My last two trips to Watford would probably go down in the top 10 worst performances I have seen from a Newcastle side. Not to be outdone though, this current crop gave it a right good go to make it into my top 10, especially on their first half performance.

Ayoze Perez described the performance as embarrassing, and he would be spot on. For those of you that didn’t go to the game, or read the Chronicle; Chris Waugh wrote “Newcastle United conjured up an excellent second half display.”

It should have read “Newcastle United were absolutely rubbish in the first half, but a bit better and showed a bit more urgency in the second half.”

I’m by no means a journalist in any shape or form but c’mon, anyone who thought that second half display was excellent (which included only 1 shot on target) should probably get to a few more games!

Having spent most of my time in London over the past 4 years, I have learnt to appreciate trips like Watford, which isn’t quite London, a lot more than the likes of Stoke! I don’t have any personal feelings towards Stoke one way or another, but from an away fan perspective, I am glad they went down yesterday as it is a right farce to get to… unlike Watford.

A sunny 3pm kick off, meant you can drink in London before getting the short train ride to Watford, or likewise there are plenty of pubs in the area. On a similar note… I hope Fulham come up instead of Cardiff, for the exact same reason.

Rafa made a few changes to the starting line up with Manquillo and Murphy coming in. Bringing Murphy in was a positive change for me, although Ritchie has been brilliant, when you pay £12 million for a young lad, then you have to give him a chance. I know it looked like he had been hung out to dry, but for his confidence, it would be nice to see him get another chance on Wednesday at Wembley.

As for Manquillo, I’m not sure why Yedlin didn’t start if he was fit enough to be on the bench and play 20 minutes. Maybe he needed a rest? But with only 3 games left to play, and no World Cup for him this summer, then I’m not sure that was the case.

The Match

Newcastle were 1-0 down after only 2 minutes. Some terrible defending from Lascelles as he let Gray turn and run at him, followed by a mix-up between Paul Dummett’s brain and his legs, meant that Doucoure had the chance to set up Pereyra, who to his credit finished well.

I haven’t seen a lot of Watford this year but Doucoure in the middle of the pitch was an absolute powerhouse. From the away end he really doesn’t look like a footballer at all, lanky, with his legs as skinny and as long as the entirety of Dwight Gayle, he manages to deceive the eye. Unlikely, but I wouldn’t mind having a look at him this summer!

We then should have been 2-0 down as Newcastle were broken down again with Gray getting behind Dummett and forcing a good save from Dubravka. I wrote in my ratings that Dummett was “the least worst defender” on the day, but as I write this I am realising that was probably a load of rubbish. Dubravka would also make a double save to stop us being 3-0 down after only 25 minutes. Needless to say, Newcastle had been run ragged at the back.

Lascelles has been my player of the year this season but he was bullied by Troy Deeney yesterday.

It really should have been 3-0 when Dummett gave away a needless penalty. Many in the away end were furious about the decision but having been sat in the front row, it was literally right in front of me and Dummett could have no complaints. It was probably a soft penalty, but when you dive to ground in the box, and don’t make contact with the ball, while also making contact with the player, then you’re asking for it.

Dubravka stepped up to the plate again with a brilliant double save to deny Deeney. If we manage to sign this guy for only £4 million in the summer, it will be a great piece of business! Goalkeeper, and perhaps right back, is the only position I am not particularly concerned about this summer.

That was as bad a first half as I have seen from Newcastle at Watford… and that is saying something.

The second half wasn’t much better to be honest. At the very least though, Newcastle had a bit of urgency about them and a bit more drive… but they were by no means excellent, or even that good. Matt Ritchie came on early which helped the side, and when he was joined by Yedlin we started to look like a threat.

Our goal came through Perez who was one of the few players in both halves that did ok – or at least looked like they were up for it. It was a brilliant cross from Manquillo (although that’s all he did all game) and an even better finish from Perez. That might look like an easy finish on TV but let me assure you it’s not!

