MATCH REPORT: Newcastle United 1 Man City 1, St James’ Park, 19/Apr/16, KO: 7:45, Att: 46,424

by • April 20, 2016 • Match reportsComments (14)3054

A stirring night at SJP saw us put in our best performance of the season and earn a hugely deserved point against the Champions League semi-finalists.  Benitez followed up his bold move from Saturday in dropping Shelvey and left him on the bench again, this time with Wijnaldum rightly dropped after a string of poor shows, with Perez brought in.

United started the brighter of the two sides in the early exchanges and pressed City from the off and we fashioned the first chance when Townsend worked himself some pace and put over a good cross that Cisse headed onto the roof of the net.  It didn’t take long for the visitors to impose themselves though with an obvious instruction to target our fullbacks although it was under highly dubious circumstances that they took the lead just before the quarter hour mark.  Townsend was adjudged to have fouled Kolarov with minimal contact.  He picked himself up and whipped over a dangerous free kick that was headed home by Aguero.  From where I was sat in the East Stand, he looked well offside, albeit with poor marking and when the texts came in immediately it was obvious that the linesman had dropped a massive bollock.

Stung by the indignation, the crowd’s excellent support to the team never waned though and any fears that Man City AnitaManCitywould go on to dominate were quickly put aside as the team developed a backbone entirely missing under McClaren.   The otherwise flawless Lascelles nearly gifted de Bruyne a goal with an awful pass that played the Belgian in but he blazed his shot wide and we started to work our way back into the match.  The excellent Sissoko robbed Kolarov on the half way line and when he knocked the ball past Kompany, he was given a clear run on goal.  However, he ran out of puff and sidefooted an easy effort at Hart when a square ball to Cisse might have been the better choice.

We were level on the half hour though from an unlikely source.  Sissoko played a great cross field ball and Anita, breaking forward from full back pulled the ball inside Kolarov before steering a great finish in off the far post to leave Hart with no chance and leave the ground bouncing.  Roared on by the crowd, we had the visitors rattled with Tiote in particular absolutely magnificent in the middle, winning the physical challenges with their imposing midfield.

The worry was that we wouldn’t be able to maintain the pace in the second half but we matched our expensively assembled opposition without ever creating any clear cut chances.  Aguero went down very easily in the box under an Mbemba challenge, leaving a few hearts in mouths but the appeals were waved away and shortly after, Darlow had to get down smartly to turn a low Navas shot round the post.  Man City brought on Fernandinho and Sterling while we introduced Mitrovic for a tiring Cisse, who had grafted his nuts off up front by himself and our sub nearly made an instant impact when Townsend put over a lovely ball only for the Serb to see his header deflected behind for a corner.

Wijnaldum came on for Townsend, who had run himself into the ground and as the clock ticked down and legs started to get heavier, we started to hang on a bit but it was telling to see Benitez and his coaching staff urging Perez to get off the pitch quicker when he brought him off for Aarons.  Darlow palmed a header round the post as City started to pump the ball forward but we stood firm before having a golden chance to pinch all three points.  Wijnaldum twisted and turned in the box giving himself a clear shot at Hart’s near post, but the England keeper spread himself well and they managed to scramble the ball clear.  Five minutes of injury time which felt like an age passed and in the end, the point was greeted like a victory.

In terms of league position, it still leaves us with an awful lot to do and realistically, we need to pick something up at Anfield on Sunday to keep our chances realistic.  However, in terms of hope, confidence and pride in the team, the evening could turn out to be priceless.  We grafted harder as a team than we have at any point under our last two managers and clearly Benitez is starting to have a real impact on the side and with his selections and presence, is behaving like a proper manager, which of course he is and then some.  We’ve got some belief at last and of course it might be too late but it’s there and we’ve got to build on it and pray for a bit of luck along the way.

Keep the Faith


Newcastle United  – Darlow 7, Anita 9, Lascelles 8, Mbemba 8, Dummett 8, TIOTE 9, Colback 8, Sissoko 9, Perez 7 (Aarons n/a), Townsend 8 (Wijnaldum 7), Cisse 7 (Mitrovic 7)

Ref – 3 – He was poor but his baldy linesman was abysmal

Our Fans – 8 – Excellent, buoyed by the effort of the side with noticeable gaps in the stands

Their Fans – 1 – In a word, pathetic.  Mute, shocking turnout for such a ‘massive’ club.





