The words of John Hartson after watching Newcastle’s defeat to Leicester will make you think.

Newcastle fans were understandably devastated when seeing their side lose for the sixth time in the last seven matches, a game that most had marked down as one where the players had to get at least a point from it.

The fact the winner was yet another goal conceded late in a half/match just made it more cruel, especially when it was an own goal that decided matters.

However, John Hartson says it was a match that could in reality have gone either way.

When Dwight Gayle made it 2-2 he says it was Newcastle who ‘were in the ascendancy’ and the late Leicester winner was ‘very, very cruel on Newcastle’.

John Hartson declaring that ‘Newcastle will win games if they show that endeavour every week’.

Difficult at this point to feel those positives from the match but let us hope Hartson is proved right in the coming weeks.

John Hartson covering the game for BBC Radio 5 Live:

“Brilliant game of football.. Newcastle will win games if they show that endeavor every week. Leicester lots of really good players.

“It’s very, very cruel on Newcastle.

“They were in the ascendancy (at 2-2), Leicester get the break and Vardy holds the ball up well before passing it to Okazaki in the area. Perez tracks back, like all good strikers do, but he tries to poke it wide of the goal and, unfortunately for him, it ends up in the net.

“Everyone knew it was going to be a long, hard season for Newcastle.

“They’ve played really well today but they’ve been outdone by a team with a lot quality.

“It was a magnificent game between two teams who showed a lot of endeavor, they were going end to end and it was a great advert for the Premier League.

“They’ve shown plenty of character so far this season Newcastle, but whether that’s going to be enough to keep them in the Premier League I don’t know.”

During the match, John Hartson commenting after Dwight Gayle made it 2-2:

“Dwight Gayle shows great feet there, he goes through a crowd of bodies and the Leicester players are all looking around and looking at each other.

“Leicester can’t quite clear the ball, it falls to Gayle who hits it low and hard into the bottom of Schmeichel’s goal. It may take a deflection but Gayle’s not bothered about that one bit – he’s brought Newcastle back level.

“You feel there’s a winning goal in this game. On the pitch, when you come back from a goal behind from 1-0 or 2-1 you get that feeling of ascendancy in the game and a bit more confidence that you can get that winning goal.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle United 2 Leicester 3


Newcastle: Joselu 4, Gayle 73

Leicester: Mahrez 20, Gray 60, Perez OG 86

Possession was Leicester 62% Newcastle 38%

Total shots were  Leicester 13 Newcastle 10

Shots on target were Leicester 5 Newcastle 4

Corners were  Leicester 5 Newcastle 6

Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Yedlin, Clark, Lejeune, Manquillo, Ritchie (Atsu 64), Hayden, Merino, Murphy (Perez 71), Joselu (Mitrovic 88)  Gayle

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Lascelles, Shelvey, Diame

Crowd: 52,117 (Leicester 3,000)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction after the defeat HERE)

(Alan Shearer sends message to Mike Ashley after final whistle, read HERE)

(Phil Neville gives brutal overview of Newcastle team, read HERE)

  • Bowlsey

    Yes it was cruel on us the final result but you make your own luck in football. We would have done well to keep it at 2-2. Leicester have a lot more quality in their squad and you can work as hard as you like, which our boys did, but quality will show in the end as it did yesterday. No complaints about our work rate and passion at all but the sad fact is the squad, with the exception of a select few, is just not good enough for this league.

    • Jezza

      Yes how I wish we had some players of the quality of Vardy, Mahrez and Okuzaki.

      • TheFatController

        When you think we’ve had some decent buys – Cabaye, sissoko, Wijnaldum cost £20m and were sold for £75m – but the £55m just goes on dross or relegation shortfalls, it does make you realise where we could be without even needing huge investment, just an overhaul of scouting and not getting relegated !

        • Down Under Mag

          Cabaye was the worst thing to happen to us as it gave the owner some kind of impression that it would be the same with all future signings. We have also had some good talent that has been squandered or not given a chance – players like Thauvin were actually good players BUT were expected to be the ready made end product and perform miracles straight away just like Cabaye did.

    • Dillon Tovak

      It wasn’t cruel, the score should have been 3-1 really.

  • Paul Patterson

    He’s right, it COULD have gone either way, but so COULD most games. We’ve taken our points purely by CHANCE! It’s only our work rate that has got us those points, not through skill. We’ve only beaten one team convincingly and that was a rank bad West Ham side.
    Our worst problem is we take the lead too early. Once we score the games up as we haven’t a clue what to do next . .

