MATCH REPORT: Newcastle United 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1, St James’ Park, 26/Dec/16, KO: 7:45pm Att: 52,179.

by • December 26, 2016 • Match reportsComments (7)1989

United failed to provide any Christmas cheer as we succumbed to a physical but superior Wednesday side in front of a full Phoenixlogohouse on a chilly Boxing Day night.  Colback came in for the suspended Shelvey and the errant midfielder was a miss all night as we struggled to gain any cohesion against the visiting Owls.

Early signs were fairly promising and we produced our best chance of the game inside the opening periods when Gayle lashed a shot against the bar and Wednesday scrambled away an effort off their line but they quickly got a hold on the game, with everything going through Bannan in the middle.  There was a taste of things to come with some cynical and some outright dirty challenges , with Forestiere somehow evading a yellow despite a string of fouls but that is not to take away from some flowing moves that could have seen them go ahead in the first half.

We had Darlow to thank for keeping us in the game when he somehow managed to tip over a fizzer from Forestiere at Rafa4close range after a quick break and Palmer had another golden opportunity for them when he got in behind Dummett but blazed over when a square ball would surely have led to the opener.  For our part, we had decent possession but too often looked either toothless in the middle or unable to hit a decent ball from out wide – Gouffran and Ritchie having two distinctly off days.

The second half was more of the same as Wednesday again enjoyed the better of the play and again, only a fantastic display from Darlow kept us in it.  He matched his heroics of the first half when he pulled off a great stop, spreading himself to prevent Fletcher after the ex-Mackem had been played in from a ball from the right, looking a certainty to score from ten yards out.  The keeper was finally beaten ten minutes into the second period though despite initially parrying a point blank header from a corner, the rebound falling back to Loovens to head home.  We looked susceptible to corners and balls into the box all night and the two centre backs both had games to forget.

Rafa reacted by bringing Atsu on for Gouffran and the Ghanaian almost pulled us back into it but his dipping shot was palmed over by Westwood.  Perez entered the fray for the awful Diame, but made next to no impact and although Wednesday sat back on their lead, we were incapable of making any impression on their defence.  The crowd’s shackles were lifted by a shocking tackle by ex-Mackem number 2, Ross Wallace which should have seen him walking after Anita was scythed down and Mitrovic was thrown on as a last throw of the dice but even the more direct approach didn’t really see the Wednesday defence break sweat.

In the end, we got the result our performance deserved although credit should go to Wednesday, who along with TF Mini Ads .inddHuddersfield were the two best sides we’ve seen this season in my opinion and we chalked up our fourth home loss of the season – we never thought we’d ever say this, but it’s our outstanding away form that has us where we are in the table.  We looked laboured tonight in Shelvey’s absence but on the basis of the circus show at the City Ground at the beginning of the month, we couldn’t have a better opportunity to put things right with an indignant home crowd and a distinctly average opposition coming to town.

There’ll no doubt be countless conversations about the man that was missing for us tonight, but we’ve got another four games to get through in his absence and with all of the teams in the play off spots also winning today, we’ve got no time to feel sorry for ourselves.

Keep the Faith

Newcastle United  – DARLOW 9, Anita 6, Clark 5, Lascelles 5, Dummett 5, Ritchie 4, Colback 4 (Mitrovic n/a), Hayden 5, Gouffran 4 (Atsu 6), Diame 4 (Perez 4), Gayle 4

Ref – Tierney – 3 – Never felt that he really had control of the game at any point

Our Fans – 6 – Noisy at first, tailed off with the team

Their Fans – 9 – Excellent away following.


GARETH HARRISON – Follow Gareth on @truefaith1892


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7 Responses to MATCH REPORT: Newcastle United 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1, St James’ Park, 26/Dec/16, KO: 7:45pm Att: 52,179.

  1. Alex says:

    Not Colback’s best game but the lad hasn’t played football for two months so I’m sure he’ll get better.

    What was most disappointing was the lack of even an attempt for either CM to find Dwight Gayle with balls in behind that would have stretched the play.

    We need to get back at what we’re good at, I’m sure we will on Friday.

  2. Jarramag says:

    We can all see the problem at home.1)Playing 1 up front gives away teams an easy ride because we dont pressure them.2)Our wide players spend most of the game protecting Dummet & Anita who are not good enough.How De Yedlin sits on the bench for Anita is criminal as for Dummet if we dont have anyone better we are in trouble.3)Rafa plays too defensive at home and should attack teams with 2 up top.Our approach is very slow & easy to defend.The defenses in this league are not very good so lets go out and attack them at home.

  3. Andy bee says:

    Totally agree jarramag ….very slow sums it up. We are ponderous at times when visitors are banked up in front of us at SJP. Don’t agree that colback needs football ,he won’t change, not up to scratch for a holding midfielder in my opinion and chokes any momentum when given ball. Others need to look at themselves hard gouff and Ritchie are way off and Diiame has reverted to can’t be arsed mode. Cmon lads put it right with a tonking for the scabs!

  4. Alex Dougall says:

    Completely agree with JarraMag..added to what he said I reckon Atsu deserves more of a chance at home especially. We should be taking the game to teams! Not fashionable anymore but why not try two up top..we could blow teams away in the first twenty minutes!

  5. Rob Douglas says:

    I think the pace of play is the key. I’m not sure that Benitez will ever play 2up front so the key is to have the Number 10 dropping to link play and the midfield passing wide quicker. It then needs the wide men to either take on the full backs for give and go quickly. At the moment, as lots of people have said and were saying in the ground last night, we’re playing slowly in front of massed defences and it’s all too slow and predictable. We need to play a yard quicker and try to stretch the defences more.

  6. Peter Shearer says:

    Yes and continuing the theme of lack of pace, Shelvey off-sets this somewhat by his ability to see a piercing pass. Not sure we have enough imagination without him, so some of the others need to step up or we may need to act in January if we want to actually win the league. I am not sure what has happened to Perez-he seems to be going backwards. And without saying he is the answer to all our problems I think Mitro provided a problem to them when he came on.

  7. Bob says:

    We don’t have a player to replace Shelvey and I suspect Rafa will do something in January. We lack creativity , Neither Hayden or Colback fit that role. We relied on Tiote in previous years after Cabaye and that didn’t work either. Hayden and Colback were sitting too deep to really influence the game and better long balls were given by Clark and Lascelles. If we play Hayden and Colback I would suggest one sits deep and the other plays further forward. It also need Diame to step up his game again. I like Perez, he does have bit of skill, but he hasn’t really played well this season.