Newcastle United v Reading – Match Report
Saturday 19 January 3pm
Newcastle United 1 (Cabaye 35)
Watch Cabaye’s Goal Here
I can’t think of a way that Newcastle United could have contrived to make us feel more miserable as we left St.James’ Park at the final whistle.
To be beaten by the worst team in the division was bad enough, particularly when they haven’t won away all season, but to do so after leading and looking comfortable…takes some beating.
Reading set themselves up in a very similar way to QPR before Christmas, an isolated plank up front in Pegrebnyak and pray for a 0-0.
Newcastle were understandably nervous in our current position but with the away team so negative, the home eleven were allowed to grow into the match and apart from one scare they dominated the attacking play.
While Newcastle had the chances to comfortably win the game, our reliance on such a small number of players to actually convert the chances can make it so much harder. Cisse passed up a couple of excellent chances in the first half as he struck the ball cleanly but each time hit the keeper. In the absence of Cisse finishing one off, who else is there?
The answer of course was the returning Yohan Cabaye who capped an excellent first half by curling an unstoppable free-kick over the wall and into the top corner, following Marveaux winning a free-kick on the edge of the box.
It only looked then a case of how many we’d win by as Reading were appalling and Guthrie giving us a reminder that he would never have become a first team regular at Newcastle, unless maybe if we end up in the Championship…
In the absence of any great alternatives, to accommodate Cisse through the middle the manager started with Shola on the right with the option of him drifting inside to support Cisse. Safe to say that Mathieu Debuchy will have not patrolled the right hand side with anybody quite like Shola, along with Cabaye though, Debuchy showed some excellent touches and looks a great buy.
The second half was always going to see Reading having some kind of a go as they now had nothing to lose. The visitors were ‘having a go’ but didn’t look to be going anywhere fast, while Newcastle also descended towards their level.
In our circumstances we’d have taken a 1-0 draw with a nothing second half but the last twenty five minutes saw a dramatic collapse, partly due to poor substitutions and the lack of options on the bench.
The first substitution you’d imagine was to tighten up the midfield and close out the game as Perch replaced Marveaux. The move was met by equal amounts of groans and boos, as fans didn’t agree with the negativity and also the fact that Cabaye was looking increasingly tired after his long absence.
Reading showed they have stronger depth than us, at least when it comes to strikers, as they brought on eight goal Le Fondre, who quickly became ten goal Le Fondre.
On 71 minutes he swept home a counter-attack as Santon let the cross come over too easily and Williamson was feeble as he tried to block the low cross.
The crowd’s mood then went from bad to worse as Pardew then did take Cabaye off and brought on Bigirimana, I’m guessing the consensus would have probably been for Cabaye to have gone off earlier and Obertan to come on, with Marveaux at least offering some creativity in midfield alongside Anita, who was instead then forced onto the right wing…before later being replaced by Obertan himself!
So basically Newcastle ended the match missing their three most creative midfielders that were available.
Before Obertan was introduced, Le Fondre added the winner and it was then left to Cisse to snatch at a glorious chance in the final minutes that last season he would have scored with his eyes closed…rather than looking like he had his eyes closed on this occasion.
Many booed and the rest of us who were still left at the final whistle silently left St.James’ Park, very worried about where our club is heading.
Newcastle United: Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Anita (Obertan 80), Cabaye (Bigirimana 74), Shola, Marveaux (Perch 65), Gutierrez, Cisse
Unused Subs: Elliot, Steven Taylor, Sammy Ameobi, Ranger
Reading: Federici, Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, Leigertwood, Guthrie (Le Fondre 70), McCleary (Akpan 64), McAnuff, Kebe, Pogrebnyak
Ref: Andre Marriner
Crowd: 49,411 (1,068 away fans)
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