Newcastle United 1-1 sunderland
Newcastle United 1 (Shola 90+1)
This is why we love AND hate the derby matches.
First minute Cattermole gets booked and that should have set Newcastle up nicely but instead we sank to their level as Cabaye became the first of five United players in the book as well.
For some reason our attacking plan in the first forty five appeared to revolve around long balls to Ba and Cissé, I bet when Turner and O’Shea woke up this morning they never imagined they would have such an easy time of it as they defended the Leazes end.
The wet conditions didn’t help but then that is still no excuse when sunderland managed to pass and move even if it was with limited results. The mackems actually sprang a surprise by playing Bendtner in a front two with Sessegnon, which you thought would have helped our attacking play but nothing stuck with our front two while Cabaye & Tiote were far too deep.
“I was a little bit disappointed with us first half cos we got wrapped up in what seemed to be a gameplan by sunderland to unsettle us, to put a tackle in. Cattermole set the scene for the game and I thought it was ugly to be honest.” Alan Pardew
As Newcastle failed to keep the ball the tension increased and the lack of focus was summed up by Williamson’s attempt to ‘mark’ Bendtner when defending a long free-kick after 24 minutes. It was bad enough that Williamson was more interested in grabbing Bendtner’s shirt but he then committed the cardinal sin of turning his back on the ball as well. The Danish striker made sure the referee saw the shirt pull and put the penalty away himself.
The fact it took forty minutes for an attempt on goal says it all, Coloccini’s header straight at Mignolet then did lead to a few minutes of pressure up to half-time, including a Ba header against the bar. Referee Mike Dean had mad made it clear that he might be almost fair with bookings but crucial decisions were harder to come by. The crucial one saw Demba Ba clearly have his legs taken away only for Dean to make a big show of not giving it, not giving in to pressure (common sense!) just because of his David Luiz blunder.
Santon had been arguably our best player in the first half and probably the biggest attacking threat, so it came as some surprise when he didn’t reappear. You assume injury, but bringing Ben Arfa on undoubtedly helped change the pattern of play and eventually teh final result.
“Those games, you can never lose at this club and it was a fantastic effort by the lads in the second half. Not so good in the first half, but in the second half we overpowered them.
“The fans are going home happy now and that’s what you want. We won away from home, got a draw at home, it’s been a good season and now we’re looking to finish it off in the last 11 games.” Tim Krul
Ryan Taylor dropped to left-back and now the mackems had two flanks to defend. Whoever you blame for the flat performance in the first half, by the same token you have to praise them fro the improved showing in the second.
The midfield two stepped up their game and it was all Newcastle as we ended the match with 24 attempts on goal, I’m guessing around 20/21 of them were in that second period as only that brief flurry at the end of the first half had threatened the mackems’ goal.
Newcastle were so much on top that it was almost an unwelcome interruption when Sessegnon lashed out at Tiote and got his marching orders. As often happens with that scenario, it just gave the mackems extra resolve to dig in and defend even deeper.
Only a minute before that red card Tim Krul probably won us the eventual point, a brilliant double save from McClean and Larsson keeping Newcastle in the match.
Ben Arfa came on and was a breath of fresh air, surprising a lot of people I bet when he was so willing to take on players time after time when you just know the tackles will be flying in. To be fair they struggled to get near him as he went both inside and outside Richardson which also had the result of at last pulling their defence all over the place.
Time continued to move on though and a combination of last gasp defending and mainly wayward shooting when the ball broke on the edge of their box, meant things were looking bleak.
Unfortunately, this is when a lack of goal power from midfield lets Newcastle down, which combined with a lack of threat from corners (only scored from one this season and we had another nineteen to try and convert today!) means an over reliance on the strikers.
“The manager said go on and get a goal and I duly obliged” Shola Ameobi
Cissé came off after a disappointing seventy minutes but he’s still on the very early stages of the English/mackem learning curve and on came Shola….
How you explain the story of Shola and the derby matches is beyond me,within ten minutes though he’d won a penalty even Mike Dean couldn’t deny. I don’t know if there was any debate but it was Demba and not Shola who stepped up and saw his penalty turned away (I’m told all this talk of pelanties was almost giving Chris Waddle a seizure on the ESPN commentary).
Worry not because while Ben Arfa twisted them into knots on their left hand side it was injury time for the Shola moment as Williamson’s flick-on was lashed in by our derby specialist.
Time had just beaten us in terms of going for a winner but we were treated to the sight of Alan Pardew charging along the touchline towards O’Neill, having previously exchanged words with his opposite number.
You can’t say you are happy with a draw against inferior opposition but when you are one down in injury time (having missed a penalty) I suppose I would accept a point!
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon (Hatem Ben Arfa 46), Ryan Taylor (Peter Lovenkrands 89), Yohan Cabaye, Cheick Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Papiss Cisse (Shola Ameobi 72), Demba Ba.
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, James Perch, Danny Guthrie, Gabriel Obertan.
sunderland (4-4-2): Simon Mignolet, Phil Bardsley, Michael Tunrer, John O’Shea; Kieran Richardson (Wayne Bridge 85), Sebastian Larsson (Jack Colback 73), Lee Cattermole (c), Craig Gardner, James McClean, Stephane Sessegnon, Nicklas Bendtner (Fraizer Campbell 72).
Subs not used: Craig Gordon, Matt Kilgallon, David Vaughan, David Meyler.
Referee: Mike Dean
Attendance: 52,338 (2,650 away fans)
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