An excellent first half display and would you believe it, a goal directly from a corner helped us to our third consecutive league victory and propelled us into an unlikely position in the top eight. Colo returned to the side for the suspended Debuchy but otherwise we kept the same lineup as recent games with Shola keeping his place in the starting eleven.
We couldn’t have got off to a better start when we attained the holy grail with the rarest of goals from a corner. Cabaye put the ball over and it bounced uncontested in the box plum onto Remy’s head at the back post to a disbelieving SJP inside two minutes. ‘We’ve fucking scored from a corner’ chanted the Gallowgate and Pardew acknowledged with a clenched fist. As if things weren’t surreal enough, we were treated to Mike Williamson doing step-overs on the left wing minutes later to pull back from Remy, only for his shot to be scuffed wide.
The excellent Shola then played a clever ball through for Sissoko to put the Frenchman bearing down on Ruddy but he dragged his shot wide when the near post might have been the better option. Norwich were having chances of their own too though, mainly through long balls to the back post that were headed back across the box – the most dangerous of which almost sneaked into the far corner.
We grabbed our second a few minutes before half time when Shola started a move, playing a ball out wide to Remy, who fed back to Sissoko. His cross was met by Shola himself, hurtling into the box to climb highest for a header that Ruddy could only parry into the path of Gouffran who tapped in from a couple of feet out. The rampant Shola nearly got a goal of his own just before the break when Ruddy turned a rasping drive just around the post but we went in very comfortable regardless. Special mention to Tiote aswell who had a good half dozen shots from outside the box of various shades of shit, the latter a comedy slice for a throw in from an attempt at a ‘Scholes’ corner. Embarrassing stuff. Other than that, he was actually canny!
Not for the first time though, we were generally lethargic in the second half and slowly, Norwich got on top. Redmond, who had looked lively all afternoon cut inside only to fire over and Mbiwa never really looked comfortable deputising at full back . We introduced Anita and Cisse but arses started to wobble when Fer got up to bullet home a header from a cross from ten yards out. Possibly slightly harsh, but I think Krul could have done better with it. Ridiculously, after coasting at half time we now found ourselves nervously hanging on and with the help of the freshly introduced Ben Arfa were reduced to maintaining possession and heading for the corners. Cisse had a chance to wrap things up but couldn’t direct his header on target and after a stoppage for an injury to Sissoko that saw us play out the last minute or so with ten men, we hung on for the victory.
Overall, a very satisfying three points that from a game that had ‘banana skin’ written all over it, especially after our recent scalps and we are in a very respectable league position with another winnable home game coming up next Saturday. Shola was excellent until he tired and I doubt that many would have expected to find themselves quibbling over whether he or Williamson was man of the match a few weeks ago. Funny old business is Newcastle United.
Keep the Faith
Newcastle United: – Tim Krul 6, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa 6, Mike Willamson 8, Fabricio Coloccini 7, Davide Santon 7, Moussa Sissoko 7, Yohan Cabaye 6 (Vurnon Anita 6), Chieck Tiote 7, Yohan Gouffran 7 (Hatem Ben Arfa n/a), SHOLA AMEOBI 8 (Papiss Cisse 6), Loic Remy 8
Ref – Dean – 7 – Barely had anything to do
Our Fans – 6 – Quiet in the second half.
Their Fans – 5 – Not as good as usual in terms of numbers and that On the Ball City is a shit song