Reds can’t break down sharp-shooting Newcastle..

Perch: My man of the match for us, which perhaps highlights our difficulties in breaking down Toon going forward...

Newcastle United – 2
Nottingham Forest – 0

Ultimately a frustrating game – but a promising performance compared to recent away trips left me feeling not too bad.  Of course, an entertaining day and evening out on ‘the Toon’ always lessens the blow of coming away from a game with no points.  Definitely one of my favourite night-out destinations in the UK, so those of you who travelled to and fro on the day definitely missed out!

An even first half, indeed, a fairly even ninety on possession – but the critical difference between the sides was the incisiveness of the passing of the home side, their finishing and of course one notable slip in losing possession in a key area for us.  It highlights why Newcastle are sitting pretty at the summit, and we are just short of reaching that level just yet.

If Old Trafford is the theatre of dreams then St James’ Park is the theatre of unfulfilled dreams – from the swanky Shearer’s bar to the massive stand we were housed in – this is a club geared up for the very top.  Unfortunately for the undoubtedly passionate Toon fans (I didn’t see any fat topless blokes crying, which is their tabloid-led stereotype), that hasn’t translated to the success on the field they crave so badly.

Before and after the game I had endless conversions with locals about the footy which was great – and whilst I was underwhelmed by the noise they created in the ground (excepting the initial roar and after the second goal went in) that could be said for most home grounds around the country including ours… and of course, given our position the acoustics could’ve made it hard to hear them anyway.

So yes, the game… Billy opted for a kind of converting 4-5-1/4-4-2 formation.  A trip to the opticians might be in order for me as I took to identifying players by boot colour rather than numbers (particuarly when McCleary and McGoldrick were on later!)… but the starting eleven looked kinda like this, with Tys often joining Dex up front early in the half, and the midfield swapping about quite a bit…

Perch   Morgan    Wilson   Gunter
Anderson    Moussi    Majewski    Cohen    Tyson

It was a bright start from the Reds, much to the surprise of many of us in the away end – Tys almost broke through but for attentions from Collicini, Tys again was positive crossing to Anderson but a fairly weak header went over.  However, it certainly was anything but one-way traffic – Routledge put in a great ball which Carroll got a toe on to put towards goal, with Camp needing to be alert to make a decent save.

Forest were looking up for it, and as we’ve seen – playing against sides who don’t shape up to spoil, we can compete.  We were very quick to close down the Toon players and forced a few admittedly non-critical errors.  As the half went on the home side did build pressure, Perch did excellently to stop Lovenkrands in the area, then it was a case of the whole defence blocking the persistent Andy Carroll.

Some good work from the team saw Raddy hauled back on the edge of the area (just outside for me, but I was miles away), but the referee definitely turned out to be a bit of a ‘homer’ – he waved play on, mercifully at least not booking Majewski for simulating.  He certainly didn’t appear to be – he’d got past his man and was being held back!

Certainly after the kick off the loudest we heard the Newcastle fans was in offering the referee advice – and generally he seemed to take it.  That said, shortly after there was an incident in our box they were claiming that wasn’t given… so he didn’t always default to the home side!  I had no chance of being able to see what actually happened so won’t even speculate!!

The best chance for us in the game was probably a good summary of our attacking all night really – some nice passing build-up play culminated in a decent cross in by Tys, picking out Dex on the penalty spot who tried to connect on the volley with his left foot.  Unfortunately it was a miskick and went well wide, a real shame as he was positioned brilliantly and might’ve even had half a chance of controlling before hitting it.

It was almost a double-bastard moment too – Gutierrez had a shot which caused a mass pile-up in the six yard box.  Again, at the other end of the pitch I couldn’t make out what happened, but the referee let play go on for ages seemingly, before eventually blowing up for something.  The half ended with a wayward cross from the Argentian, who’d been marshalled excellently by Perch at rightback (Perch is my shout for man of the match).

The second half saw the Reds again press to try to grab a goal – a great break by Anderson ended with a cross to Tyson whose header would give Harper no bother at all.  A couple of times we broke with pace and in numbers greater than our opponents, but the final ball was shockingly bad a few times letting Newcastle off the hook – indeed, over 90 minutes we never seriously tested Harper.