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14 Responses to MATCH REPORT: Newcastle United 1 Man City 1, St James’ Park, 19/Apr/16, KO: 7:45, Att: 46,424

  1. Greeny's Guitar says:

    Agree with almost everything you’ve said but may I suggest that the poor marking on Aguero before his goal wasn’t actually bad marking but the fact he was standing so far offside he didn’t need man to man attention. Nobody could have anticipated probably the worst decision seen at SJP in recent years.
    All the players who have come in for criticism lately Anita, Cisse, Sissoko, Colback and Tiote were magnificent in their effort ( as was the whole team ) but Tiote’s brilliant performance, which is welcome, makes me angry because he has wasted the last couple of seasons or so.
    I would also like to compliment young Lascelles. He is developing into a very good centre half and it is encouraging that a young player is setting the standard both on and off the field.

    • gjbnufc says:

      Agree, the fact it was from a set piece where the lineman is stationary looking across the line is criminal

  2. Peter Ward says:

    Is it all too.late though?

  3. mick says:

    Is that the lowest turnout of away support at St James park? And they call us fickle?

  4. Peter Shearer says:

    A performance showing some character at last. And a manager who looks like he cares, deflects credit away from himself, can organise things on the pitch,praises the players and the fans (not Ashley). Have to say the atmosphere did not come across quite as good on telly, but maybe it is edited! The wider question is simply down to does Benitez stay and if he does will Ashley allow him to do things his way.

    • rich says:

      Hope you’re right Peter. Rafa has won just about everything there is to win so has nothing to prove to anyone. Fingers crossed if the worst does happen he sees it more as a project, now that would be the mark of a great manager.

  5. MP says:

    The biggest stand outs for me were the hard work, the solidity of the defensive unit, and the inventiveness of our set plays. I reckon we have learnt more set piece options in a few weeks than we have used in the last 7 or 8 years. It just shows the huge gap in class between a top class manager and so called managers like pardew carver and mcclaren.
    Defensively we are actually a unit. Compare last night to the first 15 mins at Stamford bridge. Ive never seen members of a defence so far apart as at Stamford bridge. Last night there just weren’t those gaps.
    The hard work of the players begs the question why they haven’t put that sort of a shift in over the rest of the season. The players get paid fortunes and should work hard every game, but most of us will have experience of working for bosses who just don’t earn or deserve any respect. It is very hard to put 100% effort in when you feel its all pointless. Im guessing that’s what some of our players have gone through. Yes, they should do it for the fans and their self respect, but working in such toxic places, where everyone in power above you is basically an idiot is very difficult.
    It still looks like we will need to win our last 3 to have a good chance of staying up, but its at least now possible with a proper manager in charge. Unfortunately the defeat at Norwich, and not beating the mackems, Bournemouth, and villa at home may cost us dearly.

  6. Boomtown says:

    Bring on Liverpool!

  7. P Jobson says:

    Man Citeh fans really were not really there last night – as their song goes…….pathetic

  8. Rob says:

    To be fair to the City fans they have just had to take time off work and fork out for what would have been an expensive trip to Paris then buy a ticket for the home tie against PSG and will need to fork out for another expensive trip to Madrid and get time off work for that plus buy yet another ticket for that home game. They have had a choice this week of either a nice easy trip to London versus Chelsea on a Saturday or taking time off to get up to us on a Tuesday night, maybe those criticising their turnout have very understanding bosses and large pots of money to spend on football but most people don’t.

  9. tomb says:

    Good point Rob City probably have had twice as many games for their supporters to choose from as we have since xmas and a choice between us or Madrid the next week can’t blame em. Not sure how many times we have to suffer poor decisions against Man City I’m getting so used to it I’m not even outraged anymore. We were good they weren’t great. Let’s hope Liverpool are tired from their derby two days before they play us. We have the fixtures to get 7 points or more

  10. SteveP says:

    For 50- odd thousand to now attend the Etihad, there will be thousands who couldn’t attend Paris and can’t go to Madrid, so there’s no excuse for not selling an allocation for the game on tuesday night.

    Remember the days under Robson when we were in Europe and almost inevitable always scheduled to play at Blackburn on a Tuesday or Wednesday, we ALWAYS sold ALL of that allocation.