Monday, October 18, 2010

Sideshow late show

Newcastle Utd 2 - 2 Wigan

Regular Simpsons watchers will be accustomed to the site of Sideshow Bob being foiled at the last second by a slightly irritating short-arse. However, Saturday's match at St James' Park turned that scenario on its head, with the irritating short-arse's best efforts thwarted by a Sideshow Bob lookalike.

In this case, it was captain-for-the-day Fabricio Coloccini, whose last-second (never mind last-minute) powerful header after Bigger Lad had flicked on Spiderman's corner which ensured honours even after two first-half strikes from the returning Zzzzog had seen the visitors take a strong lead.

With Kevin Nolan missing due to a reported knock and Hatem Ben Arfa sidelined for the foreseeable future, Chris Hughton shuffled his pack, with Peter Lovenkrands and Danny Guthrie restored to the starting line-up and Bigger Lad preferred up front. However, it was the visitors who looked to be the more potent in the early exchanges, one good cross from Spidermag apart, and it was they who took the lead with Zzzzzog heading home at the back post, with both James Perch and Mike Williamson too far away from him to challenge.

Ninety seconds later it was two, after ASBO lost the ball in a poor central position and Wigan were allowed to break forward. Perch was unfortunately stranded up the pitch, having pressed forward when ASBO had the ball, and Zzzzog was once again allowed to fire home largely unchallenged, beating Tim Krul at his near post.

With two home defeats fresh in the memory, the forecast looked pretty bleak, and it was only the second-half introduction of Big Lad, on for Lovenkrands, that seemed to get us moving. It was his diving header from a fine Spidermag cross which got us back into the contest, and set up the final push which saw us throw the kitchen sink at the Gallowgate goal.

With time running out, Bigger Lad's side-foot wide in the 89th minute looked to be a costly miss, but thankfully Coloccini was there to snatch a point at the death.

On the plus side, the spirit shown to gain the point was encouraging, and should have a beneficial impact on the squad after two home defeats. However, James Perch once again looked out of his depth, and Danny Simpson's return to the first team can't come soon enough. Simpson may yet be found to struggle at this level, but he can't do worse than Perch at present. Perch too should benefit from some time on the sidelines, when hopefully he can take the time to adjust to the top level.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian


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