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Imagine The Highs and Lows If This Was Your First Match…

6 years ago
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Newcastle v Crystal Palace Match Report

Newcastle United 3 Crystal Palace 3 Saturday 30 August 3pm

A friend of mine was attending her second ever game and was excited in the same way that a bairn would be, though by the end of it I reckon she’d experienced almost every emotion that we experience as Newcastle fans.

Disbelief as the opposition scored before our team realised the match has kicked off; joy at an equalizer; dumbfounded at another goal – coming from nowhere as some fans are still taking their seats after half time; hope as a talented young player enters the field of play; spilling over with happiness as he gets a goal back; unbridled ecstasy as we go ahead and look to be winning the game – a text sent to me, saying “I’m nearly peeing myself here!” summing up that turnaround;then  frustration as we are unable to play the game out and throw away a win with poor defending.

We all know we should have won on Saturday.

Crystal Palace are a poor side, with one or two half decent players, but that’s it.  I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that Neil Warnock is a complete muppet and can’t believe he gets work in the Premiership at all.  He comes with the same game plan every time he plays anywhere.  Play for a draw, defending as hard as possible in the hope that the ref won’t see many fouls.  Chuck the ball forward at any opportunity in the hope that someone will win it and catch the opposition on the break, with fast players bombing forward in support.  Try and get a few free kicks and send the big lads up to knock the ball down into space and hope to get something from it.  My 11 year old’s team have more of a game plan than that!

However, it worked against us.

No one followed up as Krul saved from Chamakh, after a poor header by Haidara, and Gayle nipping in to score.  Warnock must have thought it was Christmas Day!  We had a lot of possession after that but all Palace had to do was sit and follow Warnock’s plan.

I was pleased on hearing the team, Gouffran was favoured ahead of Anita, showing an intent to go forward, but again, Gouffran didn’t offer much during his time on the pitch.  Haidara looked good going forward but also looked decidedly dodgy in defence.  Sissoko was ok in possession, but I thought he left Colback a load of space to cover in midfield.  De Jong was rarely involved and doesn’t look fully fit yet, with being taken off almost an admission of that.  Cabella looked good at times, but again seemed lightweight and was easily pushed off the ball.  He didn’t play to the whistle at the end of the game when chasing down the right wing.  A slight touch from behind put him off, stopped -looking for a free kick, instead of keep going.  It was from the next passage of play, where he gave a free kick away, which led to their third goal.

Janmaat deserved a goal when he just kept going as both teams seemed to want to recreate a game of pinball in the Palace box.  It was scrappy but it felt like we should manage to control this game from then on.  We did, but Warnock allows you to and tries to stop anything of any worth, as you enter the final third.  This is what happened until Aarons came on.  The young lad looked miles ahead of anyone else.  He played with confidence, looked to get behind their defence, traded passes and went for the immediate return.  He has to start next game.  Aarons fully deserved his goal and everyone went wild when he went on to hit the post soon after, with Williamson, who was probably our best defender, scored his first ever Newcastle goal by tapping in the rebound.

I and a number of other fans around me were calling for the players to hold onto the ball.  We had seven minutes to play out and should have managed it.  We will always look to get another goal if the opportunity is there and I don’t think the fans were calling for another.  For Pardew to say that;  “Perhaps we got wrapped up in the crowd, trying to get a fourth and it’s frustrating to concede”  is a bit of a cop out by itself and I don’t think he was blaming the fans, but you can all interpret that in whatever way you want. However, he does add; “you’ve got to make sure you see the victory out and we should have been better set before we conceded the free-kick for the (third) goal.”

Whose responsibility was it to get the defence set for such a free-kick?  The coaches must work on that in training, then surely the captain and the players themselves should know where to be and who to pick up.  They do so much research on teams, they must have known what to expect.  However, Riviere was left ball watching and Zaha scored, with no one else coming to the edge of the box to pick up the loose players in that all important space.  It’s not rocket science, but in defending, we aren’t at the Spot the Dog level at the minute.

I mentioned Riviere there and I was really disappointed with him today.  Yes it is still early days and unless you have the quality of Costa and with world class players around, you aren’t going to become a top Premiership striker in a few games, but he seemed quite static to me, rarely made runs and looked for it to feet, with his back to goal, only to be easily knocked off, by big, old fashioned English style centre halves.

He did have some good touches, combining well to help create our first goal and teaming up nicely with Cabella on occasion, but he doesn’t get into the positions a striker needs to take, doesn’t seem to gamble on space in the box and looks a little bit lost.  I hope he comes good, because we don’t seem to have much else at the minute, but I do really hope we get another striker and centre half before the idiotic, over the top, Scotsman finally shuts his gob on Sky, this Monday night.

I know that my friend still enjoyed the match, but, without trying to sound patronising, she’s not fully hardened to the ups and downs of football yet, or indeed what it means to be a Newcastle United fan.  She’ll soon turn into a miserable sod like most of the rest of us!

Team: Krul, Janmaat (Anita 79), Coloccini, Williamson, Haidara, Gouffran (Aarons 67), Sissoko, Colback, Cabella, De Jong (Perez 79), Riviere

Unused Subs: Elliot, Dummett, Steven Taylor, Obertan

Ref: Mike Jones

Crowd: 49,226

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