Monday, April 04, 2011

Peter and the Wolves

Newcastle Utd 4 - 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

A first home win in five games, a first Saturday 3pm Premier League win since August 2008, and three precious points added to the total saw Newcastle increase the gap between the relegation zone to seven points following a 4-1 victory over Wolves.

After the chance to recoup and re-gather presented by the international break, following our stuffing by Stoke, this was a massive result in the state of our season - one that, certainly pre-match, represented a huge must-win game.

The marked difference from this time two years ago was there for all to see, with a spirited team performance in which several players enjoyed excellent games enough to see off Wolves and leave Mick McCarthy's team ensconced in the relegation scrap.

Starting brightly, it was Kevin Nolan who nudged the ball home to give us the advantage, as he raced on to Big Lad's knock-down. Big Lad himself added a second just before half-time, when poor defensive work by Wolves saw the ball threaded out left to Peter Lovenkrands, and the Dane's hanging ball to the back post allowed our masked striker to leap and power a header in to give us a two goal cushion.

By that stage, Nolan had found his way into the referee's book for the tenth time this season, with a trip on Adam Hammill - Danny Simpson's presence as a covering player the difference between a yellow card and a red for our captain.

Five minutes after the break, it was the Dane who made it three. Soon after hitting the post, he swept an ASBO cross home from close range after excellent build-up play from Sideshow Bob, saw our number seven put free down the right.

At 3-0 the game ought to have been safe, but Sylvain Ebanks-Blake pulled one back shortly afterwards after his run into the box wasn't properly tracked.

That left Wolves pressing for a second which would have seen them come right back into the match, with pre-match nerves starting to show both in the stands and on the pitch. Thankfully though, the second never came, with Steven Fletcher's header bouncing off the post and wide and James Perch's clearing off the line the closest the visitors came.

Then, in the final seconds of the match, the ball fell to Steven Taylor in our box, and the defender surged up field. Finding Spidermag in support, his pass found the Argentinean, who eschewed the chance to waste some time by the corner flag and instead cut infield before curling the ball perfectly round Wayne Hennessey and inside the far post to give us a 4-1 victory.

The win, coupled with our significantly better goal difference, moves us a long way from the relegation zone, and with the teams around us dropping points (most notably 5under1and - battered by Man City on Sunday) we can try and press on for a top half finish.

Individually, ASBO, Big Lad and Shane Ferguson (making his first Premier League start) all enjoyed fine games, with our striker's performance drawing praise from Pardew, who hailed him as "as good a striker as I've ever worked with". Praise indeed from a man who's worked with Carlos Tevez, Teddy Sheringham and, um, Homer Simpson.

A Wolves' fan's perspective: Wolves Blog

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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Blogger john said...

Johnwolf asking the question - who is Matt oakley? must be a new "signing" it was steven fletcher who put it wide? just thought I would let you now, by the way nolon should have got a red because your "covering" defender has you put it was no were near the play- if it had been Henry your lot would have insisted on it being red!

12:49 p.m.  
Anonymous bani online said...

It was a fantastic game! I already recorded it!

12:51 p.m.  
Blogger Ben said...

Thanks John - now corrected. Not sure who this "Nolon" is, mind...

1:05 p.m.  
Blogger Ben said...

Would it be overstating the case to attribute the performance and victory to the return to the familiar 4-4-2 formation? Hopefully we've now seen the back of that 3-5-2 disaster...

12:44 a.m.  

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