Without swinging from the Chandeliers in ecstatic joy and basking in a blissful sense of
wellbeing, this was actually half-decent outing in London’s Deep South. This being Newcastle United we had to make far more heavy weather of it than we needed to.
While Warnock wasn’t expected to field a frontline XI, there was speculation whether Pardew would do the same, this being an ideal match to restore some semblance of confidence. The correct, and frankly only decision, was to persevere with Riviere while interestingly slotting Armstrong just behind.
From the start and throughout most of the match, United were pretty much in charge with Colback and Abeid assured in Midfield. Ameobi, after a bright start, set up Armstrong to have a strong shot form the right side. Despite this Palace were awarded a penalty when Janmaat brought down Zaha on 25 mins. Bit of a daft penalty to give away with Janmaat never needing to take Zaha down.
Still United persevered looking far more comfortable on the ball and moves actually being created. Armstrong was at the heart of this and his tireless runs drove us on both without real chances being created. That was to change on 36 mins when Riviere took advantage of Hangeland’s slip to turn and curl a cracking shot that left Hennessey stranded as it nestled snugly in the bottom left corner. From there Riviere started to have a greater impact on the game and perhaps he just does need a bit of confidence. I have my doubts but we’ll see eh?
Within 3 minutes, United took charge of the game when Ameobi was brought down in the box following another strong run on the left side. Riviere slotted a perfect penalty away to take a well-deserved 2-1 lead. He also put through Abeid to make it 3-1 one but Hennessey blocked the midfielder’s chance from close in. Either side had decent changes from 20 yards before Pardew mistakenly took off Ameobi for Sissoko while leaving Obertan on. It’s taken 2 matches in the LC to remind me once more why Obertan simply isn’t good enough, especially if Ameobi can outperform him in this match.
Palace then brought on our old nemesis Andy Johnson who right away galvanised their efforts. Gayle had a header hitting the foot of the post that really should have made it 2-2 and then had a goal disallowed. Again, taking off Riviere with only 9 minutes left was questionable when you still needed a presence up front (Perez isnt at the same level) and penalties not out of the question either. However, we were nearly home and dry before the substitute KaiKai was given a second chance after Elliot couldn’t hold the first attempt from close in. Right kick in the balls, though Sissoko wasted a decent change to finish it off seconds later.
10 minutes into Extra time and the task was made even more difficult when Abeid, after a strong game, got a harsh second yellow and left us 10 men and listing in ET in a game we’d dominated. However, Paul Dummett became the first NUFC player of 14/15 to score a winning goal when a Geordie combination of Ameobi and then Armstrong combined to set up Dummett with a brave diving header. Armstrong’s cross was a belter too. Just as good was a brilliant point blank save by Elliot right at the death to ensure a well-deserved win.
Nobody’s getting carried away. We are in a genuine relegation scrap and where we go from here is anyone’s guess. This was an under strength Palace side in a match hardly crucial to them. Fundamental problems with the side remain, not least the Doylem who “manages” them. But there were good positives, not least Riviere finally scoring and perhaps Armstrong beginning to emerge as a genuine option for us in attack (not that we are flash with them!). Somehow we need to take last night forwards into Stoke and Swansea.
Newcastle United: Elliott 7; Dummett 7, Coloccini 7, Taylor 6, Janmaat 5 (Hiadara 6); Ameobi 7 (Sissoko 5), Colback 7, Abeid 7, Obertan 5; Armstrong 8; RIVIERE 8 (Perez n/a).
Subs not used: Alnwick, Anita, Cabella, Ferreyra.
Ours: 8. Considering it’s another pain in the arse trip and the overall shitiness of current affairs an excellent turn out and very supportive. I’m not going to bother commenting on Pardew’s snide comment afterwards.
Theirs: 6. Not a great turn out but Warnock set out his stall beforehand on its priority. The corner in the Holmesdale Road end made a decent constant noise. A canny club and a decent ground for atmosphere.
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