Carroll was withdrawn shortly after the second half started, replaced by Ameobi – which was good in one way, Carroll is a handful – but well, Ameobi isn’t half a bad replacement at this level, is he?  Much like Carroll, Ameobi goes to ground rather easily though, and bought Wes a booking and his side a dubious freekick – which fortunately was put well over by Guthrie.

Tys – who’d had a good first half but struggled to get into the second (apparently – unsurprisingly – he’s carrying an injury too) so McCleary replaced him.  And almost immediately after (despite what the fools sitting near me said, it was nothing to do with the change), the increasingly dominant home side were able to break the deadlock with around seventy minutes on the clock.

The Reds lost the ball trying to play their way out of trouble instead of clearing their lines, a mix up between Cohen and Majewski (I think) saw the ball end up with Nolan who played the ball to Ameobi who made a cracking run, and shot early through Perchy’s legs, and into the far corner – finding the net via the post.  A great finish – a real example of making the most of your chances.

Billy responded by taking off the flagging Majewski and putting on Earnie – but the home side really had their metaphorical tails up and were pressuring us.  A powerful shot by Routledge was fairly routinely saved by Camp, but given the wet conditions and the power of the shot he could only parry it.  Blackstock was next to be withdrawn for David McGoldrick, with around fourteen minutes left on the clock.

The home side continued to press, and Forest were looking slightly without a midfield as we sat deeper and deeper to absorb it.  Again Camp was on hand to reduce the deficit with a good save from Nolan, and the midfielder threatened again moments later this time with Wes on hand to clear the danger with his head at the expense of a corner.

Another dubious freekick, another Guthrie effort – this time very much on target and it was well saved by Camp.  However, Newcastle pressed on into stoppage time and their final goal was a cracker (well, the move was).  A clever backheel in the box by Nolan (I think, could be wrong) found Enrique who danced past his man and put a shot in at the near post  which – in honesty – Camp should be looking to save I think.  Great move though.

Which was pretty much game over.  As the home ends emptied amazingly fast considering the volume of people, the Reds fans lingered to applaud the Forest players, who I assume could hear us (Billy certainly heard us during the game).  It was a good effort, but really highlighted some of our deficiencies – given that this Newcastle side is a bit weaker than the one that was relegated from the top flight, it does underline the daunting gap to the next level.

All in all, I was expecting defeat with all but that optimistic bit of me that always expects something more – so it was a ‘par’ performance.  To have seen glimpses of good play was a definite bonus, and gives me some heart – but really barring an epic disaster by the top two, it’s looking like the playoffs for us – and almost certain promotion for Newcastle, and congratulations to them if that is indeed how things transpire.

51 Responses

  1. I thought we played ok but it was our composure on the ball and our final pass which let us down. I cant remember the number of time we flooded foward only for the pass to go astray or someone pick the wrong option. It was such a shame because had we nicked a goal, I think Newcastle would have felt the pressure more than us.

    Sky “pundits” said it felt like a cup tie and thats how it appeared Billy had sold it to the players. Certainly we hadnt gone there to stifle the play.

    The opening goal was a bit of a shambles really. What with Raddy’s inadvertant back heel to Nolan (who is a dirty sod btw) and Ameobi’s lucky shot going through Kelv’s legs!

    As the clock counted down after the goal, I thought at 0-1 down all we needed was to take one chance. I mean, you always get one chance don’t you? But we didnt – not a single clear cut chance on goal and maybe thats the reason we we’ve stopped winning away???

    Overall I thought the lads worked their socks off and credit to them for that. As for MOTM, for me, it was a toss up between Perch, who proably had his best game since coming back from injury and the Mousse, who started to play like we all know he can.

  2. yous came, u saw ,u lost ,told yas, good game fellas,pity about the rain,u were the best team ive seen st james this season,good luck in the playoffs all the best TOONARMY.

  3. I walked, in the rain, the 20 minutes to the ground from my house, it’s been a game i was massively looking forward too at christmas, less so recently.

