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Nolan’s Lancashire hotpot! – Preston 0 Newcastle 1

Posted on November 23rd, 2009 | 32 Comments |

Making a difference!
Making a difference!
Despite carrying round a sizeable pot and an ar*e the size of Bowburn Services, Kevin Nolan once again produced the goods, just when it looked like we’d have to settle for a draw. And instead, Newcastle United again managed to snatch victory from the jaws of a pretty dire televised encounter almost inevitably destined for a bore draw, and ensured we once again reign supreme at the top of the table.

Having committed my pocket money to the upcoming Barnsley and Sheff Wed encounters, I had to make do with a seat in front of the Sky cameras, and after an hour I was grateful for my decision-making. With Hughton initially opting for a 4-5-1 formation, Andy Carroll presumably being supported by the roaming Nolan, he was forced to make changes even before the kick-off as Ryan Taylor apparently pulled a calf muscle in the warm-up.

So Newcastle started with the same side that beat Peteborough, what seems almost months ago now after the international break. And of course with the more traditional 4-4-2, Newcastle fans were probably hopeful of a slightly more cavalier approach, compared to previous games away from St James’ this term. But in a first half that proved once again that this level is a million miles from the quality in the upper elechons of the top flight, we struggled to make an impression on an average looking Preston.

With ex-Wearside hobo, Chris Brown partnered upfront by Neil Mellor, former team-mate and lookalike of Steve Gerrard, Preston hustled and bustled but rarely threatened. We seemed to be playing our usual tight game at the back and in the middle of the park but the final balls were sorely lacking and Carroll and Harewood just didn’t gel. However, it was Nolan and Smith who went close for us in the quick sucession before Preston mustered their first real opportunities. Shots from Chaplow and Tonge that went just wide of Harper, before he had to beat away a stinging drive from Neil Mellor. While we struggled to get into any sort of flow, Preston at least looked fluid but we once again defended well as unit and snuffed out their advances, such that the blowing of the half time whistle was somewhat of a relief.

Unfortunately, the second half didn’t begin much better but having come on to replace Preston’s injured centre-half, Mawene, Chilvers was soon caught napping though Carroll couldn’t take advantage. That was about as much as Andy Carroll had to do as he was replaced on the hour by Nile Ranger, much to the disgust of some of the travelling contingent, who made their feelings known with a chorus of boos. To be fair, they had a point as Harewood comprehensively failed to illustrate just why Chris Hughton is persisting with him as a starter ahead of the young 18 year-old.

And within moments, Ranger had proved why he should be given more minutes on the pitch by once again putting himself about and making himself useful and he was unlucky after a smart turn and shot which he pulled wide of the goalkeeper’s post. Tamas Kadar was also given a runout as he replaced the injured Danny Simpson (though it wasn’t clear what the problem was), but the young Hungarian was found wanting within seconds of his arrival. However, after brushing his opponent aside, Mellor shot wastefully into the side-netting.

The only edge to the game really came with Alan Smith continuing to have Newcastle hearts in mouths with his committed and occasionally over zealous approach. Having picked up an early yellow card, he then inadvertently caught Brown with an elbow although TV replays showed he was unaware that Brown was there. As Brown received treatment Smith was involved in handbag gestures and what I presumre were exchanges of numbers and promises of a lovely night out with Callum Davidson.

Once that calmed down it was back to the football and it seemed like the game was heading for a goalless draw but with 15 minutes remaining, Guthrie picked up the ball on the right and as his cross was shielded by Harewood (about the only thing he seemed to do all night), the ball fell to Nolan. With his back to goal and at a seemingly impossible angle, Nolan showed his class as he spun and drove the ball with his left back across goal and into the bottom corner as the players and fans went crackers. Preston rallied half-heartedly but the three points never looked in danger from then on, and as we swapped Guthrie for Lovenkrands to run down the clock, it wasn’t long until the final whistle went to ensure we headed back to the top of the league.

