A vital win saw us stay in the bottom three but at least spark some hope with three points in an otherwise forgettable game. Steven Taylor thankfully came in for Williamson – I hasten to add that’s not a ringing endorsement of the former but frankly I’d rather have Dennis Taylor playing centre half than the former and a warm up injury to Tiote saw ineffective midget Vurnon Anita promoted to the starting line up. The match was preceeded by a palpable frisson of excitement (well, from me at least) that the match would be called off and we could have an afternoon in the pub but the game did start after an hour delay after the big screen we’ve installed for the impeding rugby league thing at SJP.
The first half actually started quite brightly and we should have taken the lead when Coloccini popped up in the box with time but steered a side footed effort wide and our main threat, as it was all afternoon came through Obertan who showed a purpose which has been missing from Gouffran for nine months, Sissoko for two years and our centre midfield for, well… We’ll have this conversation now because really there wasn’t too much else to discuss in the first half but whilst Obertan has largely been a joke at NUFC, when you look at our other, undroppable Frenchmen, then he is certainly no worse and is arguably more effective. I never want to see Gouffran play for us again. Utter, utter shit.
Anyway, yeah, getting back to the match, Leicester came even closer when James looked odds on to score but steered an effort tamely at Krul and they also hit the post from a deflection but by half time, we looked as short of ideas as we always do.
We again started the second half brightly though and Cisse should arguably have done better when seizing on a weak backpass, rounding Schmeichel only to shoot into the side netting. Leicester then started to get on top of the game and after enjoying a 15 minute spell when they were well in control of the game, to rising murmurs of discontent from the stands we hooked the embarrassingly anonymous Anita for the lively Perez and hit the visitors on the counter attack to win the game through man of the match (do not adjust your sets) Obertan.
Cisse played the ‘enigmatic’ Frenchman in but he still had a lot to do before surging on with the ball, cutting inside and rifling a shot past Schmeichel in impressive fashion. Good goal and good for him. The confidence drained out of Leicester and Cisse really should have sealed it after some excellent work from Perez saw him picked out from a great cross only for his header into the ground to go over from six yards out. Poor miss. On early impressions though, Perez has more to offer than Riviere but when you consider that the three of them represent our attacking ‘options’ then you’ll see just how short we are.
News of the Mackems getting smashed 8-0 at Southampton put an extra gloss on the afternoon but if I’m entirely honest, I came away temporarily relieved rather than ecstatic. I don’t want to be a miserable, twisty bastard and after waiting so long for a win, I am genuinely pleased that we have one to celebrate but to say that it is papering over some cracks which may start to resemble the San Andreas fault come mid November to end of December time would be putting things mildly. I know Tiote was injured in the warm up but honestly, I would struggle to pick a worse starting line up in the past twenty plus years.
You might call that a kneejerk but…decent keeper, one decent full back, one half decent centre half when he can be arsed, one at very best ‘unpredictable’ winger, two/three badly average to absolutely terrible centre midfielders and one good centre forward with far too much weight on his shoulders. The relegation season team of malingerers and wankers was better than this one but the league is probably worse so we might stop up. That, for me is as much optimism as I can muster longer term. Short term, I’m delighted to see us win.
Keep the Faith
Newcastle United – Krul 7, Janmaat 7, Coloccini 6, S Taylor 7, Dummett 6 (Haidara 5) Sissoko 6, Colback 4, Anita 4 (Perez 7), Gouffran 3 (Cabella n/a), OBERTAN 8, Cisse 6
Ref – Atkinson 7 – I can’t remember a foul?
Our Fans – 6 – Merry and stayed with the team
Their Fans – 7 – Excellent turn out, not much noise
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