Newcastle v Atromitos – Match Report
Newcastle United 1 (Vuckic 21)
(Newcastle go through 2-1 on aggregate)
Match Highlights Here
In terms of the record books it will simply show that Newcastle progressed to the Europa League group stages but it was far from convincing.
Difficult to tell how good/bad Atromitos were but certainly they weren’t great.Despite that they ended up with a good handful of chances that with better finishing could have made things more than tricky for Newcastle.
The first half wasn’t too bad as United controlled possession and moved the ball about well at times with possibly the visitors a bit overawed as they gave Newcastle far too much space,
Gabriel Obertan was probably the main beneficiary of this and saw plenty of the ball, people around me seemed to think he’d played really well but despite regularly running at an isolated full-back his crosses invariably hit the first man, while he did force their keeper into two decent saves I still thought he should have done a whole lot better with this golden chance.
I’d have loved to see Ben Arfa given so much space, when you consider that he was still able to be creative at Stamford Bridge with two or three on him most of the time, against a second rate Greek full-back…
While we scraped the result, Alan Pardew will have hardly lowered his blood pressure as the failure (so far….!) to sign extra quality in defence was compounded tonight by injuries to two key utility players.
Firstly, Ryan Taylor looked in some pain as he landed awkwardly after an anonymous tackle on eleven minutes, it didn’t look good as he was helped away with Vuckic introduced and Perch moving to left-back from midfield.
After an hour Perch followed Taylor as he reluctantly left the pitch after suffering an unknown injury, Tavernier taking over at left-back.
So Pardew’s plans had been compromised but that’s still no excuse for a very poor second half when arguably the Greeks were the better team.
Like Obertan, Marveaux did ok but needs to step up on this to get near the first team and while working the keeper still didn’t manage to get a goal.
In contrast, Vuckic’s big strength is a willingness to have a go and only ten minutes after coming on he tried his luck from outside the box, the ball taking a kindly deflection that ensured the keeper didn;t get near it. He could have scored again when he did everything right but a great block from the defender prevented a certain goal.
I’m sure it was never in the manager’s mind to keep Ba on for the full match but with two forced substitutions he had to keep the third in reserve, the front man worked hard but the service was sparse to say the least.
Two visiting players were rightly booked for diving as they attempted to win penalties, shame this referee wasn’t in West London last Saturday…
An OK result but very average performance, Alan Pardew had asked for more from his flair players and he did to a small extent form Marveaux and Obertan, while Gosling was appalling yet again.
They say every journey starts with a single step, let’s hope we are a bit more sure footed in the coming weeks and months,
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Ryan Taylor (Vuckic 11), Perch (Tavernier 60), Bigirimana, Gabriel Obertan, Dan Gosling, Marveaux (Amalfitano 90), Ba
Subs not used: Harper, Cabaye, Campbell, Cisse
Atromitos: Itandje, Skondras, Fytanidis, Lazaridis, Giannoulis, Iglesias, Brito (Kuqi 88), Dimoutsos (Garcia 85), Chumbinho (Beljic 75), Epstein, Karamanos
Referee: Stephan Studer (Switzerland)
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