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Leicester 0, Newcastle 0 – Match Report, Reflections & Highlights(!)

Posted on January 31st, 2010 | 31 Comments |

View from the Toon(s)!
View from the Toon(s)!
It was cold, bitterly cold, made even worse by being practically forced from the concourse into the stands at a very early juncture, with lack of alcohol being served contributing heavily to my early journey to my seat.

Upon finding my seat, I looked around the Walkers Stadium and thought it was ‘nice’, nothing else, just ‘nice’. Perhaps it suffers from ‘new stadium’ syndrome – the syndrome where it seems grounds built in the last 20 years lose the atmosphere that the previous grounds had. I was sitting towards the rear of the stand anyway so I held out some hope of a good craic.

After hearing the team news, my fear that Nicky Butt would be playing was confirmed. Again, another away day, another game with just 1 striker and a less than mobile Kevin Nolan in support. I was buoyed however, by the fact this was my first chance to see recent signings Routledge, Williamson and Patrick Van Aanholt, making his debut. The team looking like;

Harper, Van Aanholt, Williamson, Coloccini, R Taylor, Guthrie, Smith, Butt, Routledge, Nolan, Carroll.

The game got underway and the Toon Army started singing, particularly giving some barracking to Sunderland’s Martyn Waghorn (called ugly by a teenage girl in front of me, and called much, much worse by me!) who is currently on-loan at Leicester. The 3,000-strong away following nearly had an early reason to cheer as Kevin Nolan spun in the penalty and cracked a shot into the side-netting. With not much happening after that the game was fast becoming a very stale affair, briefly livened up by a red card for Leicester’s Richie Wellens on the half hour mark, the player earning his 2nd yellow for a tug back on Wayne Routledge.

With 60 minutes remaining against 10 men, I was expecting Newcastle to push on and try to get the win but it was Leicester who could have taken the lead. With the United defence retreating and inviting Matty Fryatt onto them, he cracked a 12 yard shot that looked like it had the beating of Harper, only to be blocked by the debutant Van Aanholt. Immediately after that, Van Aanholt went straight up the other end and fired off a 20 yard shot which was tipped over by Leicester ‘keeper Ian Weale, Alan Smith seeing his angled diving header from he resulting corner cleared of the line by Bruno Berner. Other than that, a tame half which probably deserved the score of 0-0.

The 2nd half started with a bit more tempo and with the home side still showing attacking ambition, despite them being down to 10 men and us still having only 1 striker on the pitch. It was Leicester who had the first chance to score, a Paul Gallagher free-kick being deflected wide. On 50 minutes it was Newcastle’s turn to attack, Kevin Nolan beat ‘keeper Weale to the ball after a cross from Van Aanholt only for his header to land on the roof of the net.

It wasn’t until the introduction of Nile Ranger, replacing Alan Smith on 63 minutes, that we had 2 strikers against the 10 man Foxes, yet it was winger Wayne Routledge who had the next chance, nicking the ball away from Ian Weale and lobbing on the turn, only to see his effort go wide.

So into the last 15 minutes then, still at a stale-mate. Nolan was taken off to be replaced by Pancrate and we started to turn the screw in search for a winner. Van Aanholt having a shot on 78 minutes and Ranger prodding wide on 81 minutes. One of the loudest cheers of the day came with 5 minute remaining and was for the introduction of a debutant for Leicester City, someone called Nobby Solano, who recieved generous applause form all sides of the ground, and chants of his name – something that the Leciester fans took on board and will no doubt use in future!

Despite our numerical advantage and keeping Leicester pinned in their own half, the dead-lock remained unbroken and the whistle went for a 0-0. Disappointing! A missed opportunity to open up a gap at the top and you have to wonder how many chances are we going to get?

Ratings

As for the players, I’ll rate them below;

Harper – 6 – Never really had much to do, safe when called upon.

Van Aanholt – 7 – Nervy first 15 minutes, but soon settled and offered an attcking threat.

Williamson – 6 – Done for pace but excellent in the air.

Colo – 7 – Never really put a foot wrong.

R Taylor – 5 – Shocking in the 1st half, not much better in the 2nd.

Guthrie – 6 – Some good touches, linked well with Van Aanholt but is not a winger.

Smith – 6 – Anonymous apart from his header being cleared off the line.

Butt – 3 – Should never be in the 1st team. Only gave him 3 as he didn’t balls up in the last 10 minutes! Awful in the tackle, no pace, and should cut out the 50 yard FA Cup final balls!

Routledge – 7 – Great pace, good tricks. Caused trouble for Leicester on numerous occasions.

Nolan – 5 – Loss of form, lacking pace and needs to stop arguing with referee’s.

Carroll – 6 – Well shckled by the Leicester defence. Never really got a sniff.

Subs:

Ranger – 6 – Opened play up and created space for others. Good finish for his offside goal.

Pancrate – 6 – Still to find his best position but did OK when called upon.

Summary from the stands…

In summary, I’d have taken a point at Leicester before kick-off, especially hearing that Forest had dropped points. The way the match panned out however means I can’t help but be disappointed that we couldn’t break down a team playing with 10 men for just over an hour. Nicky Butt needs to retire, R Taylor needs to get his footballer head on and Nolan needs to get back to his previous form. The Leicester central defender, Andy King, had Carroll in his pocket all game, and it’s not often Andy Carroll doesn’t win many headers! On the plus side, I’m impressed with Williamson aerially, Routledge and his pace and tricks, and Van Aanholt who made a steady debut and should perhaps be signed until the end of the season. I still can’t help but be impressed with Colo! It would have been easy for him to sulk and pout to try to force a move, but his attitude has been 1st class and I can’t fault him.