    Overall, i thought we played really well and were shading the first half (though this might have been the effect of altitude), it’s just that the chances we had we fluffed. I thought that we were playing 4-3-3 mostly in the first half with Tys and Ando up and supporting very well (and swapping flanks).

    Second half started brightly, and i now feel guilty for cheering the appearance of Ameobi as it was a cracking finish for their first. After that heads dropped and our midfield evaporated.

    Ultimately I think we played the best football I’ve seen us play in an away game since West Brom and upon speaking to my Geordie colleagues (nice day back at the office…) they reckoned the three of us are markedly above the remainder.

    Playoffs it’ll be, I just hope people don’t see us crying on the telly.

  4. Can have few complaints we played well but ultimately weren’t as good as them. The ref certainly favoured the home side but its to be expected.The guthrie tackle in the first half could easily have been a red card but not even a free kick given, especially havin seen Macleary sent off the other week for a very similar one. As you stated NFFC the gulf between us and the prem is huge and if we make it thru the playoffs will need to be addressed, albeit that our younger players will have matured that bit more. Who fancies Leicester in the final then?!

  5. Well written balanced article. Forest and West Brom have by far been the best teams to come to St James park this season. Both deserve to go up. It was Ameobi with the clever backheel by the way (Kevin Nolan isn’t capable of that) and that summed it up for you really. Had Carroll not been injured Hughton would have left it late to bring on Ameobi. You correctly state at this level (no offense) he can produce that little bit of skill that hurts teams. I think regardless of that mind we allways seem to really turn it on in the last 20mins. (2-2 from 2-0 down at Bristol)

    I really hope forest go up in the playoffs (I think thats all you can hope for now) but I dont think it will be easy for you and history shows that it’s rarely actualy the team that finishes third. Good luck coz there are some sneaky teams in the top 6. I was hoping at one point that you would force Brom into the playoffs but nevermind.

  6. Watched the game on the box and NFFC and the rest of the reds fans in attendance certainly made themselves heard. I heard Mist Rolling in booming out and we never heard Fog on the Tyne once!

    Perch we definitely MOM for the first half and I wouldnt be surprised if the Geordies try to pinch him off us after that display. I actually thought Camp was our MOM in the second half with a couple more great saves (do we take it a bit for granted these days?!). I don’t blame him for their second goal.

    Personally I thought we were crying out for Big Dele to come on and hold the ball up in the second half, but in Billy we trust. See you all at Wemblerlee…

  7. The point you made about sleeping giants and unfulfilled potential is interesting because Nottingham Forest are probably a club that could be put into that catigory aswell.

    I don’t think for one minute that you would have lost your last 6 away games if you played like that.

    • Definitely! Our ground ain’t quite the setup you have though!… there are sections of fans here with lofty expectations though, you’re right. Most of us are realists, though. This season has been fantastic for us overall.

  8. Brilliant article mate! Toon fan in peace here, and I’m backing you lads you come up this season! All the best in the play offs, you were the best team we’ve seen at SJP this season but we all know the play offs can be a bit of a lottery!

    good luck!

  9. A valiant effort by the reds and credit to the geordies they did the damage and have done all season.Last night I realised that we are not ready to go up ,my heart says yes but my head says no.

    As you say above nffc we are lacking in a few areas experience,age ,final ball.We are not showing promotion form and I dont expect us to be promoted were simply not ready.

    Hope the lads can lift themselves for the last 6 it will be tough, but credit to them they have given us something to shout about again.

    U reds

  10. Well played Forest – made it a nervy 70 minutes for us with a decent performance and some terrific volume coming from just above us in the away end. Both your team and fans seemed to lose heart once Shola scored – probably due to your recent away record – and we had our most comfortable 20 minutes of the night with Jose putting the icing on the cake late on. Your fans’ response to this with a rendition of ‘que sera sera’ was brilliant and was rightly applauded by quite a good number of Geordies in our end. All the best for the play-offs.

  11. Yep, as I stated in a previous post on one of your articles, I always felt the first goal would be crucial. To be honest I thought the first half could have gone either way, and in those awful conditions it’s not so much about skill as it is about luck. But at home luck appears to be on our side when we really need it, and so it turned out with shola’s scuffed nutmeg bouncing in off the post instead of bouncing away.
    Still it wasn’t a bad game to watch, two honest hard working teams giving it their all. I still think we’ll struggle in the Prem but at least we’ll be there and can put this nightmare behind us!

