MATCH REPORT: Newcastle United 2 Liverpool 0, St James’ park, 6/Dec/15, KO: 4pm, Premier League. Att: 51,273

by • December 6, 2015 • Match reportsComments (20)4018

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The reason we all love football so much is because of days like these. The wildly unpredictable nature of the greatest sport in the world can afford the most fantastic of surprises in even the most unlikely of circumstances. That’s why we trooped out of St James’ Park after the game smiling and shaking our heads in sheer bafflement at what we had just witnessed.

In the hours before the games yesterday, I’d spent time exchanging opinions with fellow Mags about the “ethics” of placing bets on football that might generate winnings from United set-backs and described a bet against United as “free money”. Such was the lack of belief in the team achieving anything against Liverpool that me and my Mag comrades were in no rush to leave the warm glow of the Percy Arms and its delicious cold Irish stout and traipsed through the turnstiles a good 5 minutes after KO. .  In my head I’d already planned a disillusioned early walk-out at another inevitable gutless performance of the type we’ve seen so often from these players and a post-match analysis which once again discussed the prospect of relegation and dark thoughts towards Mike Ashley.

Brilliantly, it didn’t turn out that way.  With hindsight you might say there were seeds of victory in Liverpool’s high Newcastle-vs-Liverpoolintensity game-plan being something difficult to replicate twice in four days and the debatable complacency in leaving Sturridge et al on the bench. Added to that is the habit this team has of showing up with a decent performance against more celebrated and glamorous opposition where perhaps some of our maddeningly dilettante players might fancy a move to at some point. That’s Newcastle United I’m talking about for the avoidance of doubt.

Then of course there is the small matter of United saving their best performances this season (or elements of good performances) against teams where the expectation is we won’t enjoy the lion’s share of possession and where we’ll be at our best playing without the ball, namely doing the pressing,  covering, shepherding and all the rest of it for much longer periods than we might be expected to against the likes of say, West Brom, Sunderland et al. We’ve seen United perform very well this way at Man U, Arsenal and Chelsea in varying degrees – even at Man City before the roof fell in.

So, we won a game where no-one gave us a chance. Frankly if anyone predicted a United win they kept very quiet about it because such a forecast would have been completely irrational. But sometimes in this wonderful game we love so much, logic goes flying out of the window and the gloriously human elements of graft, courage, endeavour and discipline which were on display from the home team playing against superior opponents. Not to mention good fortune.

For a team with such a lamentable defensive record we looked solid at the back, well-organised and for once a central Napapijri Aerons Jacket - Marine (1)defensive midfield pairing of Colback and Anita didn’t look like two men doing the job of one.  The infuriating routine of Anita dropping back and taking the ball off the ‘keeper had been dispensed with and the little Dutchman was no longer sitting on the toes of the central defenders. It was a progress.

I’ll confess to impatience with Siem De Jong. His arrival in the summer of 2014 was heralded by Pardew and all the talk was of a clever, refined player who could give us new dimensions missing since the departure of Yohan Cabaye. Injury and illness have stalled his progress and I hear many writing him off as a crock (I’ve done so myself in angrier moods) but I saw flashes today of what he perhaps might be capable. Okay, he isn’t fit enough to play any longer than an hour – in truth he looked to be blowing out of his arse well before he was substituted just after the hour and some of his distribution was iffy but there were hints here and there which hint at better days. I hope so because within his natural elegance there might be a good player for us but it has to be delivered.

I wouldn’t describe myself as a massive Jack Colback fan but I do think the team is better with him in it on days like these.

Clearly the headlines will go to Wijnaldum and possibly even Sissoko who was involved in both goals but my belief is this was a result which is less attributable to individuals but more to collective effort and a change in attitude albeit against the type and profile of opposition which should inspire players but also does something to our crowd when it sees its team competing all over the park. Many of us at St James’ Park are of a generation which was often in awe of Liverpool Football Club before Graeme Souness took an axe to everything that was great about that football institution and from which it has never fully recovered. For that reason these wins are all the more satisfying given the history and fame of the club from Anfield.

St James’ Park was something like its best on Sunday afternoon, engaged, committed and determined  – even if as every Classic1minute passed by with us defending a 1-0 lead the thought never left me that it could all turn to shit in a couple of minutes. But it didn’t and we added a second in the dying moments to leave us dancing in the stands, hugging strangers and shaking our heads in sheer disbelief.

