Monday, October 16, 2006

Not good enough

Newcastle Utd 1 - 2 Bolton Wanderers

Leading at home against Bolton thanks to a Shola Ameobi penalty, Newcastle once again allowed basic defensive errors to deprive us of any points at home to Bolton yesterday.

That we dominated the first hour of the match, but could only create a handful of meaningful chances (the best falling to stand in left-back Peter Ramage who blazed over from six yards) says much for the current attacking threat we pose, however the most galling aspect of yesterday's game was the way we went from a position of dominance to one of abject incompetence. Our defence proving incapable of dealing with two high balls in the space of two minutes, and from then on our prospects of getting something out of the match were nil, such was our inability to string some passes together.

The goals, for what it's worth, both came as the result of sloppy work - firstly Carr allowed Anelka to receive a high ball and get goal side of him. The Frenchman's cross should have been dealt with but it was El Hadj-Diouf who got to the ball first to score.

The second, moments later, saw our defence rush towards the near post - only for the ball to go square to the now unmarked Diouf to score his second. Crucially, our three defenders followed two Bolton players (and the ball), with Titus seemingly the man at fault.

Basic errors which our team seem incapable of correcting, and that despite what should be hours and hours on the training pitch. Either that means the coaching isn't happening, isn't good enough or the players are simply incompetent. Hopefully, we can pick up some better players in January (replacements for Bramble and Carr becoming more urgent with each passing game), but we knew this was the area most in need of strengthening in the summer, and yet still nothing was done. In any event, we've got to hope that our season still has anything more than a relegation battle to worry about - but if we can't even do the basics right then the prospects of surviving the UEFA Cup look decidedly remote.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian


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