The closest we came to an equaliser, after putting a bit more pressure on, was Mariappa nearly putting it into his own net with what I think would have been his first touch.

It didn’t happen though, and in truth, it was never going to happen for a side that just looks so weak going forward.

Rafa Benitez

Again, I want to stress that I am no fan of Mitro like a lot of other fans seem to be. However, I would love to know Rafa’s reasoning for getting rid of him and sticking with the likes of Gayle, Perez, Joselu etc… plus bringing in a similar player in Slimani. He has touched on the idea that Mitro doesn’t quite fit into how he wants to play, but I lost count of how many times yesterday Kenedy or Murphy received the ball out wide, looked to cross, and realised there was nobody there.

For a team that relies on width, and relies on Shelvey’s ability to pick out a pass, or put a good ball in the box, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

The Fans

Absolutely brilliant yesterday. No boos at half time or full time which is always nice to see, although maybe that was helped by the buoyant combination of excessive drinking and good weather!

It will be another sell out away crowd on Wednesday night, hopefully we will have more to cheer!

Last Bit

I do feel bad for being so critical of a side who have been brilliant as of late, but it is just an honest assessment of what was a second terrible performance in the space of a week.

My only gripe is that everyone, including myself, has made a big deal about how at the very least this Newcastle team is different from others because even if they lack the ability, then they will always give their all. Yesterday, in that first half, there were certainly a few who didn’t seem to be giving their all.

I don’t know if that’s harsh given they have met their expectations this season, but when people have paid lots of money to travel to Watford, and will do the same again on Wednesday night, then it doesn’t sit well with me.

Lets just hope they were saving themselves for Wednesday night ey? A win at Wembley would be the highlight of the season.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Watford 2 Newcastle 1

Goals:

Watford: Pereyra 2, Gray 28

Newcastle: Perez 55

Possession was Watford 39% Newcastle 61%

Total shots were Watford 11 Newcastle 9

Shots on target were Watford 8 Newcastle 1

Corners were Watford 2 Newcastle 5

Referee: Roger East

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Manquillo (Yedlin 67), Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Murphy (Ritchie 53), Shelvey, Diame (Merino 84), Kenedy, Perez, Gayle

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Hayden, Joselu, Haidara

Crowd; 20,375 (2,000 Newcastle)

(At least Rafa’s half-time ‘chat’ woke NUFC up at Watford – Read HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Watford 2 Newcastle 1 – Read HERE)

(Javi Gracia admits Watford got lucky – Read HERE)

(Rafa Benitez still believes his team can beat anyone if they have this – Read HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn

To feature like Jonathan Drape-Comyn submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here



  • TheNutJob

    if you read the chron those idiots are talking Europe next year & how many players Rafa will to buy in the window. these are the idiots who last month said that Newcastle would be looking to replace Rafa if he left with Luis Enrique.
    😂😂😂😂

    • Jezza

      Expect Pardew, nowt but loans and free transfers and a target of 17th place and you won’t be disappointed.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        That Rat will be waiting for the call

      • kingfisher

        Spot on Jezz. If Rafa left and Pardew returned, sjp would still be sold out and there would be a waiting list for season tickets. The sheep will keep on going, regardless of being shafted by Ashley!

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          🐑🐑🐑🐑🐑

          • kingfisher

            Nice one Moose 👍👍

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            It`s going to be a long Summer

        • colin marr

          So supporters who stay loyal and attend matches are sheep.
          and you must be a glory hunter.

          • kingfisher

            Sorry Colin, but after supporting Newcastle for over 50 years from 1968, I can hardly be called a glory hunter.I have travelled thousands of miles and spent God knows how much supporting theToon, but there comes a time when you’ve got to say, enough’s enough.Ashley has drawn a line and I refuse to cross it.

