Toon’s ‘Boxing Day Jinx’ continues!

Posted on December 27th, 2009 | 65 Comments |

Sucker-punch!
Sucker-punch!
An early boxing day start took me to Hillsborough in the hope we could continue our fine run of form against struggling Sheff Wed. It’s been well documented recently that our boxing day winning record has been less than impressive – the next chance we get, it will have been 22 years since we won! Here is my account of the match, and the day out in general…

After arriving in Sheffield and quickly finding a car parking space, me and my mate set off for the pre-match ritual pint. After a half-mile walk up an icy hill, The White Horse beckoned. Honestly, it was just like old times when we used to take over pubs and city centres, with toon flags outside and toon fans only inside.

Feeling refreshed, we walked to the ground taking our seats (second row, directly behind the goal), and sat down to enjoy the warm-up. I experienced that heart-sinking feeling as I watched our boys warming up, and quickly worked out that there was no Alan Smith, and that Nicky Butt was warming up with the starting XI. That left both line-ups looking like this:

Newcastle United

Harper, Simpson, S Taylor, Coloccini, Enrique, Guthrie, Butt (c), Nolan, Gutierez, Ameobi, Harewood.
Subs: Krul, Kadar, R Taylor, Pancrate, Ranger, Carroll, Lovenkrands.

Sheffield Wednesday

Grant, Spurr, Purse (c), Beevers, Simek, Johnson, Potter, O’Connor, Soares, Varney, Tudgay
Subs: Buxton, O’Donnell, Hinds, Esajas, Jeffers, Clarke, Gray.

After a good old lung busting sing-song before the match, referee Stuart Atwell got the early kick-off under way. The hosts immediately took control of the game, dominating possesion and having a number of corners. Our first half chance came on 9 minutes, Danny Guthrie sweeping a right wing free kick over everyone waiting in the box.

Things got worse for the toon on 14 minutes and our vocal following was silenced briefly as Sheffield Wednesday took a deserved lead. Darren Potter sending a corner into the penalty which we only half cleared. James O’Connor quickly chipped the ball back into the box and onto the head of Luke Varney’s head to nod the ball – seemingly unchallenged – into the Newcastle net.

Just three minutes later, Danny Simpson did well to nick the ball off Jermaine Johnson’s foot, six yards out. We really hadn’t turned up until 19 minutes into the game. With our first meaningful attack and totally against the run of play, the ball came to Danny Guthrie who chipped the ball into the box to find Kevin Nolan who guided a beautiful header back from the penalty-spot across the goal to equalise. The toon army were in fine voice again, and that was raised further when Shola Ameobi gave us an unlikely lead on 22 minutes. In an offside position, Ameobi recieved the ball, turned Darren Purse and blasted into the bottom corner of the Sheffield Wednesday net.

After a frantic 25 minutes at the start, the rest of the half played out relatively uneventfully apart from a Jermaine Johnson snap-shot from the corner of the area that hit the post before going behind for a goal-kick. The Wednesday fans were subdued and were no doubt left wondering how their team started so dominantly and yet still found themselves losing at home – to much joy from the following toon army!

Some heart-warming half time entertainment from the Sheffield Wednesday cheerleaders lifted my spirits, and some bloke who sang but couldn’t sing aroused a chorus of booing and jeering from the travelling fans.

The 2nd half started much like the previous one, with the hosts firmly on top, our defence looking vulnerable to high balls, unable to claim any second balls and continually gifting both possesion and corners to the home team. This came to a head on the hour-mark as the hosts, deservedly and controversially, equalised. Tommy Spurr’s cross seemed to be heading harmlessly into Steve Harper’s hands only for Luke Varney – who appeared to tug at Harper’s arms – to nod the ball out of the goalkeepers grasp and into the path of James O’Connor who prodded the ball home. Harpers vociferous protests fell on deaf ears as the referee and his assistants let the goal stand.

Looking for a change, Chris Hughton brought off the anonymous Jonas Gutierrez and replaced him with Fabrice Pancrate. Nothing changed however as it was Sheffield Wednesday who went close again – Marcus Tudgay forcing a quality save from Harper who turned his header around the post.

Looking to shake things up, Andy Carroll came on for Shola Ameobi for the last 15 minutes. Both sides had fiurther chances to win the game, and as Peter Lovenkrands replaced Marlon Harewood with five minutes remaining, we pushed on searching for a winner. Despite a goal-mouth scramble after the Wednesday ‘keeper fumbled a corner, neither side could capitalise and the final whistle blew with a fair 2-2 draw.