Chris Hughton had this to say after the game:

“For me, it’s a massive result. What you’ve got to do, is to take it all into context and we lost Ryan Taylor in the warm-up before the game. Andy Carroll played, he was ill all day and had probably no right to be out there and he gave us a performance.”

“These are a quality side, I have absolutely no doubts these will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season. So to come here and get a result I think it’s testament to that group of lads in there”

On Nolan :

“When we took him last season we knew he had goals in him, we’ve used him in a couple of positions breaking from midfield, he can play off the front, but what he is, he’s an experienced player, an eye for goal and you can always count on someone like Kevin for that moment”

On Smith and his ‘altercations’ and whether he was fortunate to stay on the pitch :

“No I didn’t, I think the yellow card was deserved at the time he got it but certainly in the second half, absolutely no.”

“He’s our captain on the day and what you want is, you want calm heads not just Alan Smith but you wanna make sure at the time of the game, the period of the game where tempers are getting a little bit flared that we manage to finish this games with eleven men, which is what we did.”

In the Preston camp, Alan Irvine seemed understandably disappointed to come away with nothing:

“I don’t think we shoulda lost the game, certainly I felt as if we matched Newcastle for many parts of the game. I felt as if we had some good chances to score ourselves but we didn’t take our chances and Kevin Nolan finished his chance which was maybe not even that much of a chance.”

“I’ve seen him do it many times before, he’s got that kind of quality. It was something we were aware of before the game and sure enough he’s popped up with a goal again for Newcastle.”

Pretty honest and accurate assessments there I would say. It’s been said that by winning the Championship, we’re going to have to go to places like Deepdale and take 1-0 wins, when frankly it was pretty undeserved and that we’re going to have to win it ugly at times. I hear that, but I’d also like to ask, when can we win a pretty one? Could it be anytime soon please lads?

I’ve given the lads some ratings for tonight’s game, so see what you think and don’t even get me started on Gutierrez…

Us – Harper 8, Simpson 6, S Taylor 7, Coloccini 7, Enrique 7, Guthrie 6, Nolan 8, Smith 7, Gutierrez 4, Harewood 4, Carroll 6.

Subs – Krul, Kadar 5, Geremi, Pancrate, Lovenkrands, Donaldson, Ranger 7.

Preston North End – Longeran, Jones, Mawene, Collins, Davidson; Sedgwick, Chaplow, Tonge, Parry, Brown, Mellor.

Subs – Henderson, Chilvers, Nolan, Shumulikoski, Carter, Elliott, Parkin.

Att – 16,000 approx (with about 3,000+ Mags)

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

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32 Responses

  1. Jonas 4? Carroll 6?
     
    Dont agree with that BBM Jonas didnt have his best game but was lucky to have any legs left after being hoofed to bits all game. Our static centre forwards allowed them to double and treble up on him all game. Another hate figure BBM?

  2. poor game, don’t mind winning ugly though.. some decisions hughton made confused is mind, like you mentioned carroll coming off instead of harewood, and simpson, didn’t seem to much wrong with him. All in all, good to be back on top and hopefully we can build on this and win again on sunday at St James’

  3. Very happy for the result and that it was on ESPN360.com for this US-based Toon Fan.  But, it’s the same thing for me that I’ve seen all season.  I think we may win the league, but it bothers me that we just can’t seem to score the goals.  We have poor service and poor finishing. 
    I am thrilled with our defense…Jose Enrique is quite the man, with S. Taylor and Colo back there, we’ve got a pretty solid line.  And it’s those lads that keep us competetive.  But we are scoring less goals than teams beneath us.  I don’t mean to be so negative, given the glory of the win, but I agree with the article…I want to see a pretty win and a few in a row, if it’s not too much to ask.  I want to feel like we dominated our opponents.  I am just not seeing it.  But, again, I am thankful and thrilled with the win.  I am very happy to have the International Break over and get back to the weekend fixtures.  I am over the moon with the results this season, but I just want a more secure feeling for everything. 

