It was an unusual game against Leeds, where I thought Newcastle United went about the game in a more positive fashion than of late. Certainly the result didn’t reflect the dominance of the home side and Newcastle should have been out of sight before the fourth official held up the amount of stoppage time.

I wasn’t at the game (working) but there was a TV in front of me and from what I saw at the time, the only thing that stood in the way of a 3-0 win was Robert Green in the Leeds goal. He was immense as Newcastle tested him time and time again and as the Sky Sports commentator stated in the first half: ‘his goal is living a charmed life’.

I thought Mitrovic looked interested and certainly produced a good display and showed something I haven’t seen from him, his movement was better and seemed to ‘get in the ear’ of the referee and his assistants, highlighted when he was brought down and told the referee (backed with 50,000 others) that the linesman was flagging and a free-kick was required.

His sidekick Perez was different, the neat little touches were there and the running was evident, he just seems to lack that little bit of intelligence, knowing when to run or when to stand still and allow a defender to leave him in space, certainly if he had taken one of the few chances that came his way Leeds would have folded.

The cut and thrust from Ritchie and Shelvey was evident and Newcastle seemed to run riot, Hayden and Gouffran were unspectacular but workmanlike, allowing the rest of the forward line to miss the many chances that would haunt us late on.

The defence was rarely troubled and full-backs Anita and Dummett had cracking games, supporting the players in front of them on the attack.

After Lascelles had nodded us into a 1-0 lead, I honestly had a good sense of positivity about the remaining 20 odd minutes.

This is what teams have to do to get promoted, nick goals when you’re playing a team off the park and not worry that you haven’t smashed them for six, the result being more important than the performance. And so it proved.

The sequence of events that led to the finale of the match can be highlighted in a few sharp but important moments.

79 minutes

A tired Issac Hayden is brought off and Jack Colback is brought on. Cue a collective groan around the ground and from the TV audience.

It would be careless to blame one man for the last minute switch off, but it certainly didn’t fill me with positivity, more dread that a few fouls would be occurring in the last ten or so minutes with him on the field. Surely a tired Hayden is better than a liability Colback?

90 minutes

Mo Diame replaces Matt Ritchie. I’ve never been sure why substitutions are made at this stage of the game other than to run the clock down. Funny that.

90+1 minutes

Some buffoon decides to invade the pitch. Subsequently identified as a Leeds fan, can take ‘pride’ in the fact that this no doubt influenced the referee into adding a further minute or so to proceedings.

90+4 minutes

With some classic Alan Shearer style corner flag hugging, Mitrovic and Shelvey attempt to run down the clock, unfortunately in Shelvey’s case that he ‘cleverly’ adds in the ‘letting the ball roll under his foot’ jape in order to waste more time. Brainless and booked in equal measure.

90+4 minutes

Leeds promptly start an attack and push the ball out onto the left hand flank where Colback steams over and jumps in, bringing down Kemar Roofe. I’m sure Jack thought he was being clever in halting the play at such a late stage of the game, stopping an attack and ‘taking one for the team’.

Sadly he seems to do this with alarming regularity and not just in the last few seconds. Put simply, he is a walking yellow card. Brainless and booked in equal measure.

90+5 minutes

The resultant free-kick ends up with a ball being lofted into the box whereby Chris Wood shoots past Karl Darlow with Jamaal Lascelles once again going AWOL and allowing Wood acres of space to score. Annoying and predictable in equal measure.

A hugely deflating period after what had gone before it, with many people (including myself) pointing to the performance and the stats to show what a good display this had been, but with the old adages that stats can mean nothing and a performance means little if you don’t win the game in the end.

That said, it’s not a time to panic.

Brighton look set to take the title unless they switch off in the remaining games, while we are on course for promotion at the first attempt.

It hasn’t been as pretty as it could have been but over the next 180 minutes of football we will go up and be rid of some of the god awful officials and teams down here.

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



  • Simon Ritter

    You say Lascelles went Awol. I could see him level with the near post on the edge of our area. The player who had been marking Wood almost all match, Mbemba (whom some fans seem to rate as the new Bobby Moore) was standing still near the penalty spot while the Championship’s top scorer ran to meet the excellent cross. A cross that should have been cut out at source by Diame. Thank goodness football is a game of opinions . . .

    • Damon Horner

      I do agree, the ball was crossed inbetween two of our players, had the winger dribbled past/through them, Lascelles being on top of Wood would have looked alarmingly out of position. Put simply, Lascelles at that point for me would need to cover against the advancing winger on the basis he could have beaten us with a dribble, Mbemba moves more towards front post to reduce the CB gap and then Dummett could be around the back post.

      Otherwise, we had 4 vs 4 in the last minute of the game in the box with no midfield support.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        Bollix, Diame & Anita we`re both in position out wide Lascelles was marking nobody

        • Damon Horner

          they were there yes, not saying Lascelles should be out there with them but what if the winger skipped between Anita and Diame? should the team have just left him to be through on goal? There needed to be somebody to cover that area to pressure the player on the ball in case he beat his man, the play was towards the right, the line shifts towards the right a bit.

          4 vs 4 makes man marking difficult. It should be zonal in those circumstances.

          • Big Al 1967

            3 men to cover one wide player? Sorry but for me Lascelles is a good 10 yards out of position. It was obvious that at that stage Leeds were going to throw the ball into the box and he is just marking space

          • Damon Horner

            because somebody needed to cover that space if the winger worked his way into the box and there was no midfielder to do that, agreed in those situations somebody like Lascelles should protect against an aerial but we only had four in the box and the other two defenders were marking behind him and one at the edge of the box. Where was Shelvey?

            Like I said he isn’t blameless at all but who of the team looked efficient at that stage, Lascelles is a permanent scapegoat.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Newcastle were zonal marking, woods was on the right where Lascelles was, Mbemba was on his man in the area designated
      Woods made a run into Lascelles area of the box & he my friend wasnt marking anybody

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Lascelles was asleep as he was in the game before the guy goes walkabout & should be benched. trying to blame Mbemba`s a f@@king joke

  • nevfur

    Not supporting Colback in any way but just to keep it fair the goal didn’t come direct from that free kick

    • Kev Newcastle England

      Not a Colback fan at all.He is crap.But I wanted him to take that player out.

  • Andy Mac

    It’s not time to panic but could somebody please tell me why Lascelles still gets a game after his woeful defensive performances ? Ok he scored the goal but he’s let a few go in the other end during the past few months.

  • Malcolm Fisher

    Always said he is not premier quality,especially if he cannot hack it in the championship. When he loaned back to Forest,he did not impress,should have stayed there.Why is handley ,a proven championship and international not playing