Manager Chris Hughton felt the equaliser for Sheffield Wednesday should not have stood, adding:

“On first viewing I thought it must have been a foul because I wouldn’t expect Steve Harper to lose the ball in that situation”

“And, having now seen the replay, the player certainly impedes Steve”

“Steve knew himself right away and you can always tell by a player’s reaction if he’s been fouled”

“You expect a referee to give a free-kick in those situations”

“We’re disappointed becasue that’s a big turning point and, in the end, it has won them a point”

All in all, it’s a point away from home and, on reflection, I’m happy with that and think its a fair result. Obviously the performance wasn’t as it could be and some people will point to Chris Hughton giving the players Christmas Day off. For me though, the most important thing is that we didn’t lose, and the bonus of Cardiff and Nottingham Forest being unable to captalise. We really need to bounce back to winning ways on Monday night at home to Derby and not allow this to develop into another blip.

My own personal ratings:

Harper – 6
Simpson – 6
S Taylor – 7
Coloccini – 7
Enrique – 6
Guthrie – 6
Butt – 6
Nolan – 6
Gutierrez – 5 /Pancrate -5
Ameobi – 5 / Carroll – 6
Harewood – 5 / Lovenkrands 5

Howay the lads.

NUFCBlog Author: toonsy toonsy has written 643 articles on this blog.

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65 Responses

  1. I personally think that with the players we have and the more than obvious class difference between our players and the rest of the league we really should be playing better than we are.

    Why are we scrapping our way to wins and not playing any good football?

    Should we really expect better from these players at this standard?

    Just a thought.

  2. Stu – I think the frustrating thing is that in fits and starts we play some good football but in the wrong areas. I catch myself smugly applauding Colo, Enrique and Gutierrez playing the ball neatly out of the back four. But then I think, why aren’t we doing some of that further up the pitch? I suppose much of it, is down to what Hughton has at his disposal but a lot of our play inevitably gets narrowed and we ping balls into the front two. Which would be great if it always stuck and we got support and runners around them, but sometimes it’s not sticking even 50% of the time and we end up losing possession and inviting trouble back on us.

    The long ball is essentially our get-out that we employ quite often. When Carroll came on, I was both relieved that we were changing it, and yet I knew inevitably that we’d just keep launching it. Yeah, it’s quite effective but it’s not exactly pretty. We just need more creativity in midfield and players upfront who will benefit. January would be a great time to get someone in but I won’t hold my breath.

  3. most of yous are never happy suppose u wud be happyer if we played attacking football and lost most of the games

  4. this division is utter crap !…and our league position reflects it , but occasionally i would like to be entertained…is that too much to ask from a paying customer ? it’s so bad if they were playing in my back garden i’d proably close the curtains.

    ..aye aye batty.

  5. I’d like to know why none of our defenders were on hand to bail out the clanger by Harper? The defence on the whole has been solid so far this season but if we are honest we have had quite a bit of luck as well, on the other hand it may just be balancing the crap luck we had last year.
    A good creative midfielder would be worth his weight in (Peruvian?) gold.

  6. i knew of 2 prositutes – one from winlaton & the other from washington….every thursday they used to take the train from newcastle to london and on the way down they would read all the broadsheets so when they met their rich arab clients they would appear well educated and up to date with current affairs.they would return home on the following monday thousands of £’s richer.

    ….& it’s nice to see heather mills has signed up to forthcoming – dancing on ice…..careful you dont slip and break your gregory peck – coz we wouldn’t want that to happen now would we.

  7. batty…the 2nd of may you will be £1550 to the good….do yourself a favour & reinvest it on us going straight back down…you’ll probably double it , then the same to be promoted the following season and so on…it’s called being a yo-yo club.

    ….by the time your 50 – you’ll be a wealthy man.

  8. My son bought me a book on the worst ever players for each team in the league and the one listed for us was Marcellino with Wayne Ferreday getting an hourable mention (I can’t remember him}. I do remember (Bill?) Patterson who also cost big bucks for his era and played about as often for us.

  9. fereday bought by jim smith from Q.P.R £350,000 he was a winger for us the season the season mighty mickey quinn scored a 40+ how we never went up that season i will never know. Merry x-mas every one lets hope next year is better than the last few.HAWAY THE LADS!

