Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The late, late show

Newcastle Utd 2 - 1 West Brom

A late, and somewhat fortuitous, Papiss Cisse goal secured all three points on Sunday against a very good Baggies side.

Reshuffling the pack after Thursday's European exploits, the Silver Fox restored the majority of the team which took on the Mackems, with Perchinho replacing the suspended Mr T. Interestingly, though, he opted to set us out in a 4-3-3 with Big Lad occupying the right-hand prong of the front three. At the back Mike Williamson retained his place alongside Sideshow Bob, with Saylor on the bench.

Starting brightly we looked dangerous early on, with Ba putting a header wide from a cracking Big lad cross when, perhaps, he should have done better. At the other end, on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku had a couple of good chances to give the visitors the lead, only to be foiled twice by Tim Krul.

It was Krul though who instigated the initial breakthrough, when his long clearance was flicked on by Big Lad and Ba managed to get goalside of his marker before waiting for the ball to drop and hammering a fine volley past Ben Foster to give us the lead.

In the second half we appeared to sit back - whether it was the challenge of playing Thursday and Sunday, or whether it was something else is up for debate - but either way West Brom gradually took control of the match and when the ball was eventually worked to Zoltan Gera he was allowed time and space to curl a fine cross into the box and onto the head of the dangerous Lukaku to nod home.

The Silver Fox reacted by replacing Danny Simpson and Big Lad with Papiss Cisse and Obertan Kenobi but despite looking to rejuvenate our attack, the reality was that it was our defence which was under increasing pressure (interestingly the double substitution saw Spidermag shifted to left-back and Santon moved to right, rather than take Perchinho out of midfield).

When Demba Ba hobbled off, it was Little Big Lad, presumably rewarded for his good performance against Bruges, who was brought on as we decided to continue to push for a winner rather than stem the Baggies tide.

Thankfully, and mystifyingly, Baggies manager and one-time NUFC caretaker Steve Clarke replaced Lukaku with Shane Long who ran about enthusiatically, but didn't carry the same threat as the young Belgian.

Still, with the clock running out, it looked like another draw was on the cards until HBA went on a mazy dribble and, as he was chopped down, laid the ball to Little Big Lad, referee Chris Foy playing a good advantage. Little Big Lad's long-range shot looked to be covered by Foster only to take a deflection off Cisse's back (not arse as I originally tweeted on Sunday) and into the goal, giving us a somewhat fortuitous winner.

Still, having been undone by a goal off Demba's face last weekend it was nice to be the beneficiary of some good fortune. Similarly, a goal for Cisse (however little he knew about it) will hopefully boost his confidence and help him get back amongst the goals.

Quite why we faded so badly is up for debate, but to my mind we shouldn't be using a home European game in which so few players who started this game featured as any semblance of an excuse for a poor performance - a problem for the Silver Fox to ponder.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

Labels: ,



Post a Comment

<< Home