REPORT & PODCAST: Blackburn Rovers 1 Newcastle United 0, Ewood Park, 2/Jan/17, KO: 3pm. Att: 18,524

by • January 2, 2017 • Match reportsComments (13)1891

It is too easy to look at this result on paper, see some brief highlights or even just have a quick look at the ongoing social Phoenixlogomedia meltdown (of a silly minority) and start saying things like ‘worried’. That of course would be a silly thing to do; to let a few trigger happy twitter accounts, who probably haven’t seen the game, inform your thinking about football.

United have had a few off games in what has already been a long Championship season. We were told to expect this by Rafa himself. It will be tough and scrappy at times. We will make mistakes and we will lose games. It’s the end result that matters (where we sit in May). All of these things came from the manager himself and if we hadn’t been on the insane run we went on in September-November, I don’t think we’d think any differently now. The expectation that comes with winning so many games can be difficult to manage and we can all be guilty of losing focus on the task at hand because of it.

The daft thing is, today wasn’t even one of those off days! It was similar to most of our away games this season, in fact, Rafa16from the off. There were hundreds of kids in the concourse singing and jumping around with their phones set to record right up to kick off. Those same kids once again seemed to lose their voices when the match started, again. I’m still in my twenties and this is a phenomenon I will never understand.

Still, the first half followed the trend of the season too. We dominated for 45 minutes. The only thing missing was the first goal. Had we got this, we’d have won 4 or 5 nil. Hayden and Gayle had early chances which came close before Mo Diamé marched through their midfield and smashed a 30 yarder off the crossbar. Moments later Paul Dummett floated a ball to Gayle at the far post, who turned inside and forced a save from eventual man of the match Luke Steele. Gayle could probably have passed here and we would have scored, but it was a great save. He was put through one on one by Gouffran shortly after that but again Luke Steele blocked well.

At half time we had had about 13 shots to their 0 and had 72% of the ball. Such has been Newcastle’s way for as long as I can remember, we are yet again sat here ruing these missed chances. Rafa will continue to improve these players to prevent this but in any case, whilst it is frustrating its far better to be worrying about not putting chances away than not creating them!

The second half was admittedly more frustrating as Blackburn shut up shop. We had less ideas and struggled to create as TF Mini Ads .inddmuch as in the first. We had 2 goals disallowed (both correctly), one for offside, another where the ball bounced up onto Clark’s hand from a free kick before he put it in. Clark later got on to the end of a cross from Hayden (one of the few he put in the right place in a poor game by his standards this season) but Steele tipped onto the bar again.

We’d had all of our chances before a daft free kick conceded by Colback finally decided the game. This is a part of his game he really needs to improve on. In this league, conceding stupid fouls to bad teams will cost us points. And that was that. 3 points snatched from us again. The performance wasn’t our best but it was enough to win the game and we were just unlucky. Their keeper’s also had a blinder.

Just to be clear, this isn’t about saying everything is perfect. There is of course room for improvement. We do lack creativity in midfield with both Colback and Hayden in there. Both are decent players but perhaps don’t have enough about them together in the absence of Shelvey. We also need more options out wide.  Gouffran and Ritchie have contributed well this season but we need competition in these positions and some other ideas. We’ll need much better full backs in the Prem. However, I have absolute trust that Rafa has these requirements in hand.

In any case, We are still second. We still have Rafa. Things can only improve and I think that’s a great position to be in given how close our club came to dying a year ago. As fan’s we’ve been through some shit in the last few years but we really have to dig deep and be patient as Rafa’s project at our club develops to fruition, and it will. Stick with it. There will be more days like this one, but think of the end goal. We’re on target – to put this in perspective, we had EXACTLY THE SAME NUMBER OF POINTS at this stage in 2010.

Newcastle United – Darlow 7, Anita 6(Murphy), Lascelles 6, Clark, 7, Dummett 7, Colback 6(Perez 5), Hayden 5, Ritchie 6, Gouffran 7(Atsu 6), Diamé 7, Gayle 7

Our Fans – 6 Great turnout, obviously, but the usual concourse antics was once again lacking in the stands during the game. The loudest we got was to sing about empty seats. It’s Ewood Park lads.

