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Opinion

3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Rochdale 1 Newcastle 1

3 months ago
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Saturday afternoon ended Rochdale 1 Newcastle 1.

Newcastle United controlling the first half and should have had the game won by the break, only going in 1-0 up though thanks to some feeble finishing.

Rochdale the better team in the second half though, hitting the post, equalising and almost getting a winner in the closing stages.

Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives following the game.

This time it is Jack Lacey-Hatton:

POSITIVES

Almiron’s goal and performance

It feels a long time ago already since his winner against Crystal Palace but Almiron’s confidence has undoubtedly shot up as a result of his goal that day.

He was the main driving force for United in a first half we actually dominated for the vast part. To see him score again with a fine finish is a major plus point from the game.

He deserves a good spell of form after all the work he has put in since arriving 12 months ago.

The first half performance

On the whole, our first 45 minutes was a pretty good display from a patched up team and they deserved to go in at the break with a larger margin than a single goal.

Rochdale know we aren’t used to possession and so choose to sit deep and narrow but we moved then around with ease. Both Longstaff brothers showed composure in the middle of the park and Yedlin & Atsu were giving Rochdale constant problems down the flanks with their pace and trickery.

If Joelinton had buried a simple one on one chance, I think we would have won fairly comfortably.

We should still go through to round four

Whilst the final half an hour was truly wretched, the fact is we are still in the hat for the fourth round draw (somehow) and need to take advantage of that.

If we put out a decent team in the replay (hopefully we have a few more players available) we should still get through and hopefully still give the FA Cup a decent crack.

Hopefully nearly losing to league one opposition will serve as a wake up call to some of the players who didn’t pull their weight today.

NEGATIVES

Joelinton

Quite simply a disgrace to the number 9 shirt today.

His display lacked any guts, skill, passion, or even effort. Not even trying to stop the move which led to the equaliser when the ball was merely yards away from him was criminal.

Bruce should have hooked him in the second half, I don’t care if Sorensen is only a developing player. There was no way Joelinton’s presence on the field was ever going to positively benefit Newcastle United in that second half. Why our manager hasn’t taken him out of the firing line yet I don’t know.

Even if Carroll and Gayle were not fit for today’s match, they have been in previous weeks yet our Brazilian forward keeps lumbering around the pitch looking worse with every game.

Either way, a new striker is a must in the transfer window. If Gayle is sold or Carroll picks up a new injury, then we may need two. At this moment, even though other options are limited, we would be far better off without Joelinton in the team.

The inability to control the game

The injury to Muto seemed to take away our main attacking threat in the second half which was unlucky but Newcastle still should have controlled the half far better.

The introduction of Ki Sung-yeung should have seen us retain possession and slow the tempo down but actually Rochdale seized the initiative and we were left looking desperate.

Bruce talked post-match about running out of players available, and he does have a point, but the 11 we had out should have had too much nous and quality for Rochdale, who had offered nothing in the first half. A black mark for Bruce and the players unfortunately.

Another FA Cup embarrassment

The points will be made about how we can never have a proper FA Cup go when our Premier League position is under threat. And yes the timing of the third round games, straight after a heavy Christmas period, always baffles me. This cannot excuse though just how abject our recent FA Cup record is.

We used to be a proper cup club, with real tradition in this competition. Now it has gone beyond a joke. The FA Cup might still not be a realistic chance of silverware but it should at least offer some hope. Hope that has disappeared for so many fans in the last six months.

Every year with every pathetic defeat it gets eroded that little bit more. We have to do something right this year and only go out if it is too decent opposition.

Today’s second half was an embarrassment and the club should be ashamed such a brilliant away support was served up that. Awful.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Rochdale 1 Newcastle 1 – Saturday 4 January 12.31pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Almiron 17

Rochdale:

Wilbraham 79

Possession was Rochdale 34%, Newcastle 66%

Total shots were Rochdale 11, Newcastle 18

Shots on target were Rochdale 4, Newcastle 5

Corners were Rochdale 3 Newcastle 12

Crowd: 8,593 (3,200 NUFC)

Referee: David Coote

Newcastle team v Rochdale:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Krafth, Fernandez, Hayden, Atsu, Matty Longstaff, Sean Longstaff, Almiron (Ritchie 64), Muto (Ki 53), Joelinton

Unused Subs

Darlow, Lejeune, Allan, Sorensen, Cass

(Rochdale 1 Newcastle 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s draw – Read HERE)

(Mike Ashley on how it ended with Rafa Benitez “Joelinton was the test” – Never forget : Read HERE)

(Steve Bruce says mission accomplished “The idea was to come here and still be in the draw afterwards” – Read HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @JackLaceySport

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