Monday, November 01, 2010

Shambolic Mackems battered

Newcastle Utd 5 - 1 The Great Unwashed

Yesterday saw Newcastle record their biggest win against the Great Unwashed since the 1950s as Kevin Nolan and Big Lad put Ol' Cauliflower Face's rabble to the sword in spectacular style.

Chris Hughton opted to stick with the 4-4-2 formation which had proved successful away to West Ham, whilst OCF plumped for his favoured 4-5-1 and included Titus Bramble at the heart of his defence.

Initial exchanges saw Newcastle dominating possession, but the Great Unwashed looking the more potent on the break with Darren Bent and Danny Welbeck both firing wide when presented with decent opportunities. Elsewhere, it was Newcastle who looked more in tune with the derby demands with both Tiote and Rocky finding themselves in Phil Dowd's book in the first 15 minutes of the match. However, the Great Unwashed were the more stretched, with their defence increasingly required to go to ground to make last-ditch sliding tackles, with Phil Bardsley in particular producing an excellent sliding tackle to deny Rocky after a marauding run from halfway to the edge of the Gallowgate box.

With Newcastle continuing to press, the breakthrough, when it came, was a joyous occasion. ASBO's corner was headed down by Mike Williamson and Kevin Nolan spectacularly flicked a bicycle kick into the roof of the net, prompting wild jubilation and a reprisal of Robbie Elliot's funky chicken goal celebration from Nolan.

Ten minutes later Nolan was once again clucking with delight after Rocky's scissor kick fell kindly for him, and he was able to take a touch before slotting the ball past Simon Mignolet in the Mackem net.

Ol' Cauliflower Face tried to stem the black and white tide, throwing on World Cup star Asamoah Gyan and switching to 4-4-2, but to no great effect and with the visitors looking increasingly groggy against our repeated pressing it wasn't hugely surprising when they creaked again before half-time when Nedum Onuoha tripped Spidermag in the box after a typically mazy run from the Argentine. There was to be no first half hat-trick for Nolan, though, as it was Big Lad on penalty duties and he fired a bullet-like shot into the bottom corner to leave Mignolet no chance.

3-0 up at half-time, then, and it was always going to be a question of whether Chris Hughton could inspire his charges to keep pressing on in the second half, or whether the visitors might stage some form of revival. Brilliantly, any hopes of a turnaround were shattered shortly after half-time when Rocky again surged towards goal only for his charge to be stopped by a scything lunge from Titus Bramble which rightly saw our old boy sent down the tunnel and a chance to enjoy more time in the shower.

Whilst the resultant free-kick came to nothing, the Mackems grew increasingly desperate, ultimately seeing their entire defence pick up bookings, and in a couple of cases reasonably fortunate to remain on the pitch. With Big Lad and Rocky both proving more than a match for their opponents, Newcastle continued to rip through their shambolic opposition and when Rocky's bullet header cannoned back off the crossbar it was his strike partner who profited, slamming home the rebound to increase our lead to four.

With the result beyond any doubt, the only questions remaining were whether either Nolan or Big Lad could become only the third Newcastle player to score a hat-trick in this fixture and how many more goals we could score. Sure enough, another goal was soon forthcoming with Big Lad heading a corner towards the far post only for Nolan to pop up and head it home to ensure he went home with the match ball (presumably so he could enjoy a kick around with Rocky in his back garden later).

The only small negative on an otherwise perfect day was the failure to keep a clean sheet, with Darren Bent nipping in front of Tim Krul to fire home in stoppage time. However, that goal, coming at the end of a truly miserable display, did nothing to appease the small handful of Mackems who'd stayed to the bitter end.

For the manager, it was another well-directed nudge to Jabba to get the contract negotiations underway, and for the team it was an incredibly impressive performance which will thankfully live long in the memory.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian (written by That Bloody Woman, in surprisingly magnanimous form)


Anonymous Ben said...

So will a 5-1 derby victory put an end to unwarranted speculation over Hughton's future? I think it would be crazy not to offer him a new contract regardless of the derby result. I thought he showed real class in his post match interview, given that he must have dieing to mock the critics!

8:44 p.m.  
Blogger Ben said...

Agreed - allowed himself a little smile and then went on to talk about how the fans were cheering on the whole team. Nice to have someone with a bit of humility and class at the club.

Rocky, Big Lad and Nolan were all superb - and as one of his chief critics, I'd also accept that ASBO had a great game and is in his best form for the club.

As for the Mackems, Agents Bruce and Bramble seem to be doing rather well in working towards delivering Project Relegation, don't they?

9:26 p.m.  
Anonymous Ben said...

I have always rated Barton's ability since I first saw him at City, and I agree with you that he is in the best form of Newcastle Career. I just fear that his ASBO shenanigans are never too far away. I never forget that two footed lunge (disclaimer: I am Liverpool supporter) on Xabi near the corner flag a couple of years ago at Anfield. Hughton, deserves a contract for keeping the likes of Barton in good form alone!

I tipped Wigan, Blackpool and WB for the drop at the beginning of the season, but with Bramble in defense I might have to reevaluate those predictions.

2:15 p.m.  

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