All in all, a trouble free day out. Some of the Leicester fans are right gadgies but it was all good humoured. Besides, I was suitably charvered up meself like! Maybe that put them off?!

Post-match reactions

Reflection from the respective sides came from both managers –

Leicester boss, Nigel Pearson had this to say about the game:

“I thought we were the better side with 11, and the better side with 10, but it is only one point.

“We still have aspirations to be involved in the play-offs. We have been in a bit of a rut recently so today was an important stepping stone for us.”

Speaking about the Wellans dismissal and a couple of pentalty claims, Pearson added:

“I’ve not reviewed the incidents but I will be having my say on them later on.

Hughton was also reflective on a day when we missed the opportunity to go a couple of extra points clear at the top:

“I’ve mixed emotions about the game. They were down to 10 men for so long and it’s disappointing we were not able to capitalise on that.

“But they played with great spirit and what often happens when you go down to 10 men it galvanises the team.

“The sending off also seemed to lift the crowd who felt aggrieved at what had happened.”

Highlights

Here’s a link to highlights of the game and the Toon game starts around 14:40 but just don’t expect to much…

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

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31 Responses

  1. agree with most of this, was at the match myself and thought williamson played very well and deserves at least a 7.
    we need to play 2 strikers and 2 wingers! now that we have routledge we can do this, with him on one wing and jonas on the other.
    what we really lack though, is a creative midfield player. nicky butt is way to slow, nolan immobile and smith not creative at all.
    no need to get too critical though, top by 4 points, game in hand, and on the way up

  2. What do people think of reports that we are in to bring Ambrose back to the club from Palace to solve the creativity issue’s in the middle of the park?

  3. I don’t think Ambrose is that creative to be honest.

    It would help if our midfielders were facing in the right direction. Everyone of them pass it sideways or long.

    I lost count of the amount of runs Routledge made yet he wasn’t seen or passed to. He will stop making the runs eventually and he will get stick from the fans for not doing anything – I can see it happening.

    For me we need to play 4-4-2 with the players we have now. We have two very good wingers that give us a threat from both flanks.

    Whether it’s Guthrie or Barton who play on the wing it makes the whole team very narrow and hence the game is messy.

    Hughton has some big decisions to make – Does he stick with Nolan? Does he replace Guthrie with a winger?

    IMO he should do both – But I don’t think he will.

  4. Really strange move for him that.

    Although money talks and us, WBA and Forset couldn’t afford the extra half mil.

    Shame really. Back to the boring predictable long ball tactics then.

    He’s probably better off at Wigan – he’d have sore neck playing for us.

  5. Why Butt? And why Ryan Taylor? I said before the match I’d rather have had Tamas and Van Hire as full backs and play two up with Peter L – instead of a midfield of Butt, Smith and Nolan, which frightens me more than the opposition!

  6. Although I thought both teams were pretty awful. How the Sky commentators kept a straight face when they said it was one of the best 0-0’s they’d seen for a while, I’ll never know. Unless they just haven’t seen any recently ;)

  7. It just frightens me that we don’t seem adventurous away from home. Playing 1 up front is something I have always disagreed with. It’s a tactic you’d employ if you were trying to avoid getting hammered.

    I’ve yet to see a team the switches to 1 up front away from home in this league, injuries and suspensions aside of course.

  8. Toonsy, feel sorry for you and the rest of the lads and lasses paying good money to watch that yesterday. It was dire, but lets hope they use the next 5-6 days to get it together before Cardiff. Disappointed with the Wigan decision, seems a bit of a strange one, but it’s over and done with, let’s see who we get by tomorrow….

  9. Geordie Deb – It’s what we do, pay our money to watch our team. Unfotunately Newcastle tickets should carry a Narcolepsy warning or be prescribed as an alternative to sleeping pills!

  10. firstly I am not bothered about not getting Moses as his move has proved to me it wasnt a footballing one as I have said before why we would have been his best move for his game.
    2nd I dont think we need anymore players we need CH to stop dropping the younger up and coming players in favor of Butt Nolan etc. come to think of it Moses probably looked at us and thought they have Ranger, Vukic, Lua Lua, Kadar, Tozer etc I could blend in with them ones but they never get played so fk that for a move make way for Wigan :lol:

  11. geordie deb says:
    January 31, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    “but it’s over and done with,”

    It isn’t quite over and done with yet, Deb. Moses’s will not be joining any club until tomorrow.

  12. see what you’re saying Dave and the link to the article above says more or less the same thing. Guess it depends if Ashley wants to try to get one over his biggest rival?

  13. Idiot! Were you at the game, can you read? reason I ask is, it’s CHRIS Weale, not Ian Weale. And Andy King is no more a central defender than I am, he’s a midfielder. So if King had Carol Andy – or whatever the girls name is – in his pocket, it just shows how deep your so called strikers were. Hope all Geordies aren’t as ignorant as you, although somehow I think they probably are.

  14. what was hughton thinking of when leicester were down to 10 men n there left back was warned any more rough stuff n he was off after clattering routledge .hughton decides to move routledge on the left .what a numpty he is .the ball at every op shouldve been given to routledge to run at this left back n sooner or later lcfc wouldve been down to 9 men .it doesnt take a rocket scientist to work that out

  15. steve – I was thinking of Ian Beale whilst writing this, easy confusion and i found out it’s Hobbs at CB not King. I tried to edit it but it was to late. I didn’t mean to cause offence.

  16. I feel i have to point out because it’s the only error on what seems a fairly fair and accurate account of the game.

    Leicester City’s keeper is CHRIS Weale not Ian Weale. other than that good article and wish you luck for the rest of the season…

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