan about officiating and all the rest of it. The fact remains that the theme of this season continues to be an inability to put our chances away. Regularly we see the stats (lies and statistics and all that) show 20/30 shots and a woefully small percentage on target. We won’t get away with that sort of profiglacy IF we do go up. I’m not getting at Benitez btw – class manager who we’re lucky to have. I do genuinely believe (rightly or wrongly) If we don’t go up, much of the blame has to be attributed to Penfold and Ashley’s wanton vandalism of the January transfer window. With business brains like this, no wonder Sports Direct is imploding.

    • Jezza

      “If we don’t go up, much of the blame has to be attributed to Penfold and Ashley’s wanton vandalism of the January transfer window”

      100% correct.

  • Salty

    Don’t think 5 mins was out of order with 6 substitutions, a pitch invader and time wasting b Darlow. Simply defended the final possession by Leeds badly. Dropped too deep and if you freeze frame at time of cross Leeds have 4 attakers in the box to our 3 defenders but 1 of those (captain calamity) is in no mans land having come too far off the front post. That said if we’d had a finisher on the pitch we would have blown them away, Mitro and Perez are never going to score enough

    • Jezza

      Yes, our failure to kill Leeds off was a direct result of our failure to adequately strengthen our attack last summer or sign a replacement for the injured Dwight Gayle in January.