    • Dillon Tovak

      It’s true. The commentator or somebody said when we scored against Chelsea, we did so almost apologetically, which is bang on.

  • Big Al 1967

    ‘Perez tracks back like all good strikers do’……..ABSOLUTE GARBAGE. I would suggest Hartson watches the goal back again as I could not believe what I saw and I am still raging about it today. Perez and Okazaki were in the centre circle when the move broke, Ayoze was on him but by the time Vardy turned to look up Okazaki was on the penalty spot while Perez was still just about jogging 40 yards from goal. It was then he woke from his slumber and broke his neck to get back. If he had bothered his lazy backside and tracked him properly chances are there is no own goal and we escape with a point

    • Wor Lass

      He`s been a major disappointment after the promise he showed when he first arrived but blaming him for the loss is like blaming Archduke Ferdinand for the First World war. The roots of that defeat go way back and can be firmly laid at one fat man`s door. Mind you, Rafa`s selection “policy” is becoming increasingly hard to comprehend or justify. Fatty is to blame for Rafa`s lack of genuine options but Rafa picks the team and it`s him who`s decided to discount Mbemba in favour of Manquillo, have the best passer of the ball sitting on the bench while we give the ball away and lose and just take the P*ss out of a regular scorer at international level with 2/3 minute camios – if he`s lucky.

      • Big Al 1967

        I’m not blaming him for the defeat, I blaming him for the goal and the fact that Hartson said he tracked back well. Watch the goal back again and see how Okazaki runs past Ayoze (HIS MAN) and see his reaction. If that is good tracking back I am watching a different game

        • Wor Lass

          Fair comment.

        • Kev Newcastle England

          He flicked the ball into the net.Pathetic.

      • Rich Lawson

        I’ll think you’ll find he’s actually refered to as ”Sir Les”

        • Wor Lass

          I actually had to open the thread to see what I`d said to figure this one out. Ha ha – nice one!

  • Wor Lass

    Well, we`re in trouble but we all knew that before the season kicked off. People weren`t slagging Rafa off then but we were expecting some sort of rationale behind team selection. The simple matter is that the fans don`t understand the manager`s thought processes. OK, Mitro is a loose cannon but he can score goals. Surely he should have been used more than once or twice in end-game cameos. Jonjo is also a bit of a liability and doesn`t track back like he should but yesterday`s game was basically decided by our sloppy passing while one of the best passers of the ball in the PL sat watching. What was the point of him being on the bench? Manquillo is out of his depth but the man who has, in my opinion, out-performed him at LB wasn`t even in the match-day squad. Is he injured? On top of that, we have our most influential player, the captain, injured and that coincides exactly with our poor run. I hope to God he`s back for Everton, that Dummy is fit enough to play and Jonjo can get the nod in place of Joselu.

    • Peter Graham

      Agree. What is it with Benitez and Mbemba? We are playing a team built on speedy strikers (Vardy , Mahrez etc) and we leave our quickest central defender out of the squad. Plus he’s the only one who can bring the ball out from the back and that includes the massively overated Clark who for some reason on this webiste is untouched by any criticism. There’s a reason after all those years at Villa he eas never an automatic starter. But hey, Benitez bought him.

      • Down Under Mag

        I think the problem at the back isn’t Clark, to be honest he is a decent player but needs someone next to him to cover/organise him. I think in terms of pure playing talent Clark and Lejune are our first choice…however Lascelles is an automatic choice given how much more well organised the back line seems with him there and Mmbemba is easily our most athletic player in defence. I agree that Rafa is confusing a lot of fans with his team selections, which is not goo when we are losing games and looking totally out of sorts while better options sit on the bench (or not even in the squad). It would be nice to see Aarons given a run in the side and Shelvey has to be first name on the team sheet. I actually do understand Joselu getting picked…he may be goal shy but he does a lot of work off the ball and I think thats why Benitez likes him to much and why Mitro won’t get near the team. It just isn’t doing the manager any credit when it clearly isn’t working.

  • Mike

    eh? what game was he watchin..idiot. keeper should do better but the defence looked a shambles

  • Dillon Tovak

    Played really well? We were absolutely terrible. We cannot pass, pretty fundamental to playing well.

  • HappyToons

    Hartson might not have been at the same match as the rest of us but it is always nice to hear someone in the media who genuinely likes NUFC and praises the fans.