Ram-shackle Newcastle have no answers at Pride Park.

Posted on February 10th, 2010 | 50 Comments |

Derby's Shaun Barker completes the 'Ram-Raid'.
Derby's Shaun Barker completes the 'Ram-Raid'.
I might have known.

After spending the day having a lot banter with the Forest fans who were on jury duty with me telling them all we had to do was produce something like the performance we did against Cardiff a few days earlier and I would be a very happy bunny thank you very much. But that was the killer punch. We didn’t produce the performance and looked for large parts of the match like a team of strangers, which is not surprising when half the team didn’t know each other just over one week ago.It also seems we don’t like travelling to the East Midlands, with results this season against Forest, Leicester and now Derby all being testament to that.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I thought I would be late for this one so foot down, get parked 5 mins from the ground and race in. No time for anything to eat or drink and just got to my seat as the teams were being announced. Joy of joys, the same team as Friday evening. Hughton going 4-4-2 away from home, Nolan captain and Smudge on the bench.

After attempts by the announcer to whoop up the crowd – the dramatic ‘the teams are in the tunnel’, 2 mins until the team appear etc, out they both trotted into the cold night air with the Mags in their now familiar mustard and custard ensemble. I waited with bated breath for the same high tempo 15 minute opening witnessed at St James’s only a few days earlier, but in fairness it never arrived.

Maybe my expectations were too high, but Derby were averaging only one goal a game, had a poor defensive record, had lost half of all matches played this season and were 18th place in the league at the start of the game, so I guess I could be forgiven for thinking we were in with a reasonable chance of taking all 3 points. However the only ones who looked up for the match were Derby who certainly had the upper hand for the first half hour. Only a couple of minutes into the match and a penalty was demanded but rejected for Jake Buxton’s shove on Andy Carroll who had been trying to get on the end of a Routledge cross. Not for the first time that night the decision didn’t go our way.

The first half hour were dominated by Derby. I didn’t think Danny Simpson had a good game at all as he made lots of errors and was caught for pace on several occassions. He did look as if he was injured again early in the match but played on, so whether that was at the root of his performance I don’t know, but certainly not his best game in a black and white shirt.

Fitz Hall had a decent performance and seemed to distribute the ball pretty well. I wasn’t sure about him early in the match but thought he improved as the game went on.

Kevin Nolan was his usual slow self and made 35 year old Robbie Savage look like a 21 year taking on our midfiled. Savage was booked mid way through the first half for a dodgy challenge on Routledge and was fortunate not to be red carded. This was followed by the usually derisory catcalls towards Savage from our lot.

The inevitable first goal from Derby arrived in the fortieth minute, knocked in from a few yards out by striker Rob Hulse. Ironically that produced our best spell, with Stephen Bywater saving from both Wayne Routledge and Kevin Nolan. So we went in for the first half 1-0 down.

Second half was pretty much of the same although we did start quite brightly. Carroll had the ball in the net within a few minutes only to see the referee give a free-kick for a foul on Routledge in the build up. Hunt then blocked a goalbound effort from Nolan. Gutierrez started to torment the Derby right back and put in his usual massive amount of running but sadly to no avail.

Unfortunately, Guti was deemed to be at fault for bringing down Michael Tonge in the area in the 58th minute. I didn’t think the ref was going to give it but the linesman and crowd thought otherwise and he capitulated. Soon, the penalty was slotted straight past Harper by the best man on the pitch in my opinion, their number 10, Kris Commons, who played a key part in each of their three goals. Nolan protested too much and found his name in the book. To be fair it was a very soft penalty and they were really lucky to get it.

The third goal arrived courtesy of Shaun Barker soon after the penalty and it looked like we could have gone into meltdown. We seemed to have no real answers and certainly needed to try something different. The constant hoofing the ball up the field was embarrasing although Wayne Routledge did have a decent game and at least it was good to see someone run with the ball down that side.

Hughton decided to go for bust with a triple substitution soon after the penalty and Ameobi, Lovenkrands and Smudge came on to try to change things but to be fair it ws a mountain to climb. Danny Guthrie did force a late save from Bywater but it was immaterial really. We were really outclassed and outfought and certainly didn’t look like league leaders. Mind, by this point we weren’t top any longer as West Brom had taken three points from their match and replaced us in number one spot.