    Good luck for the playoffs, hope you come up with us and the baggies!

    • I think we established in the preview that the chap on that site isn’t very representative of Newcastle fans in general… I’m not even gonna bother reading it!

  12. Spot on NFFC!
    A more balanced site I visited recently seems to show that most NUFC fans are true footy fans…a bit more like TTSBU is for us.

    Well done to our boys last night…a good experience for our young team to perform well in front of a massive crowd, which should help at Wembley.


  13. connexIV……..yeah agree as I’ve said on this site before when he’s spouted his dross,he’s not reperesentative of me or any other toon fan I’ve ever known.Every club has there arseholes I s’pose.
    Yeah the atmosphere wasn’t great as seems to be the case from home fans at alot of grounds these days.That’s why I prefer away games,Peterboro will be great when we takeover on Saturday.
    Well played last night and hopefully see you in the Prem next year.

  14. Foreign Toon-supporter here.

    I was streaming the game last night on my computer, and having the Man Shitty – Wigan Pathetic match on the telly. While I’m delighted, of course, by the scoreline, I must confess I felt Forest could have gotten something out of the game. I honestly hope you guys come up, replacing either side of Portsmouth, Hull or Burnley (as it looks now).
    Watching with half an eye the Shitty-Pathetic game, I couldn’t help thinking that the performance at St. James’ Park was just as good come skill, tempo and tenacity as the PL-match, and I think, with a couple of good signings, both our clubs could do reasonably well in the top-flight next season.

    I’m old enough to remember when Forest swept through Europe, and it’s a massive club, not only in England, but also abroad, and you supporters have suffered long enough. I would not mind playing you in the PL next season, and I’m sure you wouldn’t mind playing us either, having brotherly shared the points this season.

    Good luck in the final six games, and hopefully we’ll visit the City Ground instead of Turf Moor or KC-Stadium next season.

  15. Let me just say as an expat Newcastle supporter living in Canada what a pleasure it was to read such a good review (and not just because we won). The match will be televised tonight over here as a tape delay.

    You read such unfoccused drivel from some of the other sites!

    It was engaging , well written, entartaining and above all it demonstrated a good knowlege of football.

    I don’t know how old you are but you put some of the so called Footie journalists to shame. Maybe a future in journalism beckons.

    And while I’m on the subject, is anyone as sick as me of the so-called ex-pros who are trotted out at great expense I think, to be colour commentators for the televised Premier League games?

    It’s as though they feel they have to say something every second of the ninety minutes, while all I’m looking for is the occasional wise crack when the play has stopped and I would be happy just hear who has possessiopn and who the pass was made to. That’s what used to happen, instead we get a dog and pony show of faded memories and inane comments from these bozzos!

    God help us all when the World Cup starts.

    On a separate note, I wish your team all the best for the run in. They certainly deserve to be up there. I’m sick of seeing the Hulls Wigans, and Birmighams et al.

    On a sobering note it sounds as if both clubs will need major strenghthening if we get into the Premier League.


    Eric Newton.

    • Thanks Eric!

      I’m the wrong side of thirty, so unlikely to make any inroads into journalism now, methinks!

      I’m happy just pootling along entertaining myself (and apparently others) with my ramblings really.

      As an aside, whilst I’m not really interested in the cock-comparing that ‘who’s a big club’ generally engenders, I do use my site as a bellweather for that… if I get picked up on the other team’s news-feed, which I have been for Toon on my last couple of articles.

      I’ve had LOTS more hits than normal presumably from Newcastle fans (and lots of comments from you too, for which I thank you all). It was the same with Leeds as well in League One. Both unquestionably massively supported clubs with certainly the infrastructure and fanbase to be in the top flight.

      We have the fans, I think – but whilst our ground would ‘qualify’ it needs work (or replacing, if the powers-that-be have their way) as does our facilities… and of course, our squad!