            I honestly get where you’re coming from, having previously been in the same frame of mind as your good self,however my conscience will not let me attend sjp and thus support Ashley and his regime and put money in his ever bulging wallet.
            Mike Ashley sees loyalty as a weakness and preys on it.He knows that he can lie to all and sundry (even in court) and treat the fans with contempt, and he is safe in the knowledge that those who attend regularly will put up with his penny pinching and lying regime, keep attending and do nothing about it !.
            I turned 65 last month, and am more than confidant in saying that if Ashley remains in charge for the foreseeable future, we will never, ever win anything, and each season will be the same old,same old fighting relegation.

          • Jezza

            Excellent comment. That’s exactly how I feel too.

          • kingfisher

            Yes Jezz,and judging by most of the comments on here,we are not in the minority.

          • Peaky

            I tell you what Kingfisher you pull some corkers out on a Sunday…

          • kingfisher

            Aye Peaky, a glory hunter after 50 years? I think not 🤣

          • TheNutJob

            great post

          • kingfisher

            Aye Nutty, a 65 year old Newcastle United glory hunter 🤣

          • Wor Lass

            One of the best posts I`ve seen on the Mag – spot on, mate!

          • kingfisher

            Cheers Wor Lass.I hate being called a glory hunter. 👍👍👍

          • Lakeland Mag

            Bravo !!

          • colin marr

            Kingfish thanks for your thoughtful and well reasoned post .I would never criticise genuine fans like yourself.
            I started regular attendance in 64. at least we saw the Fairs Cup era.

          • kingfisher

            Thanks for your kind words Colin. It’s good to be able to have lively discussions without resorting to personal abuse like some so called “fans” on this site.I nearly mentioned the Fairs Cup in my original post.One meaningful trophy in almost 50 years, it truly beggars belief.👍👍👍

  • ghostrider

    If anything I think Rafa was guilty of believing Watford had shot their bolt and were already on the beach.
    I think Rafa’s mindset on Yedlin and Ritchie was to keep them fresh for Tottenham.
    Just my opinion but it seems that Rafa is looking to go out on a high by taking out the two big teams left for us.

    The first half was less than terrible and the second half did look a lot better as soon as Perez scored a great goal.
    But the reality was, it was more down to Watford nerves rather than just us upping our game.

    We’ve survived this season by adopting a wolf pack mentality of graft till you drop and give no time on the ball to the opposition.
    It worked earlier on and then the players got tired and likely bored, then we suffered and then they were allowed to express themselves when the loans came in and we did fine.
    But then Rafa reverts back to square one in the last few games and the players have to motivate to endure it….but struggle and pay for it.

    Onwards and hopefully upwards eh?
    Let’s finish 10th Rafa…it’s time to play football and have a real go at Tottenham and Chelsea.
    3 points should secure 10th but 4 will nail it, so let’s get 6 and screw it right down.

  • Leazes.

    What a load of tripe! You want London clubs to stay up so you personally can have a nice beer?

    • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

      No i want London clubs to stay up over the likes of Stoke or Cardiff because it is easier and cheaper to get to.

      For instance;

      London club: A straight 3 hour train ride to the game from Newcastle, lots of pubs, easy to get to the ground, no massive walks (except Spurs) – can drink on the train, go with your pals, easy to get back to after the game (trains run as far as 10.30).

      Stoke: In the middle of nowhere – not on any obvious train route, stadium is in the middle of an industrial park with no pubs around. You have to get more than one train, makes it difficult to get home for a decent time etc.

      Cardiff: Multiple train journeys, very hard to get home after the game unless you go by coach and get home for 3am.

      Not tripe.

      • Philippines

        I agree, not tripe at all. That Leazes fellow is just a sad rissole but every social media site has one or two like him. Your article is very good.

