Newcastle United v Southampton – Match Report
Sunday 24 February 1.30pm
Newcastle United 4 (Sissoko 33, Cisse 42, Cabaye Pen 67, OG 79)
Watch Cisse’s Special Goal & Other Highlights Here
Newcastle United’s French themed day looked to be going a bit flat when after only three minutes they found themselves a goal down. A simple cross into the box was followed by a simple header down by Lambert and a …simple finish on the turn by Schneiderlin, with Steven Taylor wishing he hadn’t give n the midfielder quite so much space in the box.
Needless to say, not so long ago this kind of early blow would have seen little chance of a way back but as we saw against Chelsea, United are made of sterner stuff these days.
The early goal actually appeared to invigorate Newcastle who for me put in one of their better 45 minutes of the season. I sometimes despair though of some of our fans as Southampton at times kept the ball really well which led to moans and groans in places, blaming our players rather than giving credit to the opposition. The Saints had a brave game plan of playing it from the back and then forcing things high up the pitch when they didn’t have possession.
This set things up for an intriguing first half which finally saw the visitors undone by a combination of quality mixed with route one.
A very competitive midfield battle saw United eventually on top and a great left footed pass set Gouffran scampering down the left and making a beeline to the penalty area. He then sent the defender one way and then the other before his left footed low cross ricocheted off the keeper’s foot and into the path of Sissoko, who had ran half the length of the pitch to get on the end of it.
The second goal was a total contrast, Rob Elliot hitting a free-kick cross field which saw Gutierrez and Cisse two on top with the defenders. Jonas did his job by competing for the ball which was enough to put his opponent off and when the ball dropped nearly thirty yards from goal, Papiss lashed an unstoppable volley over the head of the keeper and into the roof of the net. Breathtaking.
Just before that Coloccini had treated us to a spectacular overhead kick to clear the lines but it then forced him off the pitch which led to an all new centre-back pairing of Mapou and Taylor.
Unfortunately, it was a similar story to the first half, Elliot had made one flying save from a free-kick already and then when Santon’s forward run wasn’t covered, Southampton then swept down our right and when Gouffran just failed to get back and cut the cross out, the ball reached Lambert who supplied a very good low finish.
Forty minutes left and the initiative handed to Southampton. Newcastle though were competitive again and got their reward, an excellent quick free-kick from Cabaye picked out his mate Debuchy. His first time volleyed cross was handled by Fox and a clear penalty.
Yohan instantly took responsibility and confidently dispatched the spot-kick.
It was left to Debuchy’s full-back partner to supply the last word, taking on and beating a couple of defenders before crossing low for Fox to only lash it against his centre-back and then into the back of the net. Game over.
A game that flowed from end to end and pretty much everybody did well; Elliot could have done nothing with the goals and while Cabaye was creative, Tiote was back to best alongside him in the engine room.
Alan Pardew raved about Debuchy afterwards and who could blame him, a great performance and a player who it looks was well worth waiting for.
A vital three points that sets United up to attack the remaining matches.
Newcastle United: Elliot, Debuchy, Steven Taylor, Coloccini (Mapou 45), Santon, Tiote, Cabaye (Perch 77), Gutierrez, Sissoko, Gouffran (Anita 87), Cisse
Unused Subs: Alnwick, Marveaux, Obertan, Shola
Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw (Fox 57), Schneiderlin, Cork, David (Ramirez 65), Rodriguez (Puncheon 81), Lambert Lallana
Ref: Chris Foy
Crowd: 52,259 (1,653 Away Fans)
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