Well, we just have to put it behind us and chalk it down as one of those nights. To me we looked like a bunch of strangers playing football, which I guess is inevitable when you look at all the new faces in the team. Despite the running and the effort we achieved nothing and Hughton needs to have a long hard think about how to rectify some of the issues before our visit to Swansea on Saturday, which will be another one beamed live across the country.

Some of the usual problems were there for all to see with the lack of the creative midfield player still apparent, but this time our defence didnt play well as a unit which inevitably lead to their three goals. No short term solutions on that issue due to the length of time some of our regulars will be out.

Oh well, this is Newcastle so these results are to be expected. Thrashing a top league side 5-1, then a few days later being soundly beaten 3-0 from a team hovering over the relegation zone.

Some things never change.

UPDATE: Match highlights video.

NUFCBlog Author: geordie deb geordie deb has written 38 articles on this blog.

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50 Responses

  1. well you can only call it as you see it,well at times we tend to lift our game against better teams heres hoping

  2. Excellent summing up of the night.

    Simpson and Gutierrez had stinkers, the former out paced and out fought, the latter losing posession whenever receiving the ball (nothing new there).

    Ref also had a crap game, but Derby deserved the win.

    Never mind … roll on Saturday.

  3. “Derby…had a poor defensive record”
    Good report, but at least do some research. Derby had conceded 1 goal in their previous 5 games (now 6 games)

  4. Chris Hughton really is an idiot. He should have listened to the fans and played a 4-4-2, starting with the same line up as he did against Cardiff.

  5. TSOG

    “Derby…had a poor defensive record”
    Good report, but at least do some research. Derby had conceded 1 goal in their previous 5 games (now 6 games)

    Fair enough regarding their short term results. I was talking about their defensive performance over the season where they had conceeded 41 goals in 29 games versus our 17 in 28 games.

  6. TSOG says:
    February 10, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    “Derby…had a poor defensive record”
    Good report, but at least do some research. Derby had conceded 1 goal in their previous 5 games (now 6 games)”

    True enough TSOG, yet they still had a poor goal difference going into yesterday evening’s game, so they did have had a very poor defensive record before that. Fair play to ’em though, they have picked up alot recently.

  7. Workey,
    Not long since you were praising Hughton, now he`s an idiot ?
    Expect the pack to be at full bey, after Hughton`s ass before long.

    Got to face facts, this side is not good enough to compete in the PL, regardless of the few bob Ashley just spent (on 2nd.tier quality players)
    Another gamble that may have gone brown.
    Not saying we can`t achieve promotion, but if or when we do it`s going to take a much better side than the present one, to survive.
    When we were leading the league, it was all about money how we were a happy dressing room and doing it without the big salaried merceneries.
    Fact is cheap players and their cheap salaries plus happy dressing rooms are not a recipe for a successfull side.
    With fifty million per team being disbursed between next seasons PL teams, one would think clubs would do whatever they had to in order to achieve promotion. Apparently not in our case, being we were so cheap we got all second choice`s, over a few hundred thousand quid.
    Look you dont do it in the PL on the cheap Mr. Ashley, you gotta spend, talent costs money.

  8. Chuck says:
    February 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Not long since you were praising Hughton, now he`s an idiot ?”

    I was being sarcastic, Chuck. Hughton DID do what the fans were screaming at him to do for once. Instead of being more “defensive” for an away fixture, he played 4-4-2 and used the same line up as he did against Cardiff.

  9. Chuck says

    I believe Worky was speaking very firmly tongue in cheek there Chuck.

    Also we know the side isn’t good enough to compete effectively in the Premier League but we aren’t there yet so why worry about it? As long as the side is good enough to get us out of the Championship that’s all we have to worry about. I’m sure like all promoted sides there will be an overhaul to weed out and sell on the players who wont make it but make good Championship players then the others that remain can be bolstered by new signings or Premiership quality. Hardly rocket science. lets see if Ashley will splash a bit of cash when we go up, or if he has a buyer lined up.
    You also pick us out as the only club who wont do whatever it takes to get promoted. Tries telling that to Forest who’s manager is furious the board wouldn’t sanction any new signings in the transfer window so he has to make do with a smaller squad than we have and no new players even though they are fighting to achieve the same goal as us.
    Have you seen any of the new lads play? I wouldn’t say they are all bargain basement at all. Look at Andy Cole if you take that analogy. Came from Bristol City I think and cost a pittance, and yet look how he turned out. By the same token big money doesn’t always by you quality – Luque etc

  10. fortunately I have been giving Toyota drivers a wide berth – always make sure they are ahead of you rather than behind you.

