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Ground out day! Newcastle 2 Crystal Palace 0

Posted on January 27th, 2010 | 27 Comments |

Cool as the come.
Cool as the come.
Hot, spicy and more than worth the money, is a pretty good way to describe my pre-match scran. Unfortunately not words to describe Newcastle’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. Nor disappointingly the debuts of Mike Williamson or Wayne Routledge, albeit the latter had little time to show what he can do, even considering his part in the last goal.

The best words to describe that display tonight might be “meh” or “ppffftt”, as it rendered me largely speechless. Which is no mean feat. But not for the first time, and probably not for the last this season, while feeling bitterly short-changed by the entertainment (sic) on show, we yet again managed to grind out the win and take all three points.

Some inevitable changes from the weekend game saw Harper replacing Krul in goal, Kadar moved out to fill in for the injured Danny Simpson and the suspended Ryan Taylor at right back. While Mike Williamson partnered Coloccini in the centre. Guthrire moved back out to the right and with Nolan dropping back into midfield with Smith, Pancrate made way for Lovenkrands to play upfront with Andy Carroll. Fellow ‘new boy’, Wayne Routledge had to make do with a place on the bench.

Crystal Palace were forced into a number of changes, partly through injury and partly due to their current administration process. As a result, Victor Moses and potentially some others may not be allowed to play while the transfer window remains open, as they are saleable assets. Palace could only name three substitutes as a consequence.

Despite their adversity, Palace proved to be anything but the pushovers some were hoping for and put in a decent shift. And they created the first opportunity when Ambrose set up Andrew in the box but Harper did well in coming to meet the striker and pushing the ball out of his path.

It was Newcastle though who had the next clear cut chance, when Jose Enrique scampered down the wing and when his cross was perfectly weighted, Peter Lovenkrands should have done better at the back post, but failed to connect properly.

Palace were forced into an early change when defender Ertl went off through injury, but rather than unsettling them, they could and should have been 1-0 up when Danny Butterfield met a decent cross but inexplicably headed wide, when it was easier to score.

And Palace were punished for spurning their early chances when Andy Carroll forced Palace midfielder Shaun Derry into hooking into his own net, to give us the lead after 20 minutes. However, not longer after, Jose Enrique pulled up and hobbled off holding his hamstring.

Hughton surprised everyone by bringing on Fabrice Pancrate to play right back and Kadar switching sides to fill in for Enrique. Another option might have been to bring on Routledge and drop Guthrie to full back but presumably the gaffer may have been worried about Guthrie’s lack of pace exposing him.

Wayne Routledge made his bow on the hour, coming on for Lovenkrands who had taken a knock, and dropped in just behind Carroll. Showing some lively touches, he was ultimately frustrated by a lack of cohesive midfield play.

With the game going nowhere fast, it was going to take a goal from the new boys or something equally as momentous to send the fans home something akin to satisfied. And lo and behold, when Nile Ranger replaced Jonas Gutierrez, the scene was set. Wayne Routledge did well to slide the ball into the gap behind the defence, and Ranger timed his run perfectly but still had plenty to do. With goalkeeper and defenders closing in fast, the youngster finished with aplomb for his first home goal, to make 2-0.

So yet another far from pretty game and still we took all of the points. When Enrique went off, predictably our outlet on the left had us looking desperately for other options, but without any real pace in the middle it was pedestrian at times.

Palace players and fans deserve a pat on the back for turning up and doing their bit, despite everything that is going on at their club. We may have to count the injuries which saw Enrique limp off, Lovenkrands take a knock and even Gutierrez walk gingerly from the field. Perhaps more headaches for Hughton ahead of an important game on Saturday.

Lots to think about and we can moan and groan about lack of quality and even lack of numbers despite the current purchases, because more injuries may start to take their toll. Solid debut for Williamson and an assist for Routledge is a good start but we hoped they’d be additions and not replacements for those falling like flies.

However, putting things in perspective and looking at the visitors’ current plight, we should be grateful for small mercies, as things could be worse. We can only hope someone comes to Palace’s rescue. As for the black and whites, we may need to step up a gear to get anything out of Saturday.

Us – Harper 7, Enrique 7, Coloccini 7, Williamson 7, Kadar 6, Guthrie 6, Nolan 6, Smith 7, Gutierrez 6, Carroll 6, Lovenkrands 6.

Subs – Krul, Butt, Tozer, Donaldson, Pancrate 6, Routledge 7, Ranger 7.

Crystal Palace – Speroni, Clyne, Ertl, Hill, Hills, Carle, Ambrose, Butterfield, Derry, Danns, Andrew.

Subs – Lawrence, Djilali, Lee.

Att -37,886 (probably just shy of 1,000 Palace fans).

