Thursday, April 08, 2010

A cut above

Newcastle Utd 2 - 1 Sheffield Utd

Already promoted, Newcastle did enough to overcome a spirited Sheffield United at St James' Park on Monday night, with Kevin Nolan's scissor-kick applying the coup de grace to the Blades.

With Cardiff already having ensured promotion before the match, it was a slightly flat Newcastle who kicked off, and it was the visitors who seized the early initiative when Richard Cresswell out jumped Fabricio Coloccini to head home a corner at the Gallowgate End, with Steve Harper crowded out by a host of players.

Having gone a goal down, the threat of losing our unbeaten record at home seemed to spur the team on, and they were back level on half-time after Andy Carroll had been manhandled in the box by Blades captain Chris Morgan - allowing Peter Lovenkrands to fire home the penalty and restore parity at the break.

The second half saw us create several decent chances, only for some wayward finishing and decent goalkeeping keep us at bay. However, that all changed when the ball fell to Nolan, who, with his back to goal, fired an acrobatic scissor-kick past Steve Simonsen to give us a 2-1 lead which we rarely looked like losing.

The party may have started before kick-off, but the win ensured it continued long into the night.

The twin challenge now is to win the league, and to finish the season unbeaten at home.

With a month of the season still to go, Chris Hughton now has a great opportunity to assess his playing squad and decide which players are to go, and where he needs to strengthen before the start of next season. For once, it's nice to be able to relax, knowing that the job which we set out to accomplish at the start of the season (and which I seriously doubted would happen) has been done.

Happy Easter indeed.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian


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