  10. nufc says:
    December 27, 2009 at 12:27 pm
    most of yous are never happy suppose u wud be happyer if we played attacking football and lost most of the games

    I’m delighted were top, why wouldn’t we be happy with that? My point is that we don’t play very well, EVER! If there were teams with strikers we would be about 6th.

    Watch all our games and you list all the chances that the opposition create – There’ll be plenty every game.

    I seen someone on here last week saying it’s great to have a good defence, I had to laugh…

    Were top and it needs to be applauded, but we need to be realistic and not kid ourselves. We play poorly, conceed plenty of chances and I don’t think you can keep doing that all season.

  11. totally agree stuart 79 we are probably the most pessimistic fans in the country then again who can blame us when u take the cockney mafia and there mess in to account but my new year res.dont worry/be happy and never waste a second of my time thinking about mr cashley

  12. Stuart, I would tend to agree with you and its more or less what I said already. We hoof the ball up to the strikers far to often for my liking, thats why I said we could do with a creative midfielder such as Nobby who would probably swim up the Tyne to come back to us. Some good players are never too old!

    Even the best defence will struggle if most of the play is in their own half and the ball just keeps coming straight back at them.

  13. I’m just watching Arsenal V Villa and the pace and movement fromboth teams has been awesome!

    I know these two teams are top four at the moment in the PL but if we go up pace is an absolute must. Every single one of our players are times on calenders.

  14. Milner is having a storming season at villa and is maturing in to a top,top player just what the thinking behind letting him go was i would love to know

  15. Barton,

    I remember plenty on the blog though saying selling Milner was a great move because it was for £12m.

    Looks like Villa got a bit of a snip now doesn’t it?

  16. to right stuart79 but it makes you think if cashley is selling why is he not asking for top dollar on the players take Given top keeper in prem for years one of top in the world the richest club on the planet knocks on the door for him and we let him go for what was it 8mill,jesus he could have asked twice,three times that and they would have arguably payed it. the plonker!

  17. Stuart79 I remember loads on Ed’s blog saying that it was to good of money to turn down. I wish we still had him but you cant blame him as he was fuxed about to much and never felt wanted. I think he was a big loss not only playing but as an example of a clean living and hard working honest player to our younguns.

  18. barton12 says:
    December 27, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    You can lay a lot of blame at Ashley’s door but selling Milner probably wasn’t his fault. The buying and selling of players was down to Jiminez and Wise.

    The appointment of the set up is one of the things Ashley can be blamed for, but I cannot help thinking Ashley has been screwed by his mates.

  19. Dave,

    When you sell your best players it’s only seen as a great deal if you can replace them with someone better. We never replaced Milner, Nzogbia, Parker or Emre.

  20. was glad to get rid of nzogbia but we have never replaced emre and that was a major problem last season no creativity in the middle and it will haunt us next season if we go up unless its addressed we can get away with it at this level

  21. Lads I find one of the saddest things is that some of our younguns could be good but it probably wont be with us as they never get a chance and will end up going somewhere else. Re nzogbia I know he could be a bit of a bratt but I think he played well under KK and he looks to me to be doing ok at the Mo

  22. Big Dave agree nzogbia has the ability but it was his attitude that was wrong not just him but with a lot of the players over the last few seasons resulting in last seasons shambolic mess, at least this seasons squad seem to have a togetherness that boads well for the future and its what we may have to rely on next season to keep us up in the prem

  23. Areet lads, off subject and i dunno if its been mentioned but .com are reporting we had reps at the Rangers game today to watch Kris Boyd. Obviously the rumours of us being interested are more than just rumours.

  24. barton-his contract expires at the end of the season. the rumoured figure is 1.5 mil. Rangers are in serious trouble financially, they’ll take what they can get in Jan i reckon. I havent seen enough of Fleck but my mates rave about him like.

  25. did not know his contract was up if thats the case the deal would be right up our boards street,dont know if he has quality for the prem but the fact we are trying to make perminant deals is a step in the right direction at least

  26. neither did i mate until i was told yesterday. I live in Edinburgh these days so obviously all my mates follow scottish teams, i sort of keep up with the SPL but to be honest the quality is terrible. I definitly think Boyd would help fire us back into the prem, he gets into the right places at the right times and is a straight up goal scorer. Like you though i dunno how he’d fare in the prem.

  27. If Anthony Stokes is anything to go by I wouldn’t take Boyd.

    Stokes couldn’t score for the Mackems but is banging them in for Hibs.