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

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27 Responses

  1. Just got back home, here’s my players ratings:

    1) Harper (7) – Made a great save
    2) Kadar (6) – Settled after a shakey start
    3) Enrique (6) – Was looking ok until pulling up
    4) Collo (7) – Calm and assured
    5) WILLIAMSON (8) – Strong in air, rock solid
    6) Smith (6) – Did his job protecting back 4
    7) Guthrie (5) – No flair or creativity, lacks pace
    Nolan (5) – Looks poor in a 4 4 2 formation,no energy
    9) Jonas (6) – Looked lost when Enrique went off
    10) Loverman (5) – Little impact, missed a sitter
    11) Carroll (5) – Little impact, goes down easily

    Subs
    12) Pancrate – (6) Shakey first half then settled
    13) Routledge – (7) Made an impact injected pace and
    guile.
    14) Ranger – (6) Scored good goal and worked hard

    All in all this was a poor team performance from a number of players, Nolan looks terrible in a 4 4 2 formation and has little impact, he is far better suited in a 5 man midfield playing off the loan striker particularly in away games.

    Williamson had a sound game and showed leadership qualities.

    Routledge thankfully is not another Franz Carr as he can cut inside and deliver a precision through ball.

    I can honestly say that both debutants made an impact in tonights game.

    Tonight was all about the result and thankfully we got all 3 points.

    Off to bed now.

  2. TGS – thought Williamson played well and was solid but I don’t think he was completely dominant in the air. By which I mean, a lot of his headers were part of head tennis which would have given me a sore neck if I’d been in the East or West stands. I think he could be taught to direct his headers more effectively. He’s a big lad and a couple of occasions he could have used that to his advantage and nodded the ball to a black and white.

    I liked the fact that he got in the way of a few shots. He looked pretty sharp to get out and make the block, considering he hasn’t played at this level for a while now.

  3. Warnock said after the Palace match that 2 or 3 top championship teams are trying to buy Victor Moses.
    Houghton was also very cagey when asked in the same interview with Sky Sports that he is monitoring the Moses situation and is interested in the player.
    Well then what price Victor being the second shock addition to the Toon’s ranks?

  4. I’d be surprised but then I guess that’s the point?

    Bring it on I say. The way they were dropping tonight, we need more players than ever.

  5. I heard rumour tonight that Strachan & the smoggies were in for Moses, i Know sounds daft but seriously,apparantly they have got Johnson fee off Chelsea early.

  6. So far as I know, WBA, the Smogs and AN Other FC are after Moses from the Championship. No reason why it can’t be us I guess.

    I think he’ll go to a Premiership side though.

  7. as i said sounds daft,how ever a deal must be in place for him someware already judging with him not playing tonight

  8. Forest and West Brom also after Moses. We are easily a more attractive club than either and we should use it to our advantage. Forest are on a great run, but it could end at any time. West Brom are far too inconsistent. We are the only dead cert for automatic promotion. Add to that our fan base, stadium, and the amount of quality players already in the side and we have ourselves a very attractive club for any young talents. The ambition Hughton has shown by signing Williamson, Routledge and then declaring that he wants at least two more players will also make us a far more attractive outfit than Forest or Brom.

  9. Glad to see another win chalked up… sounds like an ugly win, but a win is a win and the 3 points are vital. There is a lot to be said for purely being hard to beat and breakdown. I am a fan of football played the beautiful way but all I care about this year is promotion. There has to be credit given to the boy’s for simply being hard to beat.
    No matter how much we can complain about ugly football, we have not lost to many games this year… and it all can’t be from just being lucky (Yeah Yeah, I know, there have been a few games where we have been damn lucky)
    Keep up the good work lads….

  10. Strange one tonight. Our central midfield cannot cut it and I’m sorry to say this but I can’t wait for Barton to return! Nolan looked terrible and smith will never get the goals that he should be getting!

    Midfield 4 of Routledge..Guthrie…Barton…Jonas is very good and despite Jonas lack of goals all could score and all can pass!

    I thought that Williamson played amazingly well to say he has had a few months out! Routledge looked good but you could see he was frustrated by the balls being passed to him!

    I’m by no means a negative doom and gloomer but bloody hell it was a poor show by us! Fingers crossed our first league win for a while along with new signings will get us going again! Fingers crossed for another few surprise signings!

  11. Mikey

    Couldn’t agree more, mate. Nolan has no place in this team in the long term. He should be sold to a Championship club as soon as we are promoted.

  12. I am more worried by the February fixtures we have. 7~~!!!!

    We have Cardiff,where we grind out a 1-0,derby,where we drew a nil-nil. We have Preston too.

    Supposedly,if we win at least 5/7 fixtures in February,we might win the title by early March.

  13. For me i think Nolan is still a very good and useful player, he is as hardworking as the smithy and have better skill who can score goals and not goal shy. His built was like gary speed. when in-form, which can be a rotational team player if we promote,

    He can be use as a defensive player /defensive sub when we are winning by a goal and try to kill off the game . (1-0) Or maybe chasing losing game.

    But we need a small/faster speed player likes of Fabregas or arshavin in midfield who can pass and good agile. He dont have to win headers as that’s not his job, but he must be able to pass well, stability on ball
    It will crate more chances and stibiliy for our midfield and provide for attack.

