A win at last! Birmingham v Newcastle match report

Posted on February 16th, 2011 | 35 Comments |

Jonas Gutierrez, Newcastle United
Man of the match?
Goals from Lovenkrands and Best give Newcastle United all 3 points against Birmingham City.

We were out of the traps faster than a supersonic sprout and within 90 seconds we were one up. A decent run up the wing from Enrique resulted in his cross being blocked, but it rebounded only as far as Gutierrez who provided the perfect cross for Lovenkrands to half-volley past Ben Foster at the near post.

We continued to dominate for about 10 minutes and could have had a second when Lovenkrands played in Nolan but unfortunately his shot was soft and straight at the goalie.

Birmingham eventually started to come into the game a bit more and some uncharacteristically sloppy defending from Enrique saw him dispossessed in dangerous areas a few times, one of which allowed the towering Nikola Zigic to get a shot at goal, forcing Harper to make the save.

There was a worrying moment as Tiote and Coloccini managed to nut each other as both attempted to clear the ball. Both players were grounded for a few minutes but Coloccini’s superpowered hair – which contains hidden air bags – had cushioned the blow enough to get him back on his feet and Tiote – who’s just hard – followed soon after.

David Bentley made most of the running for Birmingham and looked their most dangerous player, which eventually got on Nolan’s nerves enough for him to upend Bentley and collect a yellow card for his troubles.

Craig Gardener looked to have a decent chance on goal but missed and then it was our turn to attack again. Enrique put in a great cross to the far post that looked set to drop perfectly for Lovenkrands to volley in from a few yards out. Unfortunately Best interjected and headed over the bar. It was a moment of poor communication between the two strikers but, over all, that’s one aspect of their game that is improving.

Just before the end of the half, Harper looked to be in some trouble after falling heavily on his elbow in a challenge with Zigic but he recovered after a minute’s downtime and saw things safely through to the half-time whistle.

The second half started much the same way as the first with us running hard at them from the off and this led to our second goal on 50 minutes. It came from a Gutierrez cross again, this time headed in by Best from a few yards out. 2-0 to us.

Oba Martins still has incredible pace but he struggled to beat our offside trap or make any real impact, so he was substituted for Cameron Jerome after 58 minutes. This nearly proved to be an inspired move as Liam Ridgewell played in Jerome and forced Harper to save.

Lovenkrands and Best nearly created a goal at the other end on the break but somewhere during that Lovenkrands seemed to pick up an injury. He played on for a few minutes but clearly wasn’t right so he was substituted for Nile Ranger on 64 minutes.

David Bentley was once again Birmingham’s biggest threat but – thankfully – he’d often just try to take on one player too many, much to the frustration of his team mates.

Tiote – who had dispensed with the world’s largest snood that he’d been wearing during the first half – took a long shot which was saved by Foster and then Birmingham had what was probably their best chance of the game. Ridgewell set up Zigic for a header he really should have put away but, fortunately for us, he didn’t.

At 75 minutes Alan Pardew started to shut up shop, taking off Best and bringing on Guthrie, leaving Ranger as the only striker. Birmingham for their part brought on Kevin Phillips for Seb Larsson and we had to face some inevitable pressure as Birmingham pushed forward for a goal.

Corners from the left and then the right tested our defence but it stood strong and on 87 minutes Pardew brought on Campbell for Gutierrez, shutting up shop even more with a five man defence, and we managed to play out time.

Over all, it was a solid display from our entire team although Gutierrez probably edged it as man of the match for me.

The win takes us to 35 points, which would have been enough to avoid relegation last season, and leaves Birmingham just 3 clear of the drop zone. I think Birmingham will survive too though.

After the game Alan Pardew said:

I think it was evident that the players we have can fill the gap after Carroll.

The pleasing thing is that the two strikers showed effort and commitment despite the pressure that is on them.

We came into this game with momentum after our draws against Arsenal and Blackburn and it was really about getting the start right.

We started faster and that made the difference and we also passed the ball well on a tricky surface.

Whilst Alex McLeish said:

We’ve had a fantastic month really in terms of results since the game against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

There have been some inspired performances but tonight we looked a bit flat.

To lose the first goal so easily as we did and so early goes against what we were like at the weekend when the concentration levels were phenomenal.

I think there was a bit of fatigue. One or two players looked a bit tired and I am not going to hammer the players after one performance like that.

So, onwards and upwards for The Toon!

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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35 Responses

  1. Just like told you all Yesterday. a 2-0 comfortable win. got the scorers wrong, but i would have taken the win if steve harper had scored

  2. I always said Lovenkrands was a premier league player he just needs a gd run of games and I’m sure the goals will keep coming. Gutierrez was immense more of the same please.

  3. Great stuff from jonas last night! at last some end product, hope he keeps it up, good win away from home to an inform team. TOON TOON

  4. The last time I was at St Andrews was in the early 80s when the wall collapsed and killed a kid (I was in the away end with a leeds fan). Besides the tragic events of the wall collapsing I do remember that the atmoshpere was electric and hostile.

    What a different place st andrews is now. A better stadium but their support was poor to say the least. There were some pretty cheesed off fans outside the ground though !!

    We fully deserved the win though and I never thought I would see Jonas putting in the crosses for both goals!

    Everyone worked hard to a man, and it was a great team performence. HWTL :)

  5. one word describes how i’m feeling this morning “buzzing”!!!!