Football? Bloody hell.


Newcastle United:  Rob Elliot, Daryl Janmaat, Paul Dummett, Chancel Mbemba, Fabricio Coloccini, Moussa Sissoko, Jack Colback (Yoan Gouffran 77),Vurnon Anita, Gini Wijnaldum, Siem de Jong (Ayoze Perez 68), Papiss Cissé (Florian Thauvin 82).

Unused Subs: Jamie Sterry,Kevin  Mbabu, Alexandra Mitrovic, Karl Darlow.

Our Fans: Took time for us to see where there was a team playing in a manner of worthy of Newcastle United but when we did they got good support. Fair play to the lad in the Gallowgate who told those attempting the “Sign On” shite to “shut the fuck up you Tory bastards”. We like you.  (7/10)

Their Fans:  Good numbers. £55 a ticket but it seems it is Liverpool Football Club that is knocking back the offers of the reciprocal deals.  They have been in better voice at SJP previously  (6/10).           

Good match report in their excellent digital fanzine, the Anfield Wrap – just click here.

The Ref: Marriner didn’t get a lot wrong. He dished out a couple of yellows to Cisse and Colback for offences he seemed to let ride for those in Red but as we appear to have got out of jail with their goal it would be churlish to complain too much.


MICHAEL MARTIN – Follow Michael on @tfeditor1892


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20 Responses to MATCH REPORT: Newcastle United 2 Liverpool 0, St James’ park, 6/Dec/15, KO: 4pm, Premier League. Att: 51,273

  1. tom Bates says:

    Effort won us the game. If we could only put in that level of work rate against the lesser teams we would be fine. Again Sissoko performed in a big game. I suspected Liverpool would be under par after their quarter final last week and they definitely were but it’s a crucial 3 points. If we can follow that up in the next home game v villa we should climb out of the bottom 3. Excellent second goal as well

  2. Jarra mick says:

    Tom what game did you watch Sissoko was our worst performer. In the first 43 minutes I hadn’t made a solitary completed pass., he wasn’t much better in the second. He did set the second goal up but apart from that he was shite. A good job we had another 10 players who actually put a performance in.

  3. Bob says:

    A good overall performance for a change. I didn’t once see Anita or Colback collect the ball on the edge of our box which has been the game plan up to now. They both played further up the pitch and this made them look better. The effort was as mentioned above much better and the question has to be, why now and not these last few weeks?

  4. Steve says:

    How class is Juergen klopp? Even in defeat his interviews were classy, well mannered and good natured. I love the bloke and it’s a shame because I really dislike Liverpool.

    Excellent win and I thought cisses contribution in particular was really good.

  5. Anton says:

    Players being deployed in their natural positions?! I’m shocked at Steve’s pure genius. Do you think our feisty leader is learning? Or do players now ignore his instructions?
    Well done to the the squad – I’ve said it before: these are quality players being managed by numpties. There were other false dawns (Norwich) but let’s hope this one is the real thing.

  6. Peter Shearer says:

    Well it probably takes the pressure off Ashley (which is bad news) but it would be churlish not to acknowledge that this was a decent performance from the team. We can still dream of the day when we are all able to return to St James’ Park and cheer on a team and regime that we all support. Class finish for the second goal.

  7. Daniel says:

    I want NUFC to lose every week and this is why. One win and everything is OK again. It’s astonishing how so many people are brought back around so quickly by the novelty of a win. The only thing that can stir up a mutiny is an extended run of defeats. The win is meaningless as the payers and club do not have the ambition to be able to put any form together longer term and the payers can only perform when nothing is expected of them. All this one win serves to do is take pressure from Ashley. In the crazy world of the dystopian NUFC a win is a defeat.

  8. Peter Shearer says:

    I agree with you Daniel, that is the reality we are faced with. The uncomfortable truth is our fanbase are not up for the fight. I actually think that by removing the ones who have boycotted (of which I am one) we have let Ashley off the hook in the ground. But at least we can applaud ourselves for trying to do our bit to hasten his departure and make sure he gets no money from us. It is just a waiting game unless Ashley completely changes his character (unlikely!). So the wait goes on a bit longer now.

