Newcastle United produced their worst away perfromance of the season as Sheffield Wednesday completed an unwanted double over us. It was only our second league defeat since January 2nd, but that didn’t make it any easier to take following Brightons comfortable win on Friday night.
United made one change from that team that beat Burton on Wednesday, with Yoan Gouffran coming in to take the place of Christian Atsu, a change that would leave nobody suprised. Illness to Jack Colback and a slighy knock to Isaac Hayden meant that Mo Diame continued in central midfield with Jonjo Shelvey. We look short in midfield at the moment, anyone remember Rafa wanting to sign another centre midfielder in January? Never mind, that’s something that will rumble on into summer after promotion is surely secured.
In a totally forgetable first half the home side came closest to scoring when firstly a Gary Hooper volley came back off the
cross bar after a poor Paul Dummett clearance and then ex mackem Steven Fletcher screwed horribly wide when well placed, he ought to have scored. We then lost Dwight Gayle to what looks like a re-occurance of his original hamstring injury, he hasn’t looked right at all for weeks has he? I don’t know if it was the fact that it was a 5:30 kick off and that I’d had more than a few stouts but I really don’t remember anything else of any note happening in that first half, in which other than the two chances mentioned, United never really looked troubled, yet we didn’t test home keeper Kieran Westeood at all either until Jonjo Shelvey with his first notable contribution popped the ball one side of his man and unleashed a brilliant effort from the half way line which he was unlucky to see crash off the woodwork.
The second half was a totally different affair, in which United couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm and our very few short comings this season became apparent. We cannot have a go at the team for there performance this season as a whole, but, and this maybe a bit controversial but I’m going to say it…. Jonjo Shelvey had another poor game, and unlike Matt Ritchie when he doesn’t play well, the work ethic isn’t quite there with him. This probably explains why Rafa had him out the side fairly quickily at the back end of last season. He just doesn’t seem to have been at the races since coming back from that ban. Shoot me down if you please, but I want more from him. He wasn’t the only one who under performed today however, Ayoze Perez, who I seen make his United debut at the same ground a few years earlier again turned in another really poor display. What has happened to this lad, full of promise in his early Newcastle career, he now looks a really bad imitation of his original self. Anyway, it’s easy to criticise after a defeat.
Wednesdays first goal arrived on the hour as a Ross Wallace free kick was met by the head of Tom Lees. That goal didn’t alter the away ends support for the team which was on the whole fantastic all afternoon. 10 minites later there looked to be no way back for Newcastle, when Fletcher headed in direct from a throw in, a really poor goal to conceed. United rallied late on and when a Mitorvic attempt hit straight at Westwood, Shelvey was there to tap in the re-bound. Then as injury time came round, a right wing corner found the head of Lascelles, only for the captain to head wide in what would have given us an unlikely and undeserved draw. As it was it stayed 2-1 and Wednesday completed the double over us.
A song and drink fuelled bus journey home seen us all still in good spirits, quite literally! I’ve no doubt Rafa and the lads will still get the job done, just get us out of this horrible league as soon as possible!
In Rafa we trust!
Darlow 6, Anita 5, Lascelles 6, Mbemba 5, Dummett 4, Ritchie 6 Shelvey 5, Diame 4, Gouffran 5, Perez 4, Gayle 5
Murphy 6 (for Gayle)
Atsu 5 (for Diame)
Mitrovic 6 (for Ritchie)
Leeds up at home next on good Friday, lets make it one of those nasty hostile atmospheres at St James’ and get ourselves back on track.
CHRIS WOOD – Follow Chris on @ChristophWood
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