Monday, January 22, 2007

Rennie gives Clarets the blues

Newcastle Utd 2 - 2 West Ham

Newcastle staged a come-back (of sorts) on Saturday against a West Ham team deep in the relegation mire, having gifted the visitors a two goal head start.

Starting the game as they had finished on Wednesday - with no confidence, no cohesion and no defence - it was hardly a surprise to see West Ham attacking Newcastle in the opening period of the game. With Stephen Carr returning to the side in place of the suspended Taylor, Paul Huntingdon was moved in to his favoured centre-half position along side Peter Ramage.

It was Ramage though who looked the more jittery of the two, as West Ham sought to turn their bright start into goals. As it was they didn't have long to wait, with Carlton Cole volleying home from four yards out, the West Ham striker latching on to Calum Davenport's knock down from a corner.

With Ramage looking increasingly lost, it was no surprise to see Harewood turn him easily to get through on goal, and his calm finish gave West Ham a two-nil lead with just over twenty minutes gone.

Newcastle's injury crisis promptly worsened, with Ramage succumbing to a hamstring strain, and David Edgar coming on to replace him and line up alongside Huntingdon in defence. Thankfully, Edgar looked calm and composed on the ball, and it was no surprise to see Newcastle (finally) settle in to the game and begin to press forward.

Newcastle's eventual riposte came as Solano fed Milner on the right, and our right winger fired a low shot into the far corner. Perhaps reasonably, West Ham were incensed that the goal was able to stand, with the ball passing through the legs of the offside Scott Parker on its way towards the goal, with Uriah Rennie's unique interpretation of the laws of the game for once coming to our aid.

Starting the second half as we had finished the first, and with West Ham looking nervous, Newcastle were able to force the error with Milner's free-kick being blocked in the West Ham box by Boa Morte's left arm. Solano, restored to penalty taking duties, sent the keeper the wrong way and tucking the ball in to the bottom left hand corner.

West Ham could still have taken all three points late on only for Rennie to rule out Davenport's header for a foul on Huntingdon, and Harewood to spurn a good chance when through on the Newcastle goal, with Harper to save well (having come on for Given, who picked up a groin strain in the second half).

Overall, the injury crisis has worsened, but it was heartening to see us recover from being two-nil down in light of the abject capitulation last Wednesday. That defeat means we now have a free weekend, which will hopefully allow a few more players to recover, and Roeder to focus his efforts on bringing in some new recruits.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian


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