  4. I try not to hate things Stardust, you know that…

    I think he’s the only Toon player on the books at the minute that makes me actually growl at the telly like a bad-tempered pit bull.

    The amount of fannying on man. It’s beyond ridiculous. And for an international footballer, half the time his concentration is so poor he couldn’t trap a bag of cement. He has potential hence the frustration but that frickin shot at the end…

    He should read about the Wigan refunds and at least donate something to charity for that laughable cameo.

  5. The average score for a Newcastle Championship game has been Newcastle United: 1.5294117647058823529411764705882 – Other team:  0.58823529411764705882352941176471, or 1.5 to 0.6 very roughly.

    That’s almost the same as 3-1

  6. Reet, farewell for now,my bed beckons. Another step closer to the utlimate goal of promotion I suppose?

    I just wish it was a bit nicer to watch.

  7. BBM – all I ask is that you take into consideration the movement of the team – which always allows the opposition to double and treble up on him – that combined with the fact he is a right footed player – explains it all
     
    He continually relieves pressure from our back line – funny football fans arent they – no one is ever good enough for an element of our fans if they arent born in Newcastle or for some reason arent adopted Geordies – of course Jonas cant be – he was bought by Ashley – but you know that dont you ;)

  8. Over the moon with the result if not the performance. The back five seemed solid enough with a few slips shall we say that where cleaned up. Guthrie is a good little player but offers nothing out right smith and Nolan very solid again in the centre and Nolan bailed us out again, jonas had a poor game but I feel myself agreeing with stardust. Our forwards play is poor I though deadwood tried but was found lacking and Carroll was well Carroll, pondering and showed very little interest. Ranger came on and yet again breathed life into our attack, he needs more time on the pitch and score one.

    The thing that I didn’t like was Kadar coming on as it signaled to me that he was getting peeped to play more often and simpsons time was nearly up (which obviously it is) and CH was preparing for life without him. If I’m right which I hope I’m not, why has it not been sorted for him be signed long term or extend his loan till the end of the season. I really can see the ball being dropped on this one.

  9. they talk about the division of talent between the teams in the prem.
     
    our current crop of losers grinding out ugly win after ugly win in the prem. Only Nolan is looking like he is having it easy in this division. We are in for big trouble if we win promotion. Watching the spuds just hurts.

  10. Stardust,

    Can someone not think Jonas is complete crap without you spouting your crazy minded anti fan drivel?

    He is so frustrating because he has talent. Until he gets into a position where he can make a difference or be creative. Then he loses all foot to brain coordination.

    Basically, I think he’s complete crap.

    Another 3 points, another clean sheet. Good stuff.

  11. totally dont agree with your jonas rating, i was at the game tonight and thought that he was kicked from one end of the pitch to the other and he still sucked it up and tried his best to get balls into carroll, who was also suffering and not quiet making the runs he should have been making which inturn was making it alot more difficult for the team on a whole, well done lads though night but a good result is a good result.

  12. I personally like Jonas, he’s one of the few “flair” players we have, yes he’s lacking in his final ball and end product but the guy run’s his socks off and tracks back to help in defence, then as someone has already stated gives the defence time by running with it, Ranger blocked his pass to Guthrie otherwise it was a great chance at the end of a good run. So he’s definately improving.

  13. Jonas is the one of the few you don’t mind paying money to watch.
    Kadar was an improvement for Simpson who has great difficulty in making a pass. Guthrie should never be selected for the right side it is obvious the lad hates playing there and is never in the right position.
    Harewood everything has been said and I need addno more other than say Ranger must start

  14. had a few days off, sorry to be pedantic BBM:

    “But in a first half that proved once again that this level is a million miles from the quality in the upper elechons of the top flight”

    did you mean Echelons?
    8)

  15. Stardust – you make me chuckle.

    Nile Ranger is about as ‘London’ as you get. I can’t say enough good things about him. Smudger has been an inspiration this year and I’m over-the-moon he’s proved a lot of us wrong. Kevin Nolan is tremendous, he just needs to lose a few pounds and he’d be a worldbeater. I’ve even got kind words for Colo, after his start to the season and Enrique is just about the best young player I’ve seen in a black and white shirt for some time.