Their Fans – 5 Have to feel for them for what’s happened to their club, but they’ve clearly given up. That said I think they stayed behind to protest. Good luck I suppose.

Ref – 7 – Nothing to say here. He got all major calls right unfortunately for us.

Simon Campbell - true faith podcaster, follow him on twitter @simoncampbell11

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13 Responses to REPORT & PODCAST: Blackburn Rovers 1 Newcastle United 0, Ewood Park, 2/Jan/17, KO: 3pm. Att: 18,524

  1. Bob says:

    Oh dear. Authors of our own downfall there. I was a bit surprised Rafa left his substitutions so late bearing in mind what was going on, although he tends to do it that way. I like Perez but he’s shown very little this season.

  2. Andy bee says:

    agree totally trust Rafa. No faith in colback – play yedlin fullback Anita alongside Hayden the game would have been won.

  3. Iain says:

    About the podcast. The most arrogant thing I keep hearing and I keep hearing it on these podcasts, is how every other team in this league is shit and how we’re going to take three points from the next fixture, whoever it’s against. As for not minding criticism, you could have fooled me.

  4. Mikey says:

    I get the Rafa revolution, but for Christ sakes lets get some competition in , too much berefit of ideas and relying on shelvey , we really need to kick on

  5. Colin McCabe says:

    “In this league, conceding stupid fouls to bad teams will cost us points.” it will do in any league. I like Colback and I think he is a decent but limited player, unfortunately he cant seem to get these stupid fouls out of his system and that’s what brings him down to a level where he shouldn’t really be on the pitch. does it all the time and its infuriating

    • Simon says:

      Agreed. Reminds me of Nicky Butt who had similar issues. The season we went down in 2009 he must have cost us 10 points in free kicks and pens.
      It’s a worry. My point was that in THIS league, sides like Blackburn have literally no chance of scoring unless you give them a free kick like this.
      Rafa will either help him improve or replace him when the time is right. I’d be happy with either outcome.

  6. Mick M says:

    Colback is stealing a living as a footballer, cannot make a clean tackle, cannot head a football, as fast as a crippled sloth and no goal threat whatsoever..A truly vile waste of a shirt and looks like he should be collecting empty glasses in Wetherspoons not representing this great club..As bad as I’ve seen in the shirt and believe me I’ve seen some shit..

  7. Peter Shearer says:

    Agree with most people as to where we are and that it is no time to panic. However, I think we have seen enough to think that if we want to win the league, we may well need some new faces. Rafa is obviously smarter than all of us, but I do think fans are entitled to have views and to hold him to scrutiny, like we have every other manager. I don’t think any sensible fan is calling for him to go! I am assuming he can see what we can see, so I think it is likely we will make some signings in January. It was a stupid foul by Colback, as the free-kick was far more dangerous than if he had just let the guy have a shot. He does make errors of judgement.

  8. kenny says:

    think we need a quick physical centre forward as we struggle if plan A isn’t working. we also need quality on the left, nothing comes from that side of the pitch & its becoming obvious. but rafa knows this, he will address it i’m sure. lets just let him get on with improving us while we keep the faith…savvy !

  9. mike says:

    one of the worst teams ever has now done us twice. its no good having all the ball if you dont know what to do past the half way line, too often in the last few games we pass sideways and backwards. we need a spark to kick on and maybe a couple of new faces may just do that. one question i and others at the games cant get our heads around is the subs coming on so late in games that need something changing if plan A isnt working?
    Dont agree with your comment on the fans…..how many clubs take 7k to an away game? mostly noisy all the game and good banter. Well done lads and lasses.

  10. Robert says:

    Colback isn’t just a liability four conceding fouls—-his “presence” in the center midfield is poor in so many ways. I like the lad and his work rate, but his decision making, poor quality passing, and lackluster defending of late has made his status as a starter questionable (albeit a product of necessity). Against Blackburn, one could see a clear example—he passed back to Lascalles when a turn and a forward pass to the wing would have set up another speedy attack. He had the space but chose to back pass. This happens several times per match. It’s decision making, along with what seems like a lack of confidence to ping through balls forward.

    I agree with Andy—until Shelvey’s return, bench Colback and use Anita as a holding, with Yedlin at fullback (who should be starting there in my opinion anyway).

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