    J.Barton is the closes we have for now. (Please return from injury soon)

  14. Any guesses on how long it’ll take Barton to rack up yet another lengthy ban ?? the guy just cant help himself it’s in his Temprament, for me he’d be the first one out the door and probably the only player we have left that i wouldn’t protest losing!

  15. Not a pretty performance but happy with the 3 points and gives us a bit of breathing space.
    I can’t see the Toon playing attractive football ever under CH but hey he aint a defensive coach for nothing.
    Fair play to Ranger I still think we should get a decent striker in pronto and bleed him in gradually at the end of matches.

  16. Give me decent football, even at the expense of promotion any day.

    I decided for definite last night, I couldn’t give a flying **** about Premiership status if I have to watch this current style of play.

    I’m always being reminded, winning ugly is the way to get out of the division.

    So what have we got to look forward to? Winning ugly to fight for our survival in a league that is up it’s own ar*e, and just as likely to fail in doing so? There’s no guarantee that we’ll suddenly find an entertaining brand of football once we get promoted. Will it give us any better basis for doing so, when we’ll inevitably face a struggle just to not go straight back down?

    I’m aware that under the circumstances, we’re building from scratch and that Hughton should be given time to develop a squad that will play a decent brand of football. But I get the impression that a lot of fans, maybe even most, would prefer Premiership status even if it meant continuing to play ugly indefinitely.

    Championship and good football over winning ugly for promotion and survival for me any day.

    Call me a daft romantic…

  17. Nothing Daft in that BBM-I miss the flair and pace and dynamic football.
    We have played pretty ugly all season pretty much.

  18. 18 bowburnmag says:
    January 28, 2010 at 12:56 pm
    Give me decent football, even at the expense of promotion any day.

    I decided for definite last night, I couldn’t give a flying **** about Premiership status if I have to watch this current style of play.

    I’m always being reminded, winning ugly is the way to get out of the division.

    So what have we got to look forward to? Winning ugly to fight for our survival in a league that is up it’s own ar*e, and just as likely to fail in doing so? There’s no guarantee that we’ll suddenly find an entertaining brand of football once we get promoted. Will it give us any better basis for doing so, when we’ll inevitably face a struggle just to not go straight back down?

    I’m aware that under the circumstances, we’re building from scratch and that Hughton should be given time to develop a squad that will play a decent brand of football. But I get the impression that a lot of fans, maybe even most, would prefer Premiership status even if it meant continuing to play ugly indefinitely.

    Championship and good football over winning ugly for promotion and survival for me any day.

    Call me a daft romantic
    <<<< na just daft

  19. Aye,
    just daft.

    How can you be so sure that your clairvoyance is so nailed on?
    Don’t remember you being particularly good at guessing the future recently.
    But, each to their own, it takes all sorts mate.
    ;)

  20. bowburn – decent football and winning you say – think we’d have to drop another division to achieve that.

    the fans wont put up with this caliber of football much longer.

  21. Crystal Palace were awful mate. Dogged and determined and fair play given the circumstances, but they offered very little. The chances they did have were because we invited them on.

    I’ve given credit to a number of teams in this league, particularly those who have given us a decent game.

    The facts as I seem them are that it is hard to watch 90 minutes of dross on a fairly consistent basis. Even if you can go home and say champion, we’re top of the league. I’m there to enjoy the occasion and if I wasn’t, I’d just sit and wait for the results to come through at home and get on the tinternet and lord it over our rivals. Which is what it seems football is partly about.

    I have the utmost respect for Hughton and the lads, for their application and endeavour, but why pretend it’s something it’s not?

    I don’t think it would take a clairvoyant to surmise that we would struggle in the Premiership. I’m not saying we’d go down, I’m saying there’s as good a chance that we would, as there is of us staying up.

    All this despite the fact I argued to the contrary with my old man on the way home. But that’s cos he really is a pessimistic auld grouchy bollox. While still being a legend.

  22. ‘If’ we go up, next season is about survival, first up.
    Owt better is a bonus.
    Walk before you can fly, n’ all that.
    Boring i know, but hey!

  23. BBM,

    You cannot go round saying we played poorly. You’ll up set the natives.

    Everyone who has watched us this season have watched poor performance after poor performance. Palace were a joke, yet they could of and should have got something out of the game.

    That said, were top and we won. Although I just don’t enjoy going to the match and sitting through 90 mins of boredom.

  24. BBM
    There` truth in what you say, after all football is no more than a form of show business, where being entertained is what it`s about.
    Truth is watching a boring style of football can be painfull.
    One of the reasons I was`nt unhappy with certain managers leaving (BSA)for one with his controled style and concentration on set pieces, boooooring.
    Yes I do undrestand most goals come from set pieces, et. and dont want to hear any but`s about BSA
    Fact is players make the side either attractive or otherwise, the Ginolas and Nobby`s, Robert`s and Ernie Taylors, Who?
    You guys know what i mean, there`s nothing better than being entertained by a team with a bit of flair, unfortunately not this present side and possibly we may not see an entertaining bunch for a while.
    But though we all may (other than BBM) prefer promotion the ugly way, we live in hope we can eventually put to-gether a side that can entertain.
    Cause thats what it`s all about !

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