Sunday, March 02, 2008

Three points

Newcastle Utd 0 - 1 Blackburn Rovers

Three points - sadly not the product of an afternoon of creativity and endeavour, but instead the extent of the gap between our current league position and the relegation zone.

For all our creativity, with Milner and Duff enjoying decent games down the flanks, and the influence of Kevin Keegan there for all to see in the short passing game which we've not adopted before, it was unfortunate that Michael Owen left his shooting boots at home and Alan Smith couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo.

Despite giving Blackburn a real run for their money, and with Steve Harper only called in to action sparingly, Newcastle showed enough to suggest that they weren't a team staring down the barrel of a relegation dog fight. Unfortunately, with one minute left of the 90, we were caught upfield chasing a winner, and Matt Derbyshire was set free, and finished well from distance, leaving us without a win since mid-January.

Up front, Owen forced several smart saves from one-time Keegan target Brad Friedel, and had he been able to force one of his chances home, the confidence which almost looked ready to flood into the team would undoubtedly have done so, and carried us on to a win. Unfortunately, we didn't take our chances, and Blackburn did - which is why they are chasing a UEFA Cup spot, and we're worring about the fact that Reading beat the smoggies. With a trip to Anfield to come next weekend, things could be a lot worse this time next week.

However, if we can catch Liverpool with their eyes on the European Cup, and if Rafa's wheel of rotation fortune favours us, then maybe just maybe we can nick something from Merseyside which would probably be enough to help us limp over the line.

We're not home and dry, and the longer we go without a win the worse it is but, flying in the face of all rational thought, I can't help think that we might just be able to find a bit of form over the next few weeks. To be fair, the trip to Anfield can still be written off, with our upcoming games against Fulham and Birmingham likely to prove far more decisive when it comes down to where we are playing football next season. Lose those games, and we're stuffed, but if we start to take our chances we might just be able to start planning for next season by mid-April.

Other reports: BBC, Observer


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