We are top of the league! Toon triumph 1-0 over toothless Foxes.

Posted on September 1st, 2009 | 8 Comments |

Dan the man.
Dan the man.
Black and white, sitting on top, doing alright! That’s Newcastle United, after another win in front of the watching Sky cameras puts us in the driving seat after five games. Leicester City came to town and although The Foxes showed wily endeavour in the first half, it would be hard to argue that the result was anything but a fair reflection of the game overall.

Having secured some match company for a change, I managed to borrow a season-ticket from an old mate who couldn’t make it. He still sits in the same seat we secured when the Sir John Hall stand first went up and so it was a flashback to my younger years as my temporary match mate managed to buy a ticket for my old seat.

Managing to break the car parking ticket machine at Durham station, we jumped on the 18.35 train, hopeful that we wouldn’t return to a £60 fine. The train got us into town with plenty of time spare and by the time we collected his ticket and made our way to the Sir John Hall stand, we also thankfully missed the downpour that some unlucky punters didn’t!

A couple of beers and a pie later and we took our seats just below the Leicester fans and below and to the left of ‘the noisy section’. The atmosphere cranked up as the players lined up and with both sets of supporters in decent voice, everyone, including the players, seemed keen to defy the elements.

I was intrigued to see Coloccini was missing, although it’s since been said that is due to internationl duty, and quietly considered whether that was a significant decision leading to his departure. I guess we’ll know by this time tomorrow. There was also what I believed to be a surprise inclusion for Geremi, though with hindsight I realise that the squad is literally so thin now that when playing Nolan upfront or in the spearhead of a five-man midfield, Geremi is one of the few experienced players we have left. Quite scary really.

The game began relatively slowly as the players found their feet on the greasy surface. Newcastle had two genuine shouts for a penalty after crosses were hammered into the arm of a Leicester defender but nothing doing. The Leicester midfield, particularly (and I’m hazarding a guess here) N’Guessan had a couple of decents runs and they managed some half decent balls into the box. Simpson also seemed a little unsteady under pressure from Howard and Fryatt. Harper was called into action before long and needed to pull of a great point blank save from Howard’s header and then a cross shot from the left.

Meanwhile, up at the other end, Nolan missed a decent chance when he failed to connect properly with a ball zipped across the box. Ryan Taylor frustrated with some poor delivery in the final third and Enrique and Guthrie also found it frustrating trying to gel. Without natural widemen we struggled to find shape which led to Guthrie and Geremi swapping wings but to little effect. Nile Ranger, made his full league debut in the absence of Ameobi, Carroll and the departed Xisco. And he looked very much a boy in a man’s league, struggling to make an impact as he and Kevin Nolan chased some wayward passing. Nolan eventually appearing to drop deeper in search of a foothold in the game.

The first half ended with the scores level at 0-0 but having already shown more guile in the first five minutes, Ranger held off a challenge to lay the ball into Guthrie as he made his way into the box. With a drop of his shoulder, he pulled the trigger and unleashed an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net and the Leicester keeper had no chance.

From that point on, we began to dominate more and although otherwise neat and tidy Leicester could only manage direct balls in the final third which either Taylor or Simpson dealt with or alternatively the ball ran harmlessly through to Harper. Ranger began to grow in confidence and his hold-up play was very encouraging. A similar pattern of play which led to the Guthrie goal, gave Nolan a great chance as Ranger held the ball up and dropped the ball off to Nolan on the edge of the box but an almost replica powder puff shot from the first half was gratefully collected by the keeper.

Throughout the second half, to a man, Newcastle showed the fighting spirit we’ve longed for and while it wasn’t the prettiest in the first half, some of the football in the second half was very tidy and the keep ball sessions encouraging. Geremi had snap shot fall just wide almost immediately after Guthrie’s goal. Later, Barton watched his speculative effort sail over and following a deliberate manuouevre, Ryan Taylor’s whipped free-kick saw Steven Taylor connect just a little late with his wrong foot and the ball ended up in the side netting.

We saw the remainder of the game out in a professional manner as first Vuckic replaced Ranger who received a standing ovation and goal hero Guthrie made way for Donaldson and eventually Barton made way for Kadar. All three making their league debuts. There were a few anti-Ashley moments and limited pro-Shearer support but again tonight was about the players on the pitch and the two guys in the dugout who continue to defy the circumstances they’re in. Perhaps we should expect it because they’re professionals after all but either way they’re doing the business and it was the Mags who were singing in the rain as we made our way back to Central Station and not even the incessant rain and the badly organised late night train service could dampen our spirits.

There’s a helluva long way until the end of the season but let’s enjoy these moments anyway. Sing once, sing it twice, sing it again – we are top of the league……

Us: Harper, Ryan Taylor, Steven Taylor, Simpson, Jose Enrique, Geremi, Barton, Nolan, Guthrie, Smith, Ranger.
Subs: Krul, Vuckic, Donaldson, Kadar, LuaLua, Ngo Baheng, Tozer

Them: Weale, Neilson, Brown, Hobbs, Berner, N’Guessan, Oakley, Fryatt, Wellens, Howard, Gallagher.
Subs: Logan, McGivern, Dyer, Waghorn, Adams, Morrison, Andy King.

Crowd: 38k+

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

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8 Responses

  1. Rod – a refreshingly honest critique or just a good Bank Holiday Monday?

    Or a bit of both? :)

  2. Areet lads? Took me son up to level 7 last night. Had a bloody good night, plenty of singing. Had to stand up for the whole match like the good old days. singing “were not gonna sit down….shove your seats up your arse” Funny.
    Thats some staircase to go up and down mind. Get a great view of the game from up there, bit like watching subuteo. lol
    Dont know whats happened to the PA system though, total garbage. Couldn’t make head nor tails of what was going on at half time. Any clues?
    Any way good result from the lads, good to see some team spirit. And I’ll be back up at level 7 again for the QPR match.
    Howay the Lads.

  3. Beardsleys Boots says:
    September 1, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    “Areet lads? Took me son up to level 7 last night.”

    Brainwashing the poor lad for a life of pain and suffering, just like we’ve all had. Well done Beardo! ;-)

  4. I was a stones throw away from you Boots! In the old upper tier of the Sir John Hall. Great atmosphere up there where you were. Tried in vain to join in and kick it off where I was but there weren’t many takers and a few empty seats. Used to be rammed back in the day every game from the year it went up.