Sheffield Wednesday 2 Newcastle 1 – Saturday 8 April 2017 5.30pm

We asked a number of our regular writers to give us a brief instant reaction after the final whistle:

Ben Cooper:

“Apart from two short spells we were never in that, so 2-1 wasn’t as bad as it could and should have been.

“Our inability to defend set-pieces will worry Benitez, as will lack-lustre perfomances from most of the supporting cast.

“Only Shelvey, Ritchie and Darlow looked like leaders out there.

“A bit ragged, a bit tired, a few injuries but still 10 points clear in second, next weekend may see us promoted.

“We will need to play better than we did today but it is over a season that you are judged and not over 90 minutes, just as well for some of our players this evening.

“Shelvey though eh? Jumpers for goalposts. Marvellous.”

Paul Patterson:

“Poor, manager’s fault.

“Plan B better than plan A.”

Kevin Christie:

“Woeful performance and result today. Totally out-played.

“A bit of determination and desire from Ritchie and Shelvey – everybody else was terrible.

“Perez is a total waste of space, Diame is a shadow of his former self, no service for Murphy when he came on, Gouffran back to his anonymous worst, Mbemba and Lascelles were both dreadful….could go on!

“Appointing Lascelles as captain is increasingly looking like a poor decision.

“Style of play has been a big let-down and this season has been far from enjoyable despite our impending promotion.

“When’s the last time we actually played well and imposed ourselves on the opposition?!

“No flair, imagination or penetration – sadly, a very un-Newcastle team.

“Will deservedly lose out on the title to Brighton now but still a decent season of consolidation from Rafa under difficult circumstances.

“Would gladly have taken 2nd place at the start of the season. Nearly over the line now. HWTL!”

Jack Lacey-Hatton:

“Shocking display.

“Worst of the season for me,

“Not suprised if Rafa is fuming, players looked complacent.


Leazes Park Ender:

“A really disappointing night in terms of the result and the performance, not to mention the failure to cash in on Huddersfield losing, and the ceding of top spot to Brighton.

“We now need them to slip up.

“The manager and the players will have to have big rethink ahead of the Leeds game. Find the solutions, as Rafa will no doubt say.

“Shorn of a few nailed on starters it has been pretty lacklustre tonight. The midweek battle maybe a factor, but no excuse.

“There is also lot of pressure on, given that we’re so close to the promotion mark, but there remains breathing space to get the job done.

“The loss of Gayle isn’t ideal ahead of the final five games. Others will need to step up. Young Perez is driving us all crackers at the moment.

“We have to bounce back from this and I think we will, but it will be nervy.

“I’m sure David Prutton at Sky Sports will be doing his knee slides, after all a stopped clock is right twice a day.”

Jamie Smith:

“Very poor.

“Ironically, our one decent spell was at the start of the second half, abruptly ended by Wednesday’s opener.

“The vulnerability at set-pieces has been shocking all season and needs to be addressed, as both goals were amateurish to concede.

“In the context of the weekend you could say promotion has moved closer as the ten point gap remains with 5 to play, thanks to favours from others.

“Unfortunately, that (favours) is exactly what we now need to be champions, with Brighton in the clear. Disappointing.”

George Stainsby:

“Well… other results went for us, so we can still get this sorted.

“But it doesn’t help when there’s not a lot of help for the defence.

“Learn from it, pick ourselves up, and move on.

“Sometimes I think we just like the suspense. Then I remember I don’t want suspense. I want to be promoted.”

Toon Bano:

“The only positive is that the teams chasing us don’t have enough games left to overtake us.

“Brighton are deserved champions if they get it.”

Nat Seaton:

“That defeat has been coming, bearing in mind our recent performances.

 “Thanks to Huddersfield and Reading cracking under the pressure, it’s not as bad as it could have been.

 “Time to focus on beating Leeds at home and have us go into the Easter weekend with smiles on our faces.”

Jamie Swan

“They will want to play us every week.

“Massively have our number and some of our lightweight bods like Perez just got lost.

“Jonjo came to the party with his best performance in donkey’s but he was as good as Big Mo was bad. Too much of that today.

“Still going to stumble over the line, whether first or second is anyone’s guess – but if we can muster up a win against Leeds we will not be far off.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Sheffield Wednesday 2 Newcastle 1 


Sheffield Wednesday: Lees 59 Fletcher 68

Newcastle: Shelvey 88

Possession was Sheff Wed 48% Newcastle 52%

Total shots were  Sheff Wed 11 Newcastle 16

Shots on target were Sheff Wed 3 Newcastle 8

Corners were  Sheff Wed 3 Newcastle 4

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Mbemba, Dummett, Ritchie (Mitrovic 78), Shelvey, Diame (Atsu 72), Gouffran, Gayle (Murphy 29), Perez

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Gamez, Haidara, Ameobi

Crowd: 28,883 (Newcastle 3,100)

(To our interactive player ratings and to add your own go HERE)

  • Jezza

    Utter shambles. A set piece is has been as good as a penalty to our opponents all season long. Hugely disappointed with the result and more so the performance tonight. Even a draw would have been good enough just to keep us inching ever closer but they couldn’t even manage that or even come close to it. Looking at the way they played tonight and our remaining fixtures I have to say we are not up yet. They could still blow it and they looked determined to do exactly that tonight. One thing is for certain, if we do manage to get promoted we will need an entire new team if we want to avoid being relegated by Christmas.