  11. WORKEY
    Woops! sorry, too subtle for me, missed it.
    Still believe the pack will be after Hughton, before long.

    They are bargain basement whichever way you look at it, not only, but second choice yet.
    I really dont care about Forest or their problems.
    Believe it there`s no Andy Coles among this lot and nowhere close to a Philip Albert.
    As far as big money not allways buying quality, true, but in general, git what you pay for.
    As far as planning a return to the PL I would have started buying PL quality players during the last window, to help ensure a return, that plus add a few more come summer, rather than buying half a team at that time, takes time to bed in and gell.

  12. Chuck – they are bargain basement only when others are paying for them – if you had to pay for them you’d want value for money.

    At a time when the whole world is focussed on the EPL and English football in general because people have spent way beyond their means – and the fact many could go out of business once the house of cards starts tumbling – it still astounds me that people can come out with lines like that. Have you an inability to learn? (Remember many of us were stating this 2 years ago)

    In January NUFC spent about 13-15% of the total amount of money spent by all clubs combined in all of the English leagues – and youre still not happy. My god……

    Can anyone show me the way to a money tree – Chuck wants to spend more money we havent got……

  13. can see where you are comeing from on some points chuck,first you have to have the cash,also there are a lot of epl players could not handle the ccc,thats why SOME jump ship when relg

  14. Chuck,
    mate, no totally skilled prem player is gonna move to a champs team in jan, no matter how ‘nailed on’ promotion is.
    The only reason they would, would be because we were paying way over the odds for their services.
    So your dream is actually impossible man.
    We all get what your saying, but in the cold hard real world of pro football, it ain’t happening, no way, no how.
    They’ll ‘consider’ it IF we get up, that’s the facts of life down here.

  15. I was at the match last night and decided to read the geordie views on here.
    I am amazed at the negatives, even worse than what we had when we really were poor earlier in the season!

    I think you are being too hard on your team and not giving Derby the credit they deserve. We are on a good run of form and conceding very little at the moment, the reason for this is simple, we have our influential players back fit and in the team. The likes of Commons, Hulse, Green and Barker were missing for large chunks of the season but are now fit and it shows. We had 16 players injured at one point and last night was the first time we have been able to name an unchanged team this season!

    My point is that everyone considers us as relegation strugglers when the truth is we are a couple of wins away from the top 6 and you would have been looking over your shoulders for us had we had the rub of the green with injuries.

    Watch us go now we have players available and fit, you have nothing to worry about as Newcastle and West Brom have the best 2 squads in this league by a mile at the moment and Forest have started their slippery slide (they can’t win at Pride Park either)and they will have to settle for play-off misery as Billy Davies is rocking the boat at the moment and is heading for a serious fight with the transfer committee they have at Forest.

    You just played us at the wrong time!

  16. Worky – I don’t make them, I’m on the supply of spare parts side of things – business is booming :lol:

    Deb – You know the slogan, ‘The car in front is a Toyota’, just make sure it stays that way :lol:

  17. Toonsy
    ‘Deb – You know the slogan, ‘The car in front is a Toyota’, just make sure it stays that way’
    LOL never a truer word spoken

  18. Ramsfan,
    i think that’s fair comment mate.
    Some of our lot what it all & now mate.
    You deserved to turn us over, you turned up, we didn’t.
    Couple of odd ref decisions but, hey ho!
    Win some, lose a stack.

    All the best for the rest of the season, provided of course you don’t step on our toes again. :)

    But if you can see ya’ way to mash a couple of our rivals, gan reet aheed.

  19. Ramsfan

    Not sure how you think we are ‘not giving Derby the credit they deserve.’
    In my review I stated the best man on the pitch was Kris Cousins – Derby player
    I said Robby Savage was running round like a 21 yr old rather than the 35 yr old he is.
    I said we were outclassed and outfought by Derby.

