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Match Reports

Taking my 3 kids to St James Park together for first time in 10 years – You know what happens next…

2 weeks ago

Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1 – Saturday 8 January 3pm

Well it was supposed to be a grand day out anyway…

Taking my three kids to a game together for the first time in about ten years. Unfortunately, we were given our usual dose of disappointment and despair in equal measure.

This is supposed to be a match report but I think that horse has bolted. They won, we didn’t.

So rather than assume people don’t know the score, I’m going to focus on bits of what I saw and thought – sort of having to listen to “her day at work”…only thankfully I’m not your wife and this is about football.

Getting in

In nearly fifty years of watching this club I’ve only ever been late in to three games: Bastia in 78 due to crowd numbers, plus Oxford and Cambridge in the cup. The cup games are similar as on both occasions I have sat in the lower bowl rather than my preferred L7. So I’m trying to get in via turnstiles 79-82 along with thousands of other people and about five different queues. What a total farce. Turnstiles facing the wrong way so people can’t queue properly. This needs sorting out. It took me 35 minutes to get in today so I missed the first 15 mins. If it’s such an issue why aren’t the club delaying the kick off with thousands still outside the ground?


Where do I start with this clown?

Their goal was pathetic Sunday pub football and that’s after the players have been in the pub. He comes out and makes some ridiculous attempt to try and collect or sit on the ball. As it breaks for him he then fails to pick it up and the ball eventually makes its way into our net via the contribution of some other star performers. What a shambles. I would have played Darlow today if available.

Their keeper

I don’t mind losing games and if a team battles and defends and nicks a goal then we’ve got to accept that. What I don’t want to accept is 10 mins of the game wasted from the kick off by a goalkeeper without being punished. Our players were collecting the ball for him from the first minute, the ref spoke to him at least ten times and yet no card! Why is that? The bloke was spoiling the game. Simple as. If the ref speaks to him once, twice etc etc then surely a card needs to come out.

The ref

Managing the game is important and ensuring the fans aren’t cheated out of entertainment is crucial. So when Dubravka is down for four minutes and VAR is checking stuff and their keeper is wasting time constantly, then the board needs to say much more than one minute (first half) and five minutes (second half), plus six substitutions made as well by the two teams. Basic stuff. Don’t stand for the time wasting. It spoils the game.


What is the problem here? Has he broken both his legs or what? He was missing from the squad today but he has been on the bench for 18 of the 19 Premier League matches this season and only played 27 minutes. So it isn’t simply injury and / or illness preventing him playing, no news on why he was missing today.

Today our players were all out of position. We had four or five wingers all trying their hand at centre forward. This is against league 1 opposition. What a lot of people don’t realise is the impact this lack of a focal point has on the rest of the team. We have chances falling to Murphy that Gayle would have buried. We have Trippier in a great position but with nobody in the middle to pass to. We have ASM running up blind alleys and not delivering crosses as there’s nobody to cross to. And we have players rotating round trying to fill the gap and in doing so diluting their own performance. We need a goalscorer! And quickly.

Shifting the ball

In a game there are various ways to get past a defensive line.

One way in is to have a player like ASM etc who can beat players on his own.

Another way is to shift the ball quickly and pass through the opposition’s block. I say quickly, as if the passing is done slowly then the opponents are given the time to shift across and nullify the threat. Time and time again today we had long passes or passing movements that slowly found their way to ASM or Fraser and by the time the ball arrived at their feet, a 1 v 1 was suddenly a 1 v 2 and no way through. Longstaff and Shelvey are the main culprits here.


What on earth has happened to this bloke? He’s slower than me and seems to have lost the ability to play football. I really don’t get how he has gone from hero to absolute zero. There has got to be a medical reason for this as the change is both glaring and huge.


To win a game of football you have got to be quick, creative, determined and in tune with your teammates. Longstaff is none of these things and needs to leave. In fact he was that bad today I don’t think even Rafa could rescue him. He slowed every move down and just contributes nothing apart from the odd five yard pass and even that’s normally sideways.

Katie’s first shirt

My daughter made a big sacrifice to come along today. She dropped out of her morning game v Port Vale ladies and also her Staffs County game in Cardiff later on. She said she didn’t mind and was really looking forward to the match. She put supporting her team first.

Although she wasn’t rewarded with a win she was rewarded with her first ever shirt that wasn’t handed down from her brothers. The game might have been a disappointment but I’ll never forget the look on her face as she put her number 6 “Shearer” shirt on. That was one very proud daughter. Btw her club number is 6 and her middle name is Shearer – my only contribution to my kids; names. The lads are really jealous!

So there we are. Another game, another defeat. I’m not sure how I feel about the future after today. On the one hand there’s the excitement of constantly being on newsnow on my iPad while the video and sound are off in my work meetings and then there’s the traveling home after losing to Cambridge, wondering how on earth anyone is going to make a silk purse out of this collection of sows’ ears.

We need five or six new players now and not just as replacements…but to have an uplifting effect on the five or six that aren’t replaced.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1 – Saturday 8 January 3pm

(Half-time stats in brackets)



Ironside 56


Possession was Cambridge 42% (40%) Newcastle 58% (60%)

Total shots were Cambridge 7 (4) Newcastle 23 (10)

Shots on target were Cambridge 4 (2) Newcastle 9 (6)

Corners were Cambridge 1 (1) Newcastle 12 (5)

Crowd: 51,395 (4,830 Cambridge)

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Trippier, Krafth, Schar, Ritchie (Manquillo 78), Shelvey, Sean Longstaff (Almiron 60), Murphy (Willock 60), Fraser, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Dummett, Hendrick, Anderson, White

(Newcastle United owners meet with players after Cambridge disaster – Read HERE)

(Eddie Howe reflects on Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1 “I thought we played OK” – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s defeat – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Cambridge 1 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)


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