    Where exactly are the Geordies amongst that little lot?

    Honestly, I must just be watching a different game to some of you. What did Jonas do of any real note? He made a smashing tackle in the first half (a la Peter Beardsley), after he’d given the ball away. He did well in the second half when he laid the ball back and Ranger made the mistake of intercepting the ball as you said yourself.

    Yes, he looks like he’s working hard but for much of the time to no avail. He’s all arms and legs. He gives the defence a break? Guthrie and Ryan Taylor are always available on the right and working hard too but that’s because it’s their job. Guthrie also offered a number of intelligent balls into the box, one of which led to the goal. Jonas does come across as tricky when getting out of tight situations. My problem with that, is he puts himself into those situations by dwelling on the ball (rolling it with his studs) and over-elaborating. Like Stan Nixon used to tell me up at Benwell (“Don’t do now what you could have done 10 seconds ago”).

    Add to that, no end-product for a player which (reading between the lines) Chris Hughton regards as ‘high-left’ and yes I’m a little disappointed for all of the obvious potential that is there.

  16. danny – Eastern European for definite. Hungarian? Maybe… :)

    For the record, maybe 4 for Jonas is harsh given that I’ve always praised hard work above everything else. I just think he makes it look harder than he needs to. Possibly a 6 would be fairer. I do like the fella, he just frustrates the hell out of me, hence the low mark in the heat of the moment to illustrate that he could offer us far more than he does.

  17. shouldn’t be swayed in your ratings BBM, first choice is often the truest, they are your opinions on the game you saw, can’t say fairer than that!

  18. Yeah fair comment danny-b, just change my perspective slightly in terms of his endeavour (though as I qualified a lot of the time he’s doing his Scooby Do impression and getting nowhere). Just wanted to communicate it, to show I agree with the principles of recognising hard work really. Maybe 4s should be reserved for players that look like they can’t be ar*ed.

  19. thankfully we shouldn’t see many then, thoroughly enjoying seeing the whole team actually working for it, we’ve had greats in the past who didn’t try (ginola, robert & asprilla all spring to mind) but tbh they got away with it because when they DID try they could whip out a moment of true brilliance that could change the shape of a game in a heartbeat, current gang have their moments of glory, but the position were in needs more guts to break out of than guile

  20. I dunno – happy we’re winning but we don’t look any better than the sides we’re beating
    We have trouble scoring and the fact that we’re relying on Shola to come back and get us goals says a lot – to be honest although we’ve conceded few goals this season I think it’s more a fact of woeful finishing rather than great defending – I’m not taking anything away from the defence who are doing a fair job in this division but the quality of strikers in this league is woeful
     
    Pity help us when we get promoted with a worse squad than the one that got us relegated! can’t see Ashley investing in at least 3 quality players

  21. Stevep – And there-in lies the problem. If we go up with Ashley in situ, then the club will be up for sale, no money for players etc.

    If we go up and he stays, still no money for players.

    If we dont go up, would he want the liability of another championship season? Would he cut his losses and move on?

    Who knows eh? 

    I dont think this squad is any worse off than, say Burnley or Wolves an if we could just add to a couple of positions and keep up our hard work ethic (a-la Stoke), we may just stay up. I hope it rejuvinates the atmosphere at SJP, especially now we have lost some of the hangers on and replaced them with real fans.

  22. @toonsy – agree – difference between toon fans and burnley/wolves is that as soon as we get up the majority of toon fans will be expecting us to push for europe whereas burnley/wolves fans happy to cheer thier teams on as they just hope to stay up, which is where we’ll actually be with no investment from fatty.
    Actually it’s more likely he’ll sell rather than buy

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