Newcastle 3 Ipswich 0 – Saturday 24 October 2016 3pm
Potential banana skin. That’s a phrase that’s going to do some mileage this year I tells ya.
As we entered this game looking down on the whole entire Championship, for the first time this season, it was easy to feel a bit confident.
I chose not to…and instead revisited a game I remember from the last Championship season, where I fixate on some strength of the opposition (in this case Ipswich’s very good defensive record) or build up some bad omen (Mick McCarthy used to manage the mackems) until I’m in a whirlwind of sweaty panic, utterly convinced we’re going to blow the match and the season and using the Wolves game as Exhibit A for why everyone can and will beat us at home.
On the day, when talking to real people, I can’t really articulate the above in detail as one will appear to be mental, so instead I settle for exhaling audibly and saying ‘potential banana skin’.
If there’s one way to banish thoughts of a slip-up of this magnitude, it’s an early goal to settle things down (yes, I think the cliche is going to be my friend this week). This was duly provided in none other than the first minute (Blimey! Crumbs!) as Dummett’s cross was flicked on by Gouffran for the unmarked Perez to volley in on the run.
This explosive opening set the tone for United to boss the first half, with Shelvey once again spraying balls around from the middle of the park as Ipswich looked on, seemingly baffled as to what to do after the mantra of ‘defend like buggery’ went out the window in 59 seconds.
To be fair to the Tractors, they almost levelled on ten minutes. When a corner wasn’t cleared and former Magpie Leon Best struck a lethal strike that fizzed against the bar with Darlow beaten all ends up. This appealed greatly to the sense of banana skinnery, but I don’t remember them coming remotely close after that.
There were to be no further first half goals but before the interval we had another weekly insight to the wacky and unpredictable madness that is Championship refereeing, as Gayle suddenly found himself through one on one with Town keeper Bialkowski, who chose to extinguish the threat by barrelling through Dwight’s legs as he went to dig out his shot.
A more blatant penalty (watch it HERE and decide for yourself) you’ve never seen, unless clearly and deliberately fouling people with your hands is allowed in the Championship and it serves our Prima Donna, big shot arses right for not knowing that.
When our prolific number nine turned his next best chance well over from close range, the fear set back in that this would cost us, left to bemoan a stonewall penalty after Ipswich scrambled home the poxiest of equalisers to deny two table topping points.
As it was, the fear was the only thing to be scared of, as the visitors never got near us again. Yedlin was utterly terrifying them with his pace down the right, Shelvey continued to own the middle of the park and Perez had his best game of the season so far. This was nailed down when he slammed home his and United’s second on 73 minutes, just as the nervous muttering was starting to peak. Matt Ritchie, magnificently lively again today, skipped into the box and squared for Perez to firmly sweep home the killer second.
Moments later it was roles reversed as Ritchie capped a fine showing with a swish third, clipping in Perez’s pass with the outside of his left foot to huge appreciation.
It was a good day for Ayoze, justifying his recall in place of Diame after Barnsley, and even vindicating his place ahead of late sub Mitrovic. This despite a considerable element of our support taking time to continually remind our Champions League winning manager who saved the club from utter ruin and disaster, that he is using the wrong formation to put us on top of the league, and should revert to a 4-4-2 in order to accommodate a forward whose commitment is without question, but struggles to put away easy chances and can get the team in trouble with ill-discipline.
The phrase ‘In Rafa we trust’ should be the absolute catchphrase of Newcastle United for as long as the great man stays here, which will hopefully be trophy-laden bloody ages.
Neither Mitrovic nor anyone else could add to the scoreline despite continuing dominance from the home side, and defeat for Norwich (albeit to our in-form next opponent x2) added to the great mood around the place.
Afterwards I thought about how often in recent years, otherwise tremendous weekends have been derailed by the misery caused by NUFC on the Saturday afternoon.
How brilliant, and easy to forget, that the positive performances can actually serve to enhance the good things in life. This continues to be great, please do so until May (and beyond).
Here are the stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 3 Ipswich 0
Newcastle: Perez 1, 73, Ritchie 78
Possession was Ipswich 37% Newcastle 63%
Total shots were Ipswich 8 Newcastle 16
Shots on target were Ipswich 2 Newcastle 5
Corners were Ipswich 3 Newcastle 6
Newcastle starting 11:
Darlow, Yedlin, Clark, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie, Gouffran (Atsu 75), Colback, Shelvey (Hayden 83), Perez, Gayle (Mitrovic 79)
Sels, Mbemba, Anita, Diame
Referee: James Adcock
(Read the reaction of Ipswich fans HERE)
(Read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s game HERE)