    We can now go into the next two home games without any pressure which will hopefully allow us to play our best football and continue to pick up points! A haul of 4 from the last six available at two tough premier league grounds is a fantastic achievement from the lads!

    Had we not picked up points we would have been looking over our shoulders and things start to get a little nervous! We can now look forward to the remianing games and a top ten finish is not beyond us! After spending practically nothing on new players; losing Andy; losing Chris; the injuries we have had; smashing 5 past sunderland….this could turn out to be a wonderfull year for us!!!

  6. If Jonas can play like this every game, He will be one of the best winger in Europe. He worked so hard to improve his left foot and it showed in the game, Perfect crossing. Keep going on El Galgo ! HWTL !

  7. Good result, but can we follow it up with improved home games against Bolton and Everton.


    “Europe calling Geordie boys”

  8. A quick word on Jonas too; i have been demanding he be removed from the team after his last few games! Last night i thought he was terrific! A real threat; he carried the ball with purpose; was far more direct and came up with two great crosses which were both despatched to perfection!!!!!

    nah nah nah nah nah nah nah na na nah….Leon Leon Best Leon Best…Leon Leon Best :-)

  9. Plus a good couple wins will see us overtake the scummers as they have a few tough fixtures coming up and besides they have peeked this season and are now on the slide.


  10. The only thing that would put the icing on the cake would be us to attempt at least to try and secure the services of jose, tiote, barton and even jonas after last night. I cant see it tho.
    We have an awesome midfield at the moment, not including Ben and Dan. Nice to keep it that way into next year and challenge. Maybe even eurpoe this year, we can dream. But great result!

  11. Who,s with me in saying that AP will turn out to be a very shrewd aquisition by MA. The difference in style of play now is very noticably better than that of CH and Ashley was astute enough to see this coming. Much thanx are due to CH for holding us together throughout our sojourn to the netherlands, but we are a much stronger unit under AP than most of us can have expected.
    It is also good to see that without our traditional Newcastle No9, we are finally playing as a team with a level of confidence I have not seen for many many a year.
    We are playing superb team football. We are playing for eachother. We are a very strong UNIT!, and given the safety of PL survival, we can tie down our better players and look forward to some great times in the not too distant.Haway me bonny Lads.

  12. Still got Steven Ireland to come in as well, Shola ,Tayls and Ben Arfur all back for Bolton……………bring it on baby !!!!

  13. lads the best result of the season…that more a less keeps us up..now we can play with freedom..for the rest of the season and see were we end up..players can now sign up new contracts in the coming month..great stuff..keep ben arfa for the man u game and beat them and arsenal win the league..that would top the hole season off..

  14. Great start to the game by the lads, totally at the races.
    Nice goal made by Jonas & finished expertly by PL at the front stick (something i’ve been ganning on aboot for yonks, even ac never did it).
    Completely contained brum throughout the first half & a great stop by Harper kept us on top.
    Again, we came piling out of the traps & again Jonas delivers a top cross that Best gets his heed to, despite big pressure, great goal.
    They visibly wilted after that & even their last gasp was pretty easily mopped up by our great defense on the night. Excellent 3 points away, with another clean sheet.
    Pity the ref saw fit to penalize JB for less than nothing, he seemed dying to card him, creep!
    & dishonorable mention for brum awful pitch, simply not premiership standard.
    All in all a great win, with a great team performance, where everyone put a great shift in.

  15. I think that there should be a ban on the ‘C’ word (Carroll) I am sick of reading every headline or sentence starting with life after Carroll or some similar opening line. He has gone get over it you unimaginative journo’s!

    Its not like he was with us for 5 seasons and actually lived up to the expectations and scored 20 goals plus a season, aya maybe we would be missing him then!

  16. TOONEYE,aye m8,wor jackies gone,wyns gone s/macs gone a.s.is gone cannot live in past move on thats life whos next?

  17. TOONEYE Not only the Andy Carroll thing but the remarks that jose looks like a top four team player over and over again.So good players have no right playing for the Toon.Could it not be that Newcastle are becoming a top five team?

  18. Best was class last nite on and off the ball. Its good to see that hunger, he will give 100% trying to prove we dont need to replace him. I hope he keeps up the good work and bangs in more goals. But then again if he does that, we will probably sell him for 35 mil…. ;)

  19. Brilliant – i’ll have to eat a large slice of humble/Jonas pie today, but i’d rather be doing that than bemoaning his lack of delivery – looks like AP’s coaxing the Best out of our players!

    2 clean sheets, 2 scoring srikers, 2 points off UEFA spot…

    somebody pinch me!

  20. tooneye,
    Bang on mate.
    I try to avoid it, & if i can’t, it’s ‘you know who’.
    Good point man.

  21. Fact is,
    we’ve not had the ‘benefit’ of ac for quite a few games now.
    Always good to see the other strikers pop up with very important goals in what was a massive win that gives the lads another great away win this season.
    We’ve won more away from SJP strangely.
    If we can just up our win % at home, we’ll be sorted.
    2 big chances coming up to change that around.

  22. four games without AC two draws 1 loss and one win six goals scored who need that greedy bas…… person

  23. ‘you know who’ wasn’t even playing before he slunk off.
    So more than 4 games without, isn’t it?

  24. Yeah credit to the players n to AP as well for the good performances past couple of games. Even at Slackburn we played very very well except for the finishing. Played it on the ground and good passing game. Feels good to be on 35 points.

    Howay the lads.