      Good luck, it looks very much like you’re on course for the promotion – and most likely the title. As the team that most clubs would want to scalp, that’s quite the achievement, and I don’t begrudge you it at all.

  16. You’re not that sharp nffc…you stay with us mate!

  17. I assume our gauleiter on acquisition – Pleatio was
    watching the man city game – if as Billy advised and recommended he had brought in the extra strenght we needed in January – we would have won this game .
    THE ONLY WAY FORWARD IS TO GET MARTHUR AND PLEATIO OUT – billy and the boys have done their very best and no criticism is due . We still have a very real chance in the play offs if we can replicate this effort and application – the wet conditions favoured them and their physical apporach – we just couldnt get the ball moving quickly enough in the heavy conditions .

  18. This was one of the better articles I have read ,written by away supporters this season.
    Whilst this is a Notts Forest site and opinions are always slightly biased towards their own team I feel there was a difference in class between the two teams last night.
    I dont mean that in a patronising way, but apart from a handfull of breaks that didn’t really force any kind of saves from Harper, I thought Newcastle controlled the pace of the match throughout.
    Frustrated your strikers, passed the ball quicker and sharper and looked dangerous in posession.
    Notts Forest are a good team but I feel you need a couple more experianced players before you will achieve anything.
    Good luck for the rest of the season.

    • Tucker, your points are valid but surely you must be deliberately,trying to wind us up, by not once, but twice calling us Notts Forest. Quite simply there’s no such team! Its a small thing but enough to wind up any Nottingham Forest fan!

  19. redrob..physical approach??……………… obviously weren’t watching the game or your a ballet dancer and the conditions were wet but not heavy.Forest managed to move the ball about quite well,it was only their final ball letting them down.

  20. Tucker,
    Nottingham Forest…please!

  21. richie toon – we did move it quite well as you say – but we have been even better at home – take a look at our 2nd goal against palace last week to see what i mean by quick – from Campy into the goal in about 8 seconds is waht I mean – thats ballet !

  22. It’s alright Siggsy, Tucker is a Tyne & Wear United supporter…

  23. ManU are on the back foot at the moment. I reckon we could do em next season.

  24. Really good article and an entertaining discussion. Reminds me of the football fans I grew up with who were generous to the opposition in defeat or victory and whilst they were fiercely loyal to their team, it didn’t blind them to the realities on the pitch. I was there last night (a Toon fan) and I thought NOTTINGHAM Forest were very good, very quick, and usually accurate in their passing. (Yes, come to think of it you never hear anyone say Nottingham County, so why say Notts Forest?!) Some other sides have impressed too – Doncaster can pass, as can QPR and Swansea. Blackpool will be OK on a decent pitch. I think we just ground Forest down and maybe we played the awful weather a bit better. Anyway – I hope we can enjoy your superb fans again the the Prem next year – 2 proper football clubs back where they belong!. Good luck,

  25. Well, to be sure the best team won on the night, but to be fair to Forest, they really are not that far behind.

    I think we need further depth in midfield, the loss of Paul Mckenna is obvious, so is the seemingly endless incomplete passes made by the Moose? he really does need to work on that side of his game, for a big guy possession should not be a problem either, but he just seems to loose it far to easy.

    Anyhow, I read today that Pratlley is a summer target, I’m not surprised ther.

    On a real positive note, I think Forest do have what it takes to get to the play off final, what a season for such a young set of players

  26. Would yas still take 1 million for perch,think there might be a big line outside ya managers door.We will be back in the summer with that 1 million for perch.

    • Personally I wouldn’t. We supposedly turned down £1m or more from you in January. As you’ll be in the top flight maybe you should quadruple your offer.

      That was one of the best performances we’ve seen from him – in what I think is his best position. He’s playing with pain-killing injections at the moment too due to injury.

      I hope he doesn’t go, other Forest fans don’t appreciate his worth – as is the case with many players. He did have a good game against who I thought would be the player to cause us most problems though.

      Thing is, I think Perch is a decent right-back in the making – but we have Gunter there (he played left back yesterday), who I rate more highly… so maybe depending on how the wind blows Forest might consider selling.

      I’d be sad to see him go though. Other Forest fans would drive him up to Newcastle for you… takes all sorts!

