Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sunk by Swans

Newcastle Utd 1 - 2 Swansea City

Wasted chances, sloppy play and a shortage of resources all contributed to a thoroughly dispiriting display at home to Swansea on Saturday at St James' Park.

Up front, deprived of Papiss Cisse thanks to a falling-out with the Senegalese FA, and unable to utilise Big Lad for the full 90 minutes after his late-starting international career, the Silver Fox handed a start to Little Big Lad as part of a front three with HBA and Demba Ba. In midfield, with Spidermag and Dreamboat absent, it was Vurnon Anita and Fergie who were alongside Mr T, while the defence was again deprived of the suspended Sideshow Bob and the team was this time captained by Saylor.

While we showed some initial signs of promise, the attacking threat fell largely to HBA and Ba, with the former hitting the side netting with a shot and the latter glancing a header wide from a fine HBA cross.

Frustratingly, while HBA in particular looked to carry a creative threat, without the ball we looked pedestrian and too often allowed Swansea to look menacing on the counter-attack.

Goalless at halftime, the Silver Fox introduced Big Lad for Fergie in a bid to give us a greater attacking threat and for a time that looked like it might, only for defensive lapses to undermine us. Firstly Krul hit a terrible clearance kick out to Pablo Hernandez whose cross found the onrushing and exasperatingly unmarked Michu to knock home a goal for the visitors.

While we continued to press for a way back into the match, it was another sucker punch which ultimately did for us, with Krul only able to parry Danny Graham's shot and Jonathan de Guzman free to slot home the rebound with Anita ball-watching when he should have been tracking the run.

Finally, with seconds remaining, HBA again got to the byline and fired the ball across for onrushing substitute Sylvain Marveaux to smash the ball against the bar from six yards - with Ba  on hand to nod home the rebound. However, by that stage it was a case of too little too late, and another three points lost.

What is evident is that, if not a club in crisis, we're certainly struggling to manage the additional fixtures which last season's successes have brought us, and feeling the force of both injuries and suspensions. It's at this point that the Silver Fox needs to find something, anything, to get some positivity back in our play and justify his eight-year contract.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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