        • Oval85

          Even though it is all negativity from him, he does have a point more often than not.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            It`s fact not fiction with him & most of the time he`s right,
            more so when it comes to Ashley & his motley crew.
            anyone who after 11 yrs thinks Nufc will progress under him is an idiot

          • Oval85

            Funny, you just repeated what I just said in a obnoxious way and even throw a cabbage at fatty. Bravo…

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            The Pig will eat anything

          • Peaky

            🤣😂🤣😂

          • Oval85

            Funny and true…

          • Billmag

            Yes him and a few others that are negative on here, probably one person with a few aliases.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            What`s to be happy about after 11 yrs of krap off Ashley,

          • Billmag

            No to all 5 questions you put, but you and a few others on here constantly day in and day out rabbit on about the same things, why don’t you just wait and see what happens in the close season if nothing does happen I will be the first to say ok you where correct.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            the same what happens every close season
            Jesus Christ,
            this will be the 11th time you`ll be waiting for Ashley to change course

          • Billmag

            Not waiting on Ashley at all I know what he’s like, I’m just pinning my hopes on Rafa being able to turn this club around.

          • TheNutJob

            he can turn the club around no problem, if he had the backing but he won`t get any joy out of Fatty

        • Leazes.

          I’m blocking you Kevin.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            😂😂😂😂😂

      • Billmag

        You go to away games Jonathan unlike that idiot who sits in his darkened room pulling everyone to bits that has an opinion, keep up the good work son because the likes of him can’t even write a column in the Mag, he just criticises anyone that does.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        You`ve just proved his point Jon, you want the easy journey & not the hard one, which of course is common sense by any stretch of the imagination but that`s exactly what he`s saying

      • Ba ba.

        100%..correct.. 👍

      • Leazes.

        Three hours to Kings Cross then another hour to whichever club you are trying to get to…. (two if its Tottenham and there are no pubs in Tottenham) yes there are pubs in London but so far apart you would need a taxi and a small mortgage to pay for your jaunt by rail.

        Too many London clubs in the Premiership as it is….. and if you are so keen on it then can I suggest you start supporting Chelsea!

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          Bit harsh on the lad Leazes, he does his best

          • Leazes.

            He’s an absolute shower!

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Yesterday`s line up
    😊 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎
    The keeper is the 1 not on Holiday

  • Ba ba.

    Ship them out if there not up for it.. .. Fans travelling all that way to be served that bollix

  • Leicester Mag

    Fans are either glass have full or half empty. Difficult though when Ashley keeps pi33ing in the glass !

    • Andy Mac

      Fatman loves pi33ing on the fans, not just in their glass. The only problem is that he keeps telling NUFC fans its just raining 🤔
      SADLY MOST FANS BELIEVE HIM !

  • mactoon

    My disappointment was Diame, reverting to strolling around the pitch. When he puts it in he is a powerhouse but yesterday… meh!

    • TheNutJob

      he was rubbish for over 18 months & suddenly found some form but he cannot keep it up.

  • gallowgate26

    Whoever get’s to the PL is there because they deserve to be. However I really dislike how London/North West centric it is becoming. I’d like it if more regions were represented. Maybe five North West clubs (Manchester/Liverpool and one of the Lancashire clubs), five South East/London clubs. I wouldn’t want more than half the league to be London/Manchester/Liverpool. I’d like to see the two Welsh clubs, then four North East/Yorkshire clubs, two Midlands and two other/South coast. I wouldn’t care if Everton went down an were replaced with a Lancashire club though, their fans are so arrogant considering they’ve won nowt and most people wouldn’t even notice if they disappeared off into the championship.

    • Albert Stubbins

      Everton shithouses!! It’s great being able to write that!!

  • TheNutJob

    Hoss to start on Wednesday

    • Albert Stubbins

      Start what? I wouldn’t let him start me car!!

      • TheNutJob

        he`ll be chomping on the bit
        🐴

    • colin marr

      when he leaves they’re gonna retire the shirt.

  • Peaky

    Money grabbing cheats should never ever prosper in any kind of sport…it’s a total insult to their fellow professionals…so on that note…come on Mark Williams….

    • TheNutJob

      i see leazes is in pit bull mode
      😵😵😵

      • Peaky

        😂😂😂
        Aye and peeing folks off by the dozen…

      • Peaky

        Are you packed & ready for your jollies yet ???

