Newcastle vs Aston Villa Match Report
Newcastle vs Aston Villa Match Report
Newcastle United 1 Aston Villa 0 Sunday 23 February 1.30pm
In my match preview I pointed to this being a potential ‘classic’.
I wasn’t disappointed…
Going into the game, Newcastle had one win in nine games, while the visitors had two victories in their last thirteen matches.
It might be a bit over the top to say Villa dominated the first half but they were by far the better team and should have at least gone in ahead at the break, if not being out of sight.
Luckily the visitors had as much confidence in front of goal as our players, with the exception of Remy, and they eventually paid for it.
One goal and Newcastle would never have got back into it, the Benteke of last season would have had a field day, though the Cisse of two seasons ago would have also lashed home the gilt-edged sitter he missed just before half-time. A rare bright spot of the first forty five minutes, at least it was until Papiss Cisse made contact with the ball!
Remy had gone close with a free-kick but other than that it was drab fare in front of a home crowd who sat in stony silence, many no doubt wishing they weren’t there but tied via their season tickets. Reports of thousands of fans chucking in their season tickets won’t have seen the tide stemmed by this shocker today.
A few half-hearted boos met the half-time whistle while the visitors were cheered by their larger than usual away numbers, boosted by their club laying on free coach travel.
Things did improve in the second-half but it would have been hard not to after what we’d just witnessed.
A bit like Villa in the first half to an extent, Newcastle had the better of the play but never really looked like scoring.
Ironically, the moment that changed everything, on and off the pitch, was a bit of ‘inspiration’ from the much improved Mike Williamson.
The unassuming centre-back making a crucial interception with 12 minutes to go, preventing an almost certain goal as Villa had quickly broken with three against two.
At that point the crowd appeared collectively to think ‘well this match has been total pants but what the hell’ and the noise came down from the terraces and inspired the players, the crowd reaction no doubt fueled by the frustration of watching the previous 78 minutes and all of the other negatives hanging around the club off the pitch.
De Jong had been on the pitch only five minutes but he looked to have gained the benefit of a bit of pitch time and then being able to come off the bench fresh against tiring opponents.
It was the Dutchman who set up what should have been the winner, he robbed a Villa defender and set Remy up for a chance even easier than Cisse’s first half glaring miss…but he hit the post, two minutes to go and surely such a golden chance missed, was the end of matters.
However, two minutes into the three minutes of injury time and Luuk De Jong inadvertently set up Remy some 12 yards from goal, he was central but had defenders around him. He twisted and turned to send his marker onto the floor before lashing past Guzan.
Nothing beats a last minute winner and players & fans celebrated as one.
It doesn’t excuse this dire match played out in front of the depressed masses but anything that puts a smile on faces is gold dust these days.
What this match most definitely tells us, is that class wins matches. Remy’s goal answers for itself but a half-fit Coloccini also showed what a difference it makes having a different level of ability on the pitch.
If these two follow Cabaye out of the door then we’ll have lost our whole spine of outfield match winners in a matter of months.
Celebrate the moment but worry about what is potentially just around the corner.
Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, Williamson, Dummett, Tiote (Gosling 89), Anita, Sissoko, Gouffran, Cisse (De Jong 72), Remy
Unused Subs: Elliot, Steven Taylor, Shola, Haidara, Mapou
Ref: Martin Atkinson
Crowd: 50,417 (2,000 Away)
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