    • 1957

      Defending set pieces was a Benitez flaw at Liverpool I seem to remember, his system of zonal marking means attacking players making runs have an advantage over static defenders.

  • cornishman2

    Absolute bilge. What the hell has Lascelles in his boots…..lead i guess as he did not leave the grass all afternoon. Don,t even get me started on Dummett and Gouffran. Should have gone to plan B much earlier, until Mitch came on we did zilch in their box. Come on Rafa it all needs a good shake up

  • SH.ER

    2 things to say :

    If you’re one of the fans who just want promotion , don’t care about performance
    don’t care about the playing style or the standards , the present not the future
    the promotion is first & playing good football is the last thing
    then you will be happy because we’re still 10 points ahead…

    If you’re one of the fans who knew from day 1 we’re getting promoted anyway
    & let’s look at the performance & see how many players in the squad can make it in the prem , see how we keep the style & our identity week in week out
    see if we evolve our style further & further , then after today you will be hugely disappointment …

    • Damon Horner

      nobody considers this league a practice or warm-up for the Premier League surely? we can’t be that arrogant of a fanbase.

    • Toon Wolf

      One thing to say: you’re talking nonsense.

  • hetonmag

    The back four were absolutely dreadful the captain’s positioning for second goal was schoolboy error, if you can’t jump at least get in front of the attacker and put him off. And I won’t even go there as far as Dummett is concerned why does it seem to take an age to get the ball out of his feet, all in all a very disappointing display by the lads but we move on to Friday let’s hope for an improved performance.

  • Desree

    So it looks like we are getting promoted. I was watching Goal last night, I reckon that is what most of the fans on here expect, Hollywood!
    9 months ago we were all saying how tough a league, we lost our first two games, we were fearful of being where Villa are at. Yet here we are second, 10 points clear of third. Why are we expecting a group of players who have never played together before to be storming the league and playing flowing football? If only we had Gavin Harris and Santi Munez back in the team, instead of them deserting us so they could ruin their careers at Real Madrid. Although Glen Foy did Scout Perez so I hear.

    • Damon Horner

      I just laugh at it now. It’s a season of transition and we’re in the top two. I’d have taken that pre-season so I’ll take it now.

  • disqus_GFJ5SSXQ7o

    Mo Diame is in the team every week because?? I have no idea what he does

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      your not the only one mate

    • 1957

      He contributes nothing and is in the team almost every week because Benitez bought him.

    • Guilttripjunkie

      Let’s be honest, some of Rafa’s signings haven’t been that good. That is assuming he did actually sign them not Carr. Sels and Hanley have hardly played and Diame is a Sissoko impressionist.

  • Damon Horner

    If these players were great quality and highly consistent they wouldn’t be in the 2nd tier. No good agonising over individual performances too much. We lost to one of the toughest teams in the league and still on course for promotion. Bring on Leeds.

  • F Gonial

    Huddersfield and Brighton have better and more fluid forwards than us. Their defences may not be any better than ours but the movement and tactics of their front line takes the pressure of the defenders.
    We are a shambles.

    • Jezza

      Spot on. We should have signed Glenn Murray from Brighton last summer.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Well there`s not much you can say about a performance like like. except it`s a right kick up the a$$ & that`s what they`ll get from Rafa. lets hope Hayden & Yedllin are 100% for the Leeds game. we need them

  • Hughie_Gallacher

    Underlines what I’ve thought for a good while.

    One of the worst teams ever to be promoted to the PL.

    • Mayor Vaughn

      Jesus Christ!

  • Leicester Mag

    Clearly 2 perspectives on this, those whsee promotion as the be all and end all and those who see the reality of next season. Whatever the perspective if the team Sheet has Dummett/ Gouffran/Perez/Anita/ Colback on it then we haven’t a cat in Hells chance of surviving in the Premier league will Ashley pay £100M to make us competitive? Wouldn’t bet my house on it

    • Jezza

      I was just thinking overnight that dare I say it, we could do with another season in the Championship to further build our team because what we have got now is nowhere good enough to even just about survive in the Premiership.

  • George String

    Desperately missed a holding midfielder (Hayden, Colback,even), and gave Hooper far too much space in the first half. Better in the second half, but poor defending from the two centre-backs in particular has cost us. I don’t expect to see Mbemba again this season.