  9. The Gadgie says:

    Come on lads, celebrate a win ffs. Let it go for one week – we’ll probably be shit at Spurs so you can go back to whining then.

  10. Peter Shearer says:

    Good long-term strategy “gadgie”. And if you see it as “whining” I guess you must support Mr Ashley. My first comment recognised the effort by the team. That does not change what needs to happen at our club. I guess we can count you out of the fight to re-claim our club. One victory is pretty insignificant in the great scheme of things,

    • Kev Connolly says:

      It’s a stepping stone lads, that’s all. Great to beat a team who will be in the mix at trophy time. That workrate needs to be replicated beyond Christmas and especially against Vile. What a contrast in the conversation pre and post match. That’s why we keep on going.

  11. Andy bee says:

    I agree with you gadgie we need to celebrate a crucial win, you want applause Peter shearer? Clap clap ……there you go. Gutted I was stuck on a train work related as match rolled on but the Stella never tasted sweeter .

  12. Peter Shearer says:

    I think you have overdosed on the Stella Andy! Applause? What are you on about? Please don’t answer unless you can do grown-up speak!

  13. mark walsh says:

    Just when I think Im out, they drag me back in.

  14. Kenthemag says:

    I feel exactly the same as Walshy – the Toon are like a drug to me and it’s hard going cold turkey (Except on Boxing Day). It’s sad when those that still go to the games are classed as Ashley supporters, while those that have given up are the moral crusaders for truth, justice & the Geordie way. I enjoyed the win but it was only one win – but boy did I celebrate. Next week will probably be back to normal so that’s why I’m happy at the result and not distraught that we won. I am no fan of Ashley but I guess I just love Newcastle more than I hate him. Merry Christmas.

  15. Andy bee says:

    December 7 241pm ” we should applaud ourselves” ……your comment – common thread of perpetual whinging from yourself . Hope that is adult enough for you. What gadgie was purporting which I wholeheartedly agree with is the win brings so much pleasure to the legions that we should briefly savour it. Ashley goes when he dictates unfortunately not after Peter shearer whinge number xyz. I didn’t overdose on Stella , thanks for the sentiment, but boy was it sweet tasting in London with scousers on work assignment .

  16. Peter Shearer says:

    So presumably Andy Bee you class all fellow magpies that have taken the decision to do what they believe to be the right thing for their club as “whingers”. Many of the articles on this website ask the same questions as the boycotters -so do you also class them all as “whingers”. I agree with you that I have followed a consistent line, one that in my view tries to set out the arguments for what we should do. I am very aware of how insignificant my views may be, but that will not stop me from trying. A long time ago on this website there was a call to try and respect the views of fellow supporters-maybe before you joined. If you have an argument -please explain it, although your view that “Ashley goes when he decides” perhaps indicates your allegiance. And” whinging” is not defined as someone who has a different view to you. Have a Stella on me!

  17. rich says:

    I’ve got one foot in both camps. One win does not paper over the cracks and long term means nothing. However i was jumping up and down like a nutter when the second went in.

    Before everyone gets carried away with the new dawn, every time we have won or put in a solid performance (Man U,Chelsea) we have followed up with a loss. #just saying like…

  18. Tom Bates says:

    I dint think he had a bad game Mick but I was suffering from drink watching it so might have seen a different game to the reality. His attitude was right at least and of course he set up the second goal. I thought Wijnaldum came across well in post match interviews, not a big time Charlie at all, if a little quiet and genuinely pleased with the win. I was suprosed at Liverpools level of performance though, whether w made it hard for them or not.

  19. Andy bee says:

    Wrong assumption Peter s I respect all ‘fellow magpies’ your good self included always have done always will do. Your self proclaimed label of boycottor means f8ck all to me and provokes no reaction , positive or negative, as I’m not in that camp and won’t ever be. Your laughable jibe of ‘before you joined’ betrays an ignorance of astonishing proportions given you know nothing of my history. Keep your Stella thanks and don’t accuse me of ashley allegiance….as you’d be wrong. Here’s a thought, think of what true faith ( the concept not the fanzine) means to us all and react/write accordingly……
    Be proud of your black and white allegiance it can’t and shouldnt be broken if you choose to sit at home whilst we freeze our nuts off , fine no problem with that . Merry Xmas