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Opinion

Newcastle 1 Sheffield United 0 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players

4 weeks ago
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First game with fans back and they created a good atmosphere as the match ended Newcastle 1 Sheffield United 0.

I definitely recognised a ditty about a fat, cockney something or other getting out of our club. The ten thousand made more noise than I’ve heard a capacity crowd create at times.

A shaky first ten minutes, in which The Blades had a couple of chances. After that, Newcastle the dominant side.

Got a bit nervy towards the end as nearly all our players appeared to get injured. Most of them being risked for longer than necessary before being withdrawn. Dubravka ordered to just play on. What does a goalkeeper need his hamstring for anyway?

I lost count of the number of times Ian Crocker got the players’ names wrong. He called Almiron, Ritchie once. He mistook Murphy for Willock at least three times in the first half alone. My favourite moment being when Murphy delivered the ball for Willock’s headed goal. The commentary went, ‘Willock’s cross… and it’s in… It’s Joe Willock again.’

Probably shouldn’t have listened to the commentary as it was the same old nonsense. We were referred to as the entertainers once and then reminded that we are one of the lowest scorers of first half goals in the division a minute or two later.

We were also informed about the intense fan and media pressure Steve Bruce has had to endure this season. Media pressure? Really?

The end of this season has been pleasant and it is quite spectacular that we go into the last game fourteen points above the relegation zone. For me though, if Bruce and Ashley are still here next season I will be dreading more of the same.

If ASM or Wilson are sold, we’ll be in massive trouble. In fact, considering that Willock has been a vital part of this rejuvenation, not securing his signing could be fatal in itself.

Nice to see our loan star getting the recognition he deserves, from the fans in attendance, as he did his limp of honour around the pitch.

PLAYER RATINGS

Dubravka – 7

Literally nothing to do. Could mark him as N/A but I’ll give him a 7 for keeping a clean sheet, taking a few goal kicks and playing through a potential hamstring injury.

Murphy – 7

Energetic as ever. Got caught out once defensively but stuck to his task other than that.

Delivered the sumptuous assist for the winning goal. Give that lad a contract.

Krafth – 6

Shaky first ten minutes but after that was solid enough. Not tested greatly.

Fernandez – 7

Was the best player in the centre of defence but didn’t have much to do.

Won a lot of headers, including some priceless ones in the dying seconds.

Dummett – 6

See Krafth.

Ritchie – 7

Unbelievable cross for Shelvey which produced an excellent save from the resulting header.

Was committed and disciplined and didn’t really put a foot wrong.

Willock – 7

Was quiet for most of the first half. Although you’d think he had double the touches if you just listened to the commentator.

Even when relatively anonymous he proved himself once again. He connected with Murphy’s perfect cross with a perfect header to give us the win.

Was quiet again the second half and that’s the reason his score wasn’t higher. If Gayle hadn’t consistently failed to put him through on one of his excellent through runs, he may have added to his goal tally.

Went off injured. Will that be the last we see of him as a Newcastle player?

Shelvey – 5

Typical display, didn’t do much of note but didn’t do much wrong either.

Should have buried his headed chance but the goalie did very well.

Almiron – 7

Vibrant as ever. Linked up with ASM well but didn’t manage to create anything himself.

Carried the ball up the pitch numerous times to alleviate any semblance of pressure Sheffield United attempted to build.

Almost created a great chance for Longstaff but for good defending.

Saint-Maximin – 8

Really bright run early on where he seemed to be trying to take on every player in a Sheffield United shirt twice in one dribble. It came to nothing but set the pace.

He loves adoration and he got plenty of it as he made a succession of unbelievable, weaving charges up the field. Didn’t score or assist but it would have been a different game without him.

Not sure he lost the ball once and the opposition were terrified of him.

I’ve never seen him play live as his signing came mere months after I vowed never to attend another game whilst Ashley owns the club. There will be many others in the same boat. I’m praying for a takeover to change this.

Joelinton – 4

Had an early opportunity but got crowded out. Other than that, was quiet.

Got injured with about ten minutes left in the half but was inexplicably kept on despite several gestures to the bench.

Had an excellent chance in stoppage time but headed about three times the height of the bar from a few yards out.

SUBS

Gayle – 3

Really poor. Can’t recall him doing anything positive.

Had two chances to play Willock in on goal but couldn’t get the ball past the defender on either occasion.

Almost had a tap in but ASM couldn’t lift his cutback over Ramsdale. Seriously lacking in confidence.

Hopefully for his sake and ours we can get him a permanent deal to a Championship club in the summer.

Sean Longstaff – 5

Didn’t do much. Almiron almost played him in for a tap in.

Carroll – N/A

Not on long enough to judge. Looked rustier than a shilling at the bottom of the Tyne.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Sheffield United 0 – Wednesday 19 May 6pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Willock 45+4

Sheff Utd:

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Sheff Utd 50% (34%) Newcastle 50% (66%)

Total shots were Sheff Utd 11 (2)  Newcastle 16 (12)

Shots on target were Sheff Utd 1 (0) Newcastle 5 (4)

Corners were Sheff Utd 2 (0) Newcastle 5 (4)

Referee: Robert Jones

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez, Krafth, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Willock (Carroll 85), Almiron, Saint-Maximin (Sean Longstaff 71), Joelinton (Gayle 45)

Unused Subs:

Mark Gillespie, Ciaran Clark, Jeff Hendrick, Javier Manquillo, Matty Longstaff, Jamal Lewis

Crowd: 10,000

(Newcastle 1 Sheffield United 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Wednesday’s win – Read HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @billymerlin

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