  28. making simpson a perminant sighning how ever is a must in my eyes by the lads comments he would walk from salford to the toon on his hands if he has his way

  29. ross mate if boyds is just a out and out goal scorer then he can do a job,to me a natural poacher can score at any level remmber stevie bull of wolves

  30. He seems to just be in the right place at the right time and he knows where the net is. The only problem being the standard of player will change. I understand what you mean about a natural poacher being able to bang them in wherever he goes but there’s always the possibility that he’s average at what he does however he’s the best at it in the SPL, and the league makes him look better than he is.

    For 1.5 mil i’d take a punt.

  31. Ross i think boyd is now the standard of player we are going for the glory days of shearer world records and asprilla are long gone boyd,killgannon of shef utd very good at fizzy pop leage standard but prem ?

  32. Boyd will be crap anywhere other than scotland, where crap players are worshiped like gods. only viduka and di canio have moved south and still scored goals.

  33. I see even Hull are giving Masn Utd a good game.

    All the Prem teams are really improving IMO. God knows how much money it will cost the promoted teams next year just to survive.

  34. Big willy, commons is just returning from injury, been out for most of the season, decent player though and giles barnes.

  35. just read that joey barton will be back in january , if fit and inform i think he will rip apart most teams in this division . just one question though who does hughton drop to let him play ? once he is fit though nicky Butt should never start another game .

  36. Barton back oh god no!!!! if you seen his performances earlier in the season he would not get a reserve game,get rid of him pronto he is probably the last bad seed left in the playing camp and he got a 20k pay rise in the summer as part pf his contract give the bloke a free then portsmouth or some other poor bugger can have him

  37. I don’t really count larsson he only done it for a few months. barton12 has barnes’s injury problems got so bad that no one will go for him or something?

  38. jay jay from what i heard g barnes comes with a lot of how do you say–off field baggage its a shame couple of seasons ago he was rated the next big thing

  39. barton12 says:
    December 27, 2009 at 5:43 pm
    jay jay from what i heard g barnes comes with a lot of how do you say–off field baggage its a shame couple of seasons ago he was rated the next big thing

    NUFC should be his spiritual home then….

  40. Yeah, he looked great, he is now training with birmingham city, they’re training ground is only a short walk from my house, perhaps i could go and ask what his fitness is like and ask if he’s a bit of a knob incase what you say is true barton12.

  41. talking of birmingham they have a few quid to spend in comes to someting when even if we make it back to the prem. the likes of birmingham,stoke ect,will have bigger transfer budgets then us

  42. Barton12 that cant last both teams get around the 20,000 mark at home matches, they’re living the ffs way

  43. would not say stoke are living beyond there means pulis has shown you can buy a bit of quality if you spend it properly and saying that do you not think Beattie would be a good buy he can do it in the prem be cheap at what 3-4 mill but that still to much outlay for cashley yet thats cheap when you consider the transfer market

  44. jay jay mate like you i live in hope but i think we got more chance of cashley holding a public meeting with us fans saying sorry for being a complete twat and giving us a man city budget!

  45. jay jay > Wont hold my breath but maybe now that we’re on a better financial footing that might change.

    TBH I dont think we will spend much in Jan as MA’s way off thinking will be that we are rumping this league at this point and by keeping the same squad for the 2nd half of the season then we will be promoted. Then comes his big decision sell or not and I think if he decides to keep he WILL spend a few mill on prem quality, dont forget he has proved allready with colo that he can spend but it’s wether he wants to spent now

  46. Big Dave mate you have heard the chants at the games directed at cashley did you see his face at the ipswich game he actually looked like it got to him now do you think he will ever put his hand in his pocket and invest in genuine quality i dont,not when there is so much pure hate thrown at him i dont like yet i am one of the few people who will defend him on certain issues

  47. You can also think of it another way, why would ashley put up with all the abuse unless he thinks it’s worth holding on to, either because he think he can actually make it work, or so he can sell it to a rich arab.

  48. barton12 I do feel sorry for him in ways as I think his biggest mistake was trusting the wrong people around him. I do think he had good intentions and was loving being one of the lads at the match. It just turned out all wrong after BSA.

  49. he puts up with it because he is stuck with the club he car’nt sell because no one will pay the price (lets not go there again we all know its not the 100mill its at least twice that amount)and last time a rich arab knocked on cashley’s door he shut it in there face so they went off and bought man city instead

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