For all the talk of ‘mass hysteria’, protests and Pardew Out banners, the day was notable for strong support of the team and a late comeback which came nowhere near papering the cracks that left us in the bottom three. Tiote returned to the side and Dummett came in for Haidara and the first half followed a similar pattern of us enjoying a decent chunk of possession at home with absolutely no attacking threat.
We had the better of the opening period against a surprisingly poor Hull side – I couldn’t get my head around why they didn’t come out all guns blazing against us in our fragile state but it was us that created a couple of half chances, the best of which came from Cabella being played in but he could only toe poke a weak shot at McGregor. Early days and all that, but the Frenchman has looked poor so far, lightweight, short of pace and very little threat in the final third. Mind, he’s playing in a poor team. Riviere had a header which he couldn’t get on target and Colback had a shot blocked but despite the paucity of the opposition, we weren’t really creating anything cohesive and when the half time whistle blew, the match looked a nailed on nils apiece.
That changed pretty quickly just a couple of minutes after the restart though when Hull took the lead with a mix of poor defending and a brilliant finish. Colback was caught in possession on the edge of the box and the resulting cross was crashed home by Jelavic with a spectacular bicycle kick. Goal of the month material from the Croat but he owed a lot to Colback’s idling in what was his poorest game for us to date. You’ll never convince me that you should start a home game with him and Tiote in central midfield and the Ivorian is by far the superior player so by association….
There were rumblings against Pardew but no more than that but the team looked incapable of an equaliser with aimless balls and misdirected crosses the order of the day. Things were to get worse when Diame increased their lead with twenty minutes to go. He was given ample time to check back inside and pick his spot from the edge of the box but the finish was another fine one with Krul beaten all ends up.
Frustrations in the crowd spilled over into outright derision when Riviere was hooked off for the returning Cisse. Make no mistake about it, Riviere is limited but why play the poor bugger by himself up front for five games and then take him off the second he has the chance to play up front with another striker, when two-nil down at home? With the end result, the manager will no doubt fancy himself as a tactical genius. In reality, it was another worrying display of poor man management and shit tactics.
Almost solely thanks to Cisse though, the game swung back in our direction. He’d only been on the pitch for a couple of minutes when Tiote played him into the box and he lashed a finish past Mcgregor at the near post – a proper striker at last! The Senegalese made a point of going to Pardew after his finish to offer solidarity. Certainly more solidarity than his manager has shown him when playing him out of position, slurring him over the Wonga row or parking him up front with no service for 18 months but there you go. He then went on to save his arse for another week at least when he converted the equaliser.
Sissoko crossed deep and Gouffran cleverly headed back across the goal to find Cisse free to knock the ball home from three yards to a mixture of relief and surprise with five minutes left on the clock. We could have actually gone on to nick the game but despite huffing and puffing, we couldn’t create another meaningful chance and the final whistle was blown to applause from both sets of fans. Really though, a point at home to Hull when you are bottom of the league is nothing to get the bunting out over and the result hardly papered over the cracks.
The watching Ashley might take the lack of concerted abuse directed towards Pardew and a ‘battling’ point as a green light to give the manager more time. In reality, we desperately need a change now. With games against Stoke, Swansea and Leicester coming up, a new manager might give us the impetus to get the minimum of five points that we need to give us a realistic chance of staying up. We’ll get two, tops under Pardew and that will leave us staring a relegation fight in the face without the leadership, direction or talent to get out of it.
Keep the Faith
Newcastle United – Krul 6, Janmaat 7, Coloccini 7, Williamson 7, Dummett 5, Sissoko 6, Colback 5, Tiote 8 (Sammy n/a), Cabella 5, Gouffran 5 (Perez n/a), Riviere 4 (CISSE 8)
Ref – 5 – Swarbrick – Luckily had nothing of any note to deal with because with the little things, he seemed like a right pernickety twat
Our Fans – 9 – I thought we were magnificent in the circumstances. Overwhelmingly positive and behind the team. It’ll no doubt be our fault we didn’t win, somehow.
Their Fans – 7 – Better than I’ve remembered them in previous seasons.
You can get signed up to true faith for a mere £17.99 annual cost. Or you could go for the
£5.99 quarterly option. Each season we bring out ten issues and each issue will have a minimum of 100 pages, though some will have more, like this one coming in on 108 pages. Each subscription entitles the reader to free access to our back catalogue of 30+ issues. There is no extra charge.
Just click here to get an instant subscription.