Newcastle win 1-0 but go through the (slow) motions!

Posted on July 22nd, 2009 | 3 Comments |

My amateur photography
My amateur photography
Well the weather was drab, the performance was drab and overall it was, well pretty drab.

In keeping with the theme so far, the opportunity to go and see the lads again was off the back of my own game being cancelled. But as with the Darlington game, late notice meant the only person keen to make the trip to Huddersfield was me. Note to self – get some ‘reserve friends’ who are regulars to games as a fallback. As it happens, the timing was quite tight and so it was only viable to take my own car as most sensible folk would have already left.

Shoving a lovingly crafted sandwich and some pop on the front seat I headed to the services, dieselled-up and typed the postcode into the sat nav. It told me I’d be there at 7.35, so I was a bit sceptical about my chances of getting parked and into the ground and imagined some worst case scenarios of getting there late and missing half the game or not gettin there at all. As it turned out, I made good time and pulled off the M62 at 7.20 with 4 miles to go. Which was just as well because that’s where the traffic for the ground started. Having snaked slowly to within a few hundred yards of the stadium I dumped my car strategically just off the main road and asked some lads for directions to our end. That’s when the heavens opened.

Running through the heavy rain, I scaled the steps up to The Pink Link Stand (now there’s a name surely attributed purely for comedic value at the away fan’s expense?) and paid my fifteen quid. Considering it was a wet Tuesday evening, there was a sizeable following at first glance. It was later announced we took 1654 of the 9691 in attendance on the night. The ground was one of the earlier ‘space age’ groundS although it’s changed it’s name from The McAlpine to the The Galpharm due to sponsorship changes. It’s a canny enough ground but showing signs of wear and tear now from what I could see.

We were housed in The Pink Link stand as mentioned, which was behind the goal. To the left was the main stand (The Golf Direct) with the dugouts and tunnel etc. which was where half their crowd (the quiet ones) were and to the right was The Antich Stand with the other half and a particularly noisy wing closest to us. In amongst them, of all things, was a Makem. Obviously on day release. Which made for some interesting vocal exchanges. The Fantasy Media stand opposite the Newcastle fans was empty.

Onto the game then (unfortunately)…..

The starting line-up was as follows with subsequent ratings in brackets –

Harper (7), Beye (6), Coloccini (6), S Taylor (7), Enrique (6), Barton (7), Guthrie (6), Lua Lua (7), Guiterrez (6), Xisco (6), Carroll (6)

Subs – Duff (7), Ameobi (5), R Taylor (7), Kadar (7), Smith (6), Nolan (7), Adjei (6), Tavernier (6), Donaldson (6)

The game began very much like the Darlington game and despite a greasy surface, the passing was sluggish and the tempo really low. Huddersfield put in a couple of meaty challenges early on, notably on Joey Barton but the referee was to let quite a few things go over the course of the evening.

The first chance came after a Newcastle corner and the ball dropped invitingly to Steven Taylor but by the time he shaped to shoot, the defender was in a position to block. The rebound fell to Habib Beye but he didn’t get over it and the ball ended up in the empty stand behind. Despite us getting the first clear cut chance, Huddersfield were far away the more determined and forceful. However, the chance seemed to lift both fans and team alike and another good chance fell to Andy Carroll but the end result wasn’t too disimilar to Beye’s effort before it, albeit slightly lower.

Huddersfield had a couple of half chances themselves, dragging two shots wide when in the box and having a couple of swingers into the box headed comfortably away by our centre halves. The mood in the stands was somewhat lifted when a group of younger Mags appeared from nowhere and promptly plonked themselves as near as they could to the home fans on the wing of their stand in order to do some vocal jousting. This what met with derision by the home fans but nonetheless improved the atmosphere. One particular member of the group in came for stick for being overweight. The song went something like this – “And now you’re gonna believe us, he’s going to Burger King. He’s going to Burger King etc etc”. Harsh but funny and the lad took it well responding with a ‘bellys-gonna-getcha’ kind of gesture.