    • 1957

      But Captain Calamity will continue to keep his place…just like he did after the Wolves home game

      • Jezza

        Yes to be truthful I have never understood what Rafa sees in Lascelles. Our captain has been a liability throughout the season. So many times he seems to just stand ball watching allowing opposition forwards to get free headers at our goal.

        • Andy Mac

          and that Wigan goal was embarrassing !

  • nevfur

    Confusing to me how we always seem so poor in midfield when only playing one striker. Our squad not as strong in depth as we thought. Interesting to see who out of the injured players is fit for Friday. Need Hayden desperately but if not I hesitate to say it but Colback would do better than Diame in holding midfield. Recent performances from Gouff and Atsu so poor frankly I would pick Ameobi ahead of either. Mitro has to replace the sadly injured Gayle but no 10 spot is an unknown. Perez and Diame not at the races and can’t see us starting with two big men.

    • Jezza

      You are absolutely correct to say our squad strength is not that good. Not signing a single player in January could yet come back to haunt us by the time the season ends.

      • Damon Horner

        they need at least 11 from 18 without us scoring at all to catch us. Surely even the biggest cynic should be considering us nearly promoted by now? haha

        • Jezza

          Yes as you say Huddersfield have got a lot to do to catch us. On the other hand after yesterday’s debacle and the extremely hard work we made of getting home victories over relegation strugglers Wigan and Burton, I’m not confident of us picking up too many more points in our remaining fixtures. If thing go completely against us over the Easter weekend the lead over Huddersfield could be cut to 4 points then it will be panic stations. We are not up yet and to be truthful I’m getting a bit worried after last night.

          • Geordie-7676


          • Jezza

            I hope you’re right, I hope I am being mental but let’s wait and see. I have been through it all before in my 45 years supporting Newcastle United. I have become conditioned to huge disappointments. I was very confident of promotion before last night’s debacle but now the jitters are hitting me. We could look a lot less secure after the Easter weekend. At this moment in time it feels like our best chance of promotion is for Huddersfield to continue to falter.

          • Geordie-7676

            I don’t see your logic on that one…..we are in an extremely competitive league, 10 poi r4s clear of third with 5 games remaining. We have picked up 18 points in our last 10 matches, losing only 2 matches.

            Our current form, which has to be based on the last 10 would see us picking up 9 points from the last 5….that sees us over the line! Yesterday wasn’t a great performance, but we are still nailed on to go up!

          • Jezza

            Yes you’re almost certainly right but I still remember 1996 when we were top of the Premiership, 12 points clear with a game in hand. Admittedly that was earlier in the season and our rivals were in much better form than Huddersfield are now. Still worth bearing in mind that Huddersfield have got 6 games remaining while we’ve got 5. Then again if you extrapolate Huddersfield’s points per game ratio over the season to their final 6 games, we would only need a couple more points from ours to be sure of promotion. Funny thing is is we had won yesterday and Huddersfield had won too, we would be in exactly the same position regarding automatic promotion but I would be feeling a lot more confident than I do now.

          • Geordie-7676

            Your last statement tells you all you need to know… or lose, our situation in regards to promotion has not changed, so no need to worry!

      • Guilttripjunkie

        For 50m the squad strength should be better. I agree not signing another creative player in Jan was a mistake.

  • Toon Army AZ

    Watching a Steven Fletcher’s idiotic flapping dance made me want to puke. Glad Huddersfield and Reading also lost, but would prefer that we confidently bust the front door down towards automatic promotion instead of sneaking in the back door.

  • Mayor Vaughn

    FFS Calm down !!

  • Whickhamrobbie

    It shows stats lie We had the better ones but in honesty were battered .Good atmosphere by the Wednesday fans (SJP take note ).
    One thing though i would gladly punch that t$%T Fletcher and his horse i hate him

  • Alreet

    Really hope hayden is back soon. He gives more bite than any in that role and can push their defence back by 10 yards by pressing.

    Mitro up top for me with perez. He is put in a position that doesnt suit sometimes. He needs to be buzzing around a big man to make it work. Keep faith with atsu as long as you put the right players ahead of him he will be fine.

  • Jimblag23

    This contributor should not be published again…

    “Paul Patterson:

    “Poor, manager’s fault.”

    That’s just a really pathetic contribution. I think Rafa should apologise in person to Paul.

  • Andy Mac

    Stumbling over the line which, if it was another ten games or more, would be a great deal more painful to watch. Surely fatigue cannot be the reason for all the poor displays in the second half of this season because Ironically, when it was needed, we beat Brighton Huddersfield and Villa ?

  • Guilttripjunkie

    Is Hanley injured or does Rafa not rate his six million pound signing? I thought Hanley was signed to give physical presence against direct teams like Sheff Wed. Instead he plays Mbemba a player who struggles in set pieces.

  • Thefootballerwhocouldfly

    Reasons for the team’s performance since January in fits & starts is lack of investment from Ashley, lack of quality & depth of squad as well as players knowing Rafa will not be Manager in June…..