        • TheNutJob

          nearly, MMM is, Mr perfect with his Ray Bans
          😎😎😎

          • Peaky

            😂😂😂
            “Here Come The Men In Black”…
            Wor Lass is about tonight should I mention you’re popping in on the way to ‘Club Tropicana’…???

          • Wor Lass

            I`ve already said I `ll be out that week – whenever it is!

          • Peaky

            🤣😂🤣😂🤣

          • TheNutJob

            good i`ll drink all your drink and just order takeaways
            😂😂😂

          • Wor Lass

            You can go round to the Mackems – they`ve got loads of McCains but you`ll need to take your own cheese.

          • TheNutJob

            i`ll send Michael around to them

          • TheNutJob

            he`s not right in the head

          • Wor Lass

            I heard that!

          • Wor Lass

            You won`t be able to get to that pool bar – our defence and midfield`ll be there ahead of you. They`ve been resident for a couple of weeks now.

          • TheNutJob

            true

    • Albert Stubbins

      How did they even let him play again? He was rumbled 100% FFS.

      • Peaky

        Exactly….and Stephen Lee got a 12 year ban…Parrott etc are sugarcoating this too much…Higgins should not be even playing…

        • Albert Stubbins

          It’s just plain wrong.

        • Albert Stubbins

          I’m watching it now. Howay mark lad. Higgins bores me to death anyway. Nowt like his namesake Alex. Now that was entertainment!!

          • Peaky

            Aye you’re right…Alex was pure entertainment…remember when he played Jimmy White in a classic semi final sometime back in the 80’s….

          • Jezza

            I remember that one. 1982. An epic semi final. I think it ended 18-16. I remember Higgins clearing up in the final frame from a seemingly impossible position when he came to the table.

          • Peaky

            That’ll be about right…although nowhere near a maximum 147 they say its the best break ever…

          • Jezza

            Yes I think it was only in the 60’s but as you say one of the best ever breaks. I never liked Hurricane Higgins’ lifestyle choices or his behaviour but what a player he was.

          • Peaky

            I was in Birmingham in the early 90’s with work and stayed in the same hotel as Stephen Hendry was at the time for some tournament…lovely bloke…had drinks with him over a couple of nights…very grounded,down to earth and a great sense of humour.

          • Jezza

            That’s good to know especially as he would have been number one in the world at the time. Snooker used to be great, I really used to love the game but it has lost all its appeal for me these days.

          • Leazes.

            Its boring

          • Weyhhadaway

            But it makes her leave you alone while you nap.

          • Albert Stubbins

            Was the penultimate frame mate. He then went on to win the last frame to win it. Best match ever played imo.

          • Albert Stubbins

            82. I have a signed picture of the two of them together. Loved them both but especially Higgins. That semi in 82 Higgins produced what is generally accepted as the best break ever at the crucible and it was only 69!! A total clearance under the most terrible pressure. It’s on YouTube for those not old enough. Watch it and feel it for yourselves is all I can say. Pure theatre.

          • Jezza

            Higgins is a disgrace to snooker. A corrupt rotten to the core money grabber and an extremely boring player who’s number one tactic is deliberately slow play to frustrate and unsettle his opponent.

        • Jezza

          Agreed 100%. Higgins is a disgrace to snooker and the reason why I no longer watch the game.

      • TheNutJob

        he should have got a life ban

      • Jezza

        The disgrace to snooker has got some very powerful equally corrupt friends in the upper echelons of the snooker establishment.

  • TheNutJob

    El clasico 1-1 good match

  • thewildchimp

    To be honest, I was kinda in doubt if we hurried with the positive evaluation of Dubravka, because it was “1 shot, 1 goal” in a few matches prior, but he really showed what he’s capable of in this one. I really hope they can’t f-up this transfer.

  • Weyhhadaway

    The next week is a wash. Just look forward to next season.
    Or not if there is no investment or takeover.

  • TheNutJob

    Just off for a 3 mile run
    🏃 🏃 🏃