Safe! Newcastle United v Birmingham City match report.

Posted on May 8th, 2011 | 13 Comments |

The turning point of the game...
The turning point of the game...
Although Newcastle United were looking pretty safe with 41 points with three games to go, I think it could be said that this was still an important match for the Magpies, not just in terms of ensuring safety beyond all doubt with a win, but also in terms of morale.

With some slightly disappointing late season from an injury ravaged team, and tough encounters with Chelsea and a resurgent West Brom to complete our Premiership season, a victory and a few more points against Birmingham’s ‘Bluenoses’ would be just what the doctor ordered as they move towards the close season break.

This match saw Newcastle United fielding almost exactly the same team as they did against Liverpool in their last game, a 3-0 defeat for the Magpies. The only exception was Steven Taylor, replacing the injured cantre back, Mike Williamson, who broke his arm in training.

After kick off, the first few minutes saw the Magpies probing, and elbowing in the case of Steven Taylor on Birmingham’s Cameron Jerome. Referee, Chris Foy, seemed to be looking kindly on Newcastle’s seeming transgressions though, as he did when Birmingham appealed for a penalty after around ten minutes. It looked like a handball from Ameobi as Newcastle attempted to clear a Stephen Carr free kick from danger. Once again though, there was nothing doing from Foy.

It wasn’t until the 17th minute when United’s first real chance came with a low 30+ yard drive from Barton. It was hard to see if the shot was just wide, or if Ben Foster in the Birmingham goal just managed to tip it clear, but it was a good strike nonetheless. At this point in the game though, things were fairly lacklustre. Although the Magpies certainly had the lion’s share of the possession, they were not turing it into lots of real chances, or even better, goals.

It was on 35 minutes when the game finally turned, and very much in Newcastle’s favour as Chris Foy chose to be more generous in awarding Newcastle a penalty for handball than he was with Birmingham around twenty five minutes previously. There was also a straight sending off for the offending party, Liam Ridgewell, and the complexion of the game was completely changed after Shola Ameobi buried the resulting spot kick. In the run up to the penalty, a Barton corner found the head of the aforementioned Ameobi. His headed shot was cleared, only to fall to the feet of Coloccini, his shot was deflected on to the post, but he was to have another bite of the cherry as the ball rebounded for him to float in a header, only to see the ball cleared once again. It was in this melee that Foy spotted Ridgewell using his arm at least once, and after all the carnage was over, it was always going to be an uphill struggle from that point. 1-0 Newcastle United.

It’s usually a bad sign when your goalkeeper is the ‘man of the match’, and so it proved with Birmingham, especially from this point as Ben Foster produced some excellent saves. The first from Løvenkrands after a backheeled assist from Nolan let the Dane in for a shot at the near post, only to see it tipped away by the ex England shot stopper. A good, but slightly wide chance from Gutierrez followed shortly after, then another great save from Foster as an unmarked Nolan cracked off a forceful shot which was tipped over. The resulting corner finally had him beat though. Newcastle’s Steven Taylor leapt like a salmon for Barton’s set piece and plants the ball wide of Foster. Though Birmingham’s Sebastian Larsson was also prtecting the goal line, he couldn’t stop it going in either. 2-0 Newcastle United.

Though one would be forgiven for thinking that the game was well and truly over at this point, Birmingham’s Jean Beausejour and Lee Bowyer had other ideas though. A mere minute or two after Newcastle’s second, Coloccini missed his attempt to head the ball in what was a fairly bad error. This let Birmingham’s Beausojour in, who cleared Tim Krul in what was another mistake from the young ‘keeper, then unselfishly passed the ball for Bowyer to drill the shot home. 2-1.

After that burst of excitement in the last ten minutes or so of the first half, the second half was probably going to be something of an anticlimax, but it wasn’t without it’s moments. Newcastle carried on their momentum into the second half Jose Enrique hit another 30 odd yard drive (that was somewhat remiscent of Barton’s in the first half) just wide as Newcastle tried to press home their advantage in the opening minutes of the second half. A headed chance from Ameobi came a few minutes later, which went over.

Birmingham however, although penned back and mostly in defensive mode with only ten men on the pitch tried to hit back, once again with Magpies’ old boy, Bowyer. He couldn’t really get enough behind the ball though, and his shot was easily saved by Krul. In the 66th minute, one of Gutierrez’s mazy runs was crowned with a decent shot which was deflected.

A few minutes after that in a case of the pot calling the kettle black, Tiote expresses marked displeasure at a rather robust tackle from Bowyer which results in a yellow card for the ex Newcastle player. Nolan then came quite close in the 77th minute in what looks like a move that was rehearsed on the training ground, with Barton chipping a free kick in to the Newcastle captain, but his header across the face of goal was once again saved by the mighty Foster.

Despite Newcastle’s undoubted dominace wiith the extra man, Birmingham continued to fend off the Magpies. An even better chance from perennial late sub, Nile Ranger is once again saved by Foster, with a rebound to Ameobi also being blocked. With Birmingham looking somewhat shellshocked by now, they still managed to get in a rare chance of their own, with a long kick by Foster finding Beausejour on the flank. His ceoss should have been easily dealt with by a fairly inactive Krul, but he spilled it to let in Birmingham’s Sebastian Larsson. However his shot looped over the bar.

Finally, Birmingham’s Roger Johnson was forced to clear off the line from a cheeky chip by Ameobi, the fruits of a fairly admirable run in the box by Ranger, where he rescued a chance that looked like it was going nowhere initially. That was about it, except to say that Newcastle United’s survival in the Premiership was sealed beyond all doubt today, which is surely a cause for celebration!

Howay the lads!

Final score – Newcastle United 2 – 1 Birmingham City.

Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Jose Enrique, Fabricio Coloccini, Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutiérrez, Cheick Tioté, Joey Barton, Peter Løvenkrands (Nile Ranger – 71), Shola Ameobi.

Birmingham City: Ben Foster, Martin Jiránek, Stephen Carr, Liam Ridgewell, Roger Johnson, Sebastian Larsson, Lee Bowyer, Keith Fahey (Matt Derbyshire – 77), Jean Beausejour, Barry Ferguson, Cameron Jerome.

Referee: Chris Foy.

Venue / Attendence:  St James’s Park, Newcastle, 47409‎.

Match highlights and post match interviews.

Match highlights. I shall endeavour to update these with longer and better ones when they are available.

Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew, his team’s “character”, “resilience”, “discipline” and team spirit. He also hails the performance of Birmingham ‘keeper, Ben Foster for keeping his side down to two goals.

Birmingham City mamager, Alex McLeish, hold’s his hands up over the Ameobi penalty, and seems resigned to Ridgewell’s sending off, but bemoans some other big decisions which went against Birmingham. He also hails Ben Foster’s excellent performnace in the Birmingham goal.

NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1091 articles on this blog.

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13 Responses

  1. so apparently there are still some who are moaning and groaning even after a win?? for one im happy to be back in the premier league and knowing we are in it next season.with money to spend and time to find quality players i really do think we are in a better position for next season.

  2. you forgot to mention our new shirts we will be wearing too thats got to boost morale around the toon army

  3. Wwell done the Toon for getting the points needed. Was nice to see a S Taylor goal.

    We can start getting excited about possible targets now we’re safe


  4. well said nufc337 , 4 quality signings in and the deadwood out and we will improve , if HBA and Gosling had not been long term injured i think we would have had at least 10 more points this season .

  5. Yeah safe`s the word !
    But having survived that first season, do we want to be struggling again next year or are we about to spend a bit of dough and build a competitive side.
    A team that could break into the top six for at least a EUAFA spot ?
    Is that too much to ask ?
    I`m reading where “Wor Alan” (kidding) wants to build a side with a “bit a flair”, “yeah Al that would be nice”, we all appreciate a bit a flair, but i`m not holding my breath!
    I have the feeling this could be a very interesting summer, with any number of PL sides rebuilding.
    No doubt there will be big bucks spent, to rejuvenate a recent decline in quality in the league in general.
    How that will effect NUFC, is any ones guess?
    We are all aware of the need for re-enforcements, one has only to look at the bench, to figure how short on quality the club is.
    And the possibility of having a couple of our best players poached remains a problem.
    Unfortunately we have quite a bit of deadwood to move, but doing so without bringing in an adequate number of replacements, remains a big problem.
    Guess we will have to cut our cloth accordingly and not expect that much of a transition this window.
    Mid league again next season ?
    But at least we can expect “a bitta flair” to placate us, instead of the Champions League title.

  6. chicken licken reckons the world is falling in, & i’m inclined to believe her, at least i think it’s a her.

  7. Oops! I forgot to put the last closing line in my report.

    I also forgot to mention that full MOTD highlights are up now too.

  8. Haven’t been commenting much lately. Work alterations have left me pretty short of time.

    However, would just like to say that it’s nice to have a squad that, for all of their shortcomings, always works their socks off for the cause. How long has it been since we have had that?

    We can all watch the last two games relaxed and knowing we will once again be on the big stage next season. Just hope we make the right moves in the summer. I don’t buy this “one or two” signings stuff from Pardew. I think we will make a lot of changes (No less than 4 new first team players).

    Expect a tough summer, with the likes of Spurs and Liverpool sniffing around, trying to pick off our best players since they can’t compete with the top four for players.

    Enrique is as good as gone me thinks and we should be trying to create a bidding war for him. Barton and Colo will stay. So really it’s just a case of holding on to Tiote. It will be tough as not just Spurs, but Chelsea too will definitely be after him. It’s amazing how far Essien has declined since his injury, and Mikel, well, he never was a DM. A 20mill price tag needs sticking on the Ivorian’s head.

    I expect Lovenkrands, Smith, Guthrie, R.Taylor and maybe even Jonas(After Enrique leaves) to be moved on and replaced. I also get the feeling Krul may be sold with Forster being brought back as no.1.

    Whatever happens, it certainly won’t be a dull summer for us. We will no doubt have our transfer excitements and disappointments. Hopefully whatever we end up with come September will be enough to see us through to a top 10 finish.

  9. ~ El Toro ~ says:
    May 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    “Haven’t been commenting much lately. Work alterations have left me pretty short of time.”

    Good to hear from you again El Toro.

    As for your comment, personally, I’m just predicting the unpredictable from Newcastle United, as I always do! It’s nice to know that we definitely and absolutely won’t be relegated though, unless the FA find that Ashley has been involved in irregularities and have decided to deduct points or something like that.

  10. Would we have been safe if Hughton was still in charge?

    That’s a good question.

  11. Alreet El Toro,

    good points there mate.

    For all everybody slags us off, plenty of teams are interested in plenty of our players & for big money.

    A few better decisions, a few less injuries & a bit more consistency & we’d have had an excellent season. As it is it’s been pretty easy really & i never got that sick feeling in the stomach.

  12. yeah as i mentioned on my last blog, if we were looking at a full term report for EPL on our first season up , 9th/10th/11th is really a great position, especially lossing ben arfa so early in the season, i am sure it would have effected squad confidence that loss…

    So mid table position is definitely a great return for the squad ,

    Answering stuart 79 , I have no doubt that CH would have done equally as well, I cannot fault Chrissie for technical knowhow and even substitutions at the right time i believe he was miles better than pardew in that respect , so really it was the squad already in place that did the job !

    One point at Chelski and 3 from west brom I predict , chelski will have lost interest now they have been beaten for the top spot !!