Toon walking in a Shola wonderland, Reading reeling.

Posted on August 16th, 2009 | One Comment |

Cock of the North: Shola celebrates.
Cock of the North: Shola celebrates.
A decent attendance considering, a few grey, bald patches but not too bad after scare stories of less than 30,000. A cosy looking threesome involving Mike Ashley, Barry Moat and Derek Llambias in the Director’s box was a newsworthy event in itself.

In this, the first home game since the death of Sir Bobby Robson, a minute’s applause was once again observed, as it was in last week’s game at West Bromwich Albion. But an even better tribute followed, as Newcastle United played the kind of enterprising, attacking football that even the great man himself might have been proud of for long stretches of the game.

United got off to a busy start in the first few minutes, until Reading finally managed to contain them a little, managing to get in a few nice tackles and interceptions to nip Newcastle’s attacking flair in the bud. However, single strikered Reading seemed to have great problems lauching attacks of their own, keeping the impetus with the Toon. The customary break for Alan Smith to receive his yellow card happened after around twenty minutes this time, which was pretty good going for the Leeds butcher, though he’s capable of much better.

Some very nice work generally from Gutierrez down the left flank finally paid off in the 37th minute, when he cracked one off at a very tricky angle, a good effort forcing Reading keeper, Federici, into a good save. But then, barely a minute later, Ameobi does well to latch on to an excellent Enrique cross. The Fenham Eusebio showed some composure and headed the ball nicely on the deck for an effective finish, 1-0.

Both Ameobi and Caroll were very good, with a co-ordinated partnership that proved to be more than a handful for the Reading defence. However, in the afterglow of ecstasy, Newcastle took their foot off the pedal slightly, with Reading’s Scott Davies slipped in on the left hand side, probing Newcastle’s box deeply with a shot passing right over the face of Newcastle’s quivering goalmouth. Hughton got the troops back into focus with a bit of shouting and pointing as the half time break loomed. Reading had a few stabs, most notably Ryan Bertrand, who seemed to be a pretty good player for Reading generally, but Newcastle dealt with them adequately and Reading couldn’t get on the end of them.

As I mentioned previously though, Reading attacks were fairly infrequent and unsustained, and they seem to have ongoing problems in the goal department, so I would say it was half sustained and well executed pressure from the Toon lads, and half Reading being toothless when it comes to moving in the kill, a problem we have been not entirely unfamiliar with in recent matches, though certainly not today. We seem to be becoming much more co-ordinated as a team now as the Chuckle Brothers’ revolution starts to take shape.

The second half probably saw United’s best play though. Reading had a few more attacking movements, but their lone ranger upfront, Shane Long looked very isolated. By the time the game got moving again, it was practically all Toon, with some great action in Reading’s box. Shola was still at it, marching on goal in fine style, and narrowly dragging an effort wide. It was a decent attempt though, and a great effort to carve out the chance. Barton was at it too, in what was a very solid and energetic performance for the Magpies. Nolan was the same, and it was his vision to doggedly pursue a ball on the byline that led to the best goal of the match. Another good passing move resulting in the ball being crossed nicely for Ameobi, who headed in beautifully. A great team effort altogether.

Things weren’t quite over yet though. Coming up to the seventy minute mark, another fabulous headed effort from the West End maestro, whose head was on fire today, forced a point blank save from Federici. Another patch of silky passing ensued as Reading try to find a way back against a rampant Geordie eleven. Nolan chipped in with a chance, once again saved by a punch-drunk Federici. The pressure continued until, eventually, the Reading arm of Shane Long is struck, and the referee points to the spot. Somewhat predictably, Ameobi, after almost being substituted, steps up for his penalty hat-trick, which he slots to the his left (or Federici’s right) with aplomb.

Despite the match being dead and buried now, Newcastle are still up for it, and launch straight into more focused, attacking work after the restart. Hughton decides to give some of the subs a chance to run off the cobwebs though. Shola gets his well deserved ovation as Xisco gets a go, quickly followed by Geremi coming on for Smith, who is in his usual ‘last chance saloon’ ref wise, after a yellow card and a further meaty challenge, which the referee showed mercy for. Finally, another substitution, this time enforced, as hardworking Barton seems to have another foot problem.

All in all, an excellent team performannce for the lads, and Hughton too.

Match attendance: 36,944

Newcastle United

Harper R. Taylor, Coloccini, Enrique, S. Taylor, Barton, Gutierrez, Smith, Nolan, Ameobi Carroll.


Federici, Bertrand, Rosenior, Pearce, Kebe, Tabb, Davies, Cisse, Karacan, Church, Long.

NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1088 articles on this blog.

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One Response

  1. fingers crossed re barton!! contributed hugely to midfield!! him and smith would be fantastiv together!! lets hope it wasn’t a one of for r.taylor….likewise for strolla as i would be one of his biggest critics. i have only eaten a slice of humble pie….further similar hard working performances will ensure i finish it. would like to see youngsters getting more of a go, hughton seems very reluctant to use them!! anyway, well done lads…now for more of the same