    We didn’t play well. Our entire back 4 were only playing together for the second time – 3 of our first choice back 4 are injured. Half of the team were only playing together for the second time.
    The penalty you were awarded was soft – fact.
    Derby deserved to win as they took their chances, we didn’t.
    We started off the match as league leaders and you were in 18th place in the league, however you want to look at it. Because we are disappointed in our teams performance does not mean we are not giving credit to Derby for winning.

  20. Hey we have the Baggies in our next away match, we drew 2 each at our place and that was before we got some form together. Get a fiver on us!

    Good luck for the rest of the season even though you won’t need it, save your luck for next season!!

  21. Deb,
    i think they were saying we were being a bit hard on wor selves.
    But y’right about our back line though.

  22. ramsfan,
    cheers mate,
    get stuck into ’em.

    a bit of lady luck would be nice for next season.

  23. ramsfan – If you can’t beat West brom thaen can you at least mangle some of their key players? Not seriously like, just enough to keep them out for most of the rest of the season?

  24. geordie deb
    I was referring to all the comments I have read from the geordies today rather than any specific comments by you, Derby have been labelled as relegation strugglers due to our form up to the end of 2009 which is fair enough. My point is that we are a much changed team now with injured players returning to fitness and form and we will give every team in this league a run for their money if we can keep them in the side.

    When you look back on this result at the end of the season I hope you will see that this poor result for you came against a side that was just hitting form and heading for a tilt at the play-offs (fingers crossed).

    I hope we can be in your position this time next season, that will be the hope of 23 other teams as well so go easy on your players and manager, they will get you there I have no doubt.

  25. geordie deb
    its always interestin when fans say ‘it was a soft pen’, I would say your defender was a bit ‘soft in the ed’ as he didnt need to challenged and clipped Tong’s ankle so its a nailed on pen.
    Don’t blame officials for poor decision making from players!

  26. A ‘touch’ doesn’t constitute a foul though mate, that’s goes some way to prove how pathetic the game has become.
    Used to be called cheating/diving.
    Not saying someone has to have a broken leg to get a pen, but many pens are ‘won’ these days.
    It just turns into an excuse for the divers.

  27. I have to say I agree with everything ramsfan has said. We were absolutely sh1te earlier in the season but with players coming back from injury we are looking like a half decent team now….
    Thought Newcastle looked a good side going forward last night (defence was crap mind) and, at 3-0 up with 10 mins to go, I still thought you might get something out of it!!!!
    Credit to our boys for defending as well as they did.

    geordie deb
    Yes, Commons was the best player on the pitch, he usually is when he wants to be….shame it’s not every week!
    Good match report by the way.

    Don’t stress my geordie friends, sort thy defence and you will p1ss this division!!

  28. right or wrong,its nice to hear well mannered derby fans for a change instead of some of the shit we get from some fans,way of the world i surpose

  29. viallis says:
    February 10, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    “Don’t stress my geordie friends, sort thy defence and you will p1ss this division!!”

    The defence has been great this season, viallis. The thing is though that the main three (Enrique, Coloccini and S.Taylor) were all injured last night. Now the new ones who played yesterday evening seem to be very good aquisitions too, but there was a whole defence which had only played together for one game at most. I’m not taking anything away from Derby, they have been very well recently considering their form earlier in the season. However, while you can drop in one new player in the backline, it’s very hard to expect a totally co-ordinated defence when you have to drop three in all at the same time.

  30. Definately mate, it’s only in the last 6 to 8 games where we’ve been able to play a settled defence and, as if by magic, our results have picked up!!

    Good luck for the rest of the season

  31. It’s nice to see some decent fans to be honest. The majority we get on here act like pr1cks!

    Fair play Derby and best of luck for the rest of the season.

  32. viallis says:
    February 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    “Good luck for the rest of the season”

    Ta viallis. Same to your lot as well, except for ‘Lily’ Savage perhaps. ;-)

  33. @ stardust
    well as we have said all along. If he cant afford to run the club, sell it for a reasonable price!
    You complete fool !

  34. Sometimes it is defeats like these that are necessary to remind us to not become complacent. In truth, I do not care about winning this league but am more concerned about acquiring an automatic spot in the EPL. Indeed, winning the league would be nice but it is not as important as regaining out EPL place.

    I only hope this performance sparks the sort of response that will see us start another winning run.