  27. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this article as it was unbiased and well thought out. We had to work extremely hard for that win and that was down to your lads giving us a game. You could see that you were well up for it as I haven’t seen another team come to SJP and give our players less space and time on the ball. It was always going to be hard for you to keep that tempo up for 90 mins in those conditions though. On another night the result could have been a lot different and I think our first goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of your lads and then you tired a bit.
    Definitely one of the best teams to come and have a right go this season.
    I genuinely hope you lot are get promoted either in 2nd place or via the playoffs.
    Good luck for the rest of the season.

  28. Though he was top draw myself, not seen any1 frustrate jonas like that this season and hes not easy to keep up with fellas.

  29. best blog for newcastle is this 1 fellas The Newcasle United Blog

  30. redrob…lol.seen it yeah pure ballet……..If you don’t catch WBA(hope you do) then I can’t see any other team causing you too many problems in the play offs.

  31. I think tucker is about right. I was encouraged by the fact the players lifted to the ocassion which bodes well for playoffs – but thought it was one of those games that confirms much of what u already know. Forest have a robust defence, pass the ball well through midfield, break well at pace – but sometimes lack that extra guile in passing and runs in final third and ruthlessness in front of goal (as the sky commentators kept saying) needed against better quality sides. I feel strangely optimistic tho which is a dangerous place for a forest fan to be

  32. Thanks for all the good wishes NUFC fans although Its a lot easier to say nice things when you win.

    On a separate note, has anyone been been watching Blackpool’s progress? I reckon they could snatch Leics place in the playoffs. Now that would make me laugh come last day of the season. Then I’d think…Shit we’ve got to play the in form team in the league. I’ve gotta say I’m not looking forward to the playoffs its a complete lottery no matter what anyone says.

  33. AD-BC…….here’s something nice from when we got beat,Blackpool played us of the park when they beat us at Bloomfield so you’re right to worry.I still think you’ll be too strong for the other teams.That’s if you play as you can but like you say it’s a lottery.I’m so glad we won’t be in them(barring a disaster).

  34. Do you think is a coincidence that Perch had a blinder against the team that wanted to buy him and who are also destined for the Premier league?! Full credit to him for showing them what a good player we know he can be though.

    I’d be disappointed if Perch left because he is another local lad. A concern for me if (when) we get back into the premier league is if the local lads like Perch, Morgan, & Wilson were then replaced by high earning foreigners, as so many premier league clubs are these days.

    I still like the policy they brought in a couple of years ago to put the NOTTINGHAM back into Forest!

  35. i thought you’s handled Jonas superbly but maybe forgot about Routledge on the other side .. also i wouldnt mind if we signed that Majeski, have you’s signed him yet :)?

  36. it´s good to see Tyson coming back to his old form ready for the playoffs !! I hope our players saw the second Munich goal tonight.
    The final minute and most of the players minds were on the second leg ..except one! His run at that stage of the game and shot were brilliant surprising everyone !!!
    That´s the attitude we are going to need in the playoffs ! I´m sure we have the fittest team in the division and the most experienced manager,So this time I´m looking forward to them !!!

  37. Of course we could have Bennett back at left back and our captain back too !!

  38. There is no way BD is going throw Bennett in come the play offs. It’ll be too much too soon. McKenna coming back would be a big help.

    • Scratch that. McKenna is out for the season according to BBC. Still looking forward to the playoffs Alan? They’re a terrible thing. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. Apart from the fact that the pessimist in me doesn’t think we’ll get promotion anyway this latest set back knocks any of the hope I had of us snatching it.

  39. raddy has two more goals for us this season.
    and the second one will be the winner at wembley….
    keep the faith, we are at least the 3rd best team in this league. i think we will go up and we will spend well to stay up. i hope so anyway

  40. Barca have 2 reserve defenders to replace the suspended 2 for the Arsenal game.
    If one of those gets injured they will have to put in a Ukranian who ONLY cost 22.2 million pounds !!!
    I think in will be a few years before we are in Europe again if that is the price of success now !
    I still believe we can go up as we always have a good final run in !…yeovil excepted. Here´s hoping !!

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