Duff’s class saves wor bacon [Newcastle United v WBA match report]

Posted on August 9th, 2009 | 2 Comments |

Duff cracks off a nice one to equalise.
Duff cracks off a nice one to equalise.
A good game to start the season proper, against opposition who should be challenging for the promotion places at the end of the season. Despite the the current chaos behind the scenes, including an exodus of top players, we actually played quite respectably for a well deserved draw. This included some good passages of play which were highly encouraging.

Before the game there was a tribute to Bobby Robson, marked by a minute’s applause, a ghastly and despicable innovation by God knows who, which seems to have replaced the more traditional and fitting minute’s silence. Of course, Sir Bobby is fondly remembered by both clubs, having spent the peak of his playing career at West Bromwich from 1956 to 1962.

While it was probably WBA who had the better start to the game with their opening onslaught, United’s heads didn’t go down and they recovered to gain a foothold. So, it was very disappointing when approching half-time, and arguably against the general run of play, Robert Koren managed to trick Duff into conceeding a corner-like free kick. The resulting effort by Jesus lookalike, Jonathan Greening, ended in a goalmouth scramble which saw Harper parry the ball, and WBA centre-back, Shelton Martis poking in a scrambled effort from the ricochet. Harper was injured in the scramble after been inadvertently kicked in the heed by Shola Ameobi, and after receiving treatment, he did not re-enter the fray for the second half. His replacement, Tim Krul had a very good game after standing in, making at least four excellent, athletic saves which could have been the difference between one point and none at all.

However some of the same underlying problems still dogged United in this game. While good in possession, there were still a few occaisions when it seemed as if our backline could be penetrated as easily as a Streatham strumpet when WBA counter-attacked. Smith and Nolan were decent enough in central midfield this time, especially Smith, who won the ball well in a largely holding capacity. However, there was still a dearth of creative passing from that area which needs to be solved if wor lads are going to create enough genuine chances. Gutierrez meanwhile lived up to the cliches somewhat, with some good work down his flank, but usually topped off with a disappointing final ball into the box. Duff was probably the pick of the bunch in this area of the field.

In the second half, Newcastle looked threatening, however it was Krul who was tested with the first of his spectacular saves, this time from Koren. Parity was ten minutes after the break with Damien Duff’s classy finish in the 55th minute, a result of some good interplay between himself, Nolan and Ameobi in the build up. WBA weren’t phased by this however, and soon after, they were back in our own box, with Krul once again denying the admirable Koren, and Wood shooting over in another tense scramble.

Another fairly even second half ensued with some drama later in the game, once again featuring Krul, who used his rather large feet to deny Wood. Then, almost at the death, drama when WBA’s Moore had the Newcastle net bulging again with a header which was easily offside and subsequently disallowed by the linesman.

Overall, a fairly even encounter between two teams who should be in the top group when the season reaches it’s denouement. United showed some strength with some fine passing moves while in possession, but with a distinct lack of a ‘cutting edge’ which could have sealed the game, along with the usual ‘stodginess’ in the central midfield. While our defence was fair enough for most of the game, there were still signs of fragility at times, which my colleague has already noted in his “News Roundup” for today.

Starting Line up

Newcastle United

1) Harper, S. Taylor, R. Taylor, Coloccini, Enrique, Gutierrez, Duff, Nolan, Smith, Ameobi (Ranger 90), Carroll (Barton 75).

West Bromwich Albion

Carson, Martis, Zuiverloon, Olsson, Cech, Greening, Brunt, Koren, Mulumbu, Wood (Cox 81), Moore.

Goals: Martis (39), Duff (55).

Referee: Mike Dean.

My Man of the Match: Tim Krul even though he only played for half the game.

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

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2 Responses

  1. Greetings from Rhodes Greece. Im getting married this friday so i aint been on in a while. Missed the match yesterday seems a couple of players put in a good shift. Good to see.Would have taken a draw before the match so happy enough. I hear David O leary is being mentioned for the managers job, sorry dont believe it for a second.Im tryin to keep up to date in whats happenin with the club this is the best place imo. All the best. Will try and get back on before the end of the week……….. Norn Iron Mag