  35. @ stardust: Agreed. I would think with all this talk about EPL having spent, and grasped beyond both their means and reach would bring about some for of reticence among those who call to “splash the cash”.

    Wenger no doubt must be laughing now. Look at Liverpool, Man utd they will find themselves having to sell Rooney, Offer Scholes, Giggs and Neville new contracts and perhaps resign David Beckham to sell even more shirts.

    Trust me all it takes is one club to fail to pay it’s debts and the creditors paint all the clubs with the same brush.

  36. michael12 – Your right about the 1 club failig hitting others. If one club fails the all of a sudden ALL clubs become more of a risk in the eyes of creditors. More risk = greater rates = higher debt repayments.

    We saw it when Leeds went belly up, look how much money was spent on transfers at that time, it wasn’t much at all!

  37. What a buncha beancounters, think it was your money and before y`all attempt to explain how “it is”, you only pay for your seat to be entertained, nothing more.
    If you want to watch a bunch of second raters in a second rate league fine.
    If you want to watch the best it costs.
    With fifty million a side projected for each EPL team this comming season, the reason investors from the US, Gulf States and East Asia are buying up clubs and even selling their US sports franchises, are the possibilities of enormous profits over the near future.
    So please get out of that parochial mentality, you want to make money and have a decent and entertaining side , first you have to invest.

  38. Chuck – Will these massive profits wipe out debts that US investors have laden on UK clubs such as Man Utd and Liverpool?

    Get real man, wake up. We have to watch a 2nd rate team because we are in the 2nd tier of football. I forgot, our superstars were a roaring success last season weren’t they? No! Now where are they? Shipped off with a 2nd thought about Newcastle.

  39. TOONSY,now where are they;martins cant get a game at wlof,bad in afr/n,duff hitty missy at fulham,owen,bit part m/u fergie said to be moving him on in summer,vicd now finished baye, a/viila cannot get game could go on, only one decent boom at spurs,the saying is if you pay peanuts you get monkeys,our monkeys 60-100k mmmmmmmmmmmm

  40. Also, Chuck, you act like it’s going to be a £50 million bonanza one-off payment. TV money doesn’t work like that!

  41. ICE DOG
    All playing good football with there new clubs, along with others not mentioned, besides what has that got to do with whats happening, it`s history.

    Dont get your point, let me explain it in idiot terms,
    Each EPL club will receive fifty million pounds per club, from tv revenue next season and probably more in the forthcomming seasons, get it?
    And will these amounts wipe out the debts of US investors ?
    @ fifty million a year and increasing, obviously, fifty million plus gate revenue and shirt sales and other revenues, thats a lotta dosh.
    And certainly when compared to the present second tier earnings, thats my point, it`s not as if MA cannot afford to splash a bit of dosh around in order to guarantee access to the Pl and the big money available
    It`s not brain surgery, duh !

  42. Chuck – So clubs don’t have things to pay out? Players dont get paid, bills dont get paid? Your acting as though all the money coming in is profit, it’s not. GET IT???

    Last time in the EPL, we were turning over £100 million, with a playing wage bill of £70 million. That only leaves £30 mill to pay for EVERYTHING else, staff wages, police, the lot.

    TV money is not paid all at once, they dont go “here ya go, £50 million quid for ya”. It’s paid in installments throughout the season so there is no lump sum.

    You seem unable to grasp that we are in the second tier and thats the calibre of player we can attract at the minute, end of. We have spent 10-15% of the money spent be ALL clubs in the transfer window. We have added numbers to a thin squad, the only new player that would make it into the starting 11 barring injuries is Routledge.

    Granted, if we do go up, THEN we SHOULD have an edge over signing better players than the other teams who come up with us. As a club we have the infrastructure, fanbase and earning potential to compete, but our reputation has taken a battering so it will take time to repair that.

    Then again, I suppose you want European qualification at the end of the next season if we go up?

  43. If you look at the Derby goals we had more than enough bodies in the box, but they seemed to react incorrectly or too late…. the players need to sharpen up at the important times i.e. when the ball comes into the box, fighting for the second ball etc…also the golden rule of preventing the winger crossing the ball into the box went doon the netty. We have creative midfielders in Dany Guthrie and Barton…what we need are more athletic players who stay awake at important times.. plus of course coaching tactics which find the best pattern of play…step up CH…