Our lot in the stands were relatively subdued and only a handful (the new group in particular) were vocal throughout. Although one guy ventured out the stand and returned with a blow-up doll round his shoulders, which prompted our end to sing “What’s it like to meet your ma?” in the direction of the Makem. Just before half-time we had a glorious chance when Guiterrez made a rare foray into the box and cut the ball back. Unfortunately, our forwards were ahead of it and the ball was easily cleared and an otherwise good chance went begging.

Half-time arrived and the general sigh of relief was almost palpable.
However, the next few moments proved to be much more exciting than the football before it, as players displayed the aggression in a bout of handbags that they’d previously failed to do in the prior 45 minutes. Habib Beye was at the centre of it and clearly enraged about something but as to what it was, remains unclear to me still. It took a fair few bodies to bowl the aggressors down the tunnel and whether Beye was going to be subbed anyway isn’t certain but it was probably for the best that he didn’t come back out.

The second half started with new faces as Duff, Ameobi, Ryan Taylor and Kadar replaced Beye, Steven Taylor, Xisco and Guiterrez. The fresh faces seemed to do the trick and Duff particularly showed the desire and spark that had only been apparent on perhaps Lua Lua during the first half. There seemed to be more drive and purpose about our play. There was an early headed opportunity for both Ameobi and then Carroll but both failed to connect properly and wasted them. Hughton then sent on Smith and Nolan to replace Carroll and Lua Lua and it wasn’t long before a hopeful ball over the top was chased down by Nolan who held off a challenge in the box and lifted the ball neatly over the goalkeeper from about ten yards.

Smith had been roundly booed on his introduction for his Leeds connection and it took him all of ten minutes to respond by smashing one of their players and earning a ticking off from the ref. We then had consecutive corners which we failed to capitalise on and Huddersfield wasted a couple of chances of their own. We brought on James Tavernier and Ryan Donaldson with about fifteen minutes left. Almost immediately, a Huddersfield striker found himself bearing down on Harper in a 60/40 in the box but somehow managed to slide and lift it over the crossbar from all of ten yards.

He was saved the embarrassment of ‘miss of the night’ though because that alcolade went to Shola five minutes later. Nolan found himself in a similar position to the one in which he scored. However, having stepped round the keeper he laid the ball into Ameobi’s path. Who dallied on the ball so that by the time he swung his left foot at it, the two defenders had managed to make a barrier from what was previously an open goal and the ball richocheted to safety. Sammy Adjei made his debut before the final whistle and had some solid and decent, if not spectacular, touches. Before the end, Kadar almost put into his own net from a neat cross from the left and the resultant corner was headed just over. The ref blew the whistle to put us out of our misery but not before there was another confrontation, this time Coloccini was involved though this one was dispersed with more ease. I guess I should have expected even the handbags and posturing to be half-arsed.

And on that note, I made my lonely trip back up the M62 and A1, relatively disappointed and of the opinion that the effort made by the supporters to get there tonight wasn’t nearly matched by the players wearing that awful yellow strip. The quality is missing for definite. We have no ingenuity or incisiveness in the important areas. We are lacking ideas and fluidity in the final third still and it’s hard to see where it will come from without further recruitment. A number of our players look way off being match-fit and the impression given is that for many of them, their heart just isn’t in it. Try travelling straight from work and getting to bed late and back up early for work in the morning. It’s not a great situation but feeling sorry for yourselves isn’t going to help lads and really it’s not on.

As a final note – before, during and after the game it was made clear again what the fans in attendance think of the situation as anti-Ashley/board banners and songs were clear for all to see and hear. For what it’s worth obviously….

Good night and God bless, where’s my bloody pillow?

NUFCBlog Author: bowburnmag bowburnmag has written 234 articles on this blog.

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3 Responses

  1. Thanks for the report Bowburn Mag. 3 wins in a row, when was the last time we did that? Right off to work now. Anybody else getting used to the away strip yet?