Wayne Rooney darted into the area, pointing to Heinze where he wanted the
ball. Unfortunately Bramble couldn't read the signal, let alone the play,
and failed to cover the run. Having said that, it was one heck of a finish
to hit a genuine volley on the turn with enough pace to beat Given. 1-0
Half time: Newcastle
0 Manchester 1
71 mins After squandering chances aplenty in
the first half there seemed no way through for Newcastle's front line.
However, when Shearer robbed Wes Brown, the Red seas parted in front of him
as he cut across the edge of the box and tucked a left-footed shot past
Carroll who got some sort of touch but not enough to keep the ball out. 1-1
74 mins Rooney chased O'Brien into the box
and nudged the defender from behind. It was a clear foul but unfortunately
O'Brien stayed on his feet until slipping over seconds later. This presented
Rooney with the ball and as Given came out and retreated, Rooney attempted a
chip. Given leapt and palmed the effort down but as Scholes readied himself
to shoot Given lunged to retrieve the loose ball. His only contact was with
Scholes, not the ball, and the referee gave the penalty. Ruud van Nistelrooy
hit a powerful low shot to Shay's right with the 'keeper guessing
90 mins In the fourth and final minute of
injury time Manchester poured forward and when a cross was only pushed out
to van Nistelrooy he seemed certain to score. Bramble made a fantastic
goalline clearance but only as far as Rooney who dispatched the ball from
eight yards. 1-3
Full time: Newcastle 1 Manchester 3
Graeme Souness said:
"At this football
club I've quickly learned that the glass is never half-full, it's always
half-empty, and that's something we have to address. We have somehow to get the
message across to supporters that we are all in this together.
"We can all be
disappointed with results but I think, like against Chelsea, we played very
"Some players may be
guilty of making poor defensive mistakes that have led to goals but that is
something we will address in time. My message to any supporter is to stick
"We are a football
club that is capable of being the best in the country and beyond, but if it is
constantly undermined - and I believe it is in the short time I've been here -
then you've got no chance. In nearly 40 years this club has won nothing and it's
not just been about being unlucky or not having good players as there have been
some great players here.
"I think there has to
be something else as well. Without being critical of anyone - and maybe at
another time I will go into it - I would ask for togetherness at this time as
that's the only answer.
"Look at history. It
tells you teams who have continuity are the teams who are successful.
"Yesterday was a game
we should have got something from I didn't think it was a penalty. I'd like to
think, if they're honest, Manchester United are going home thinking they've been
a bit lucky.
"It's another blow,
another check on our confidence. But we have to stick together. All the experts
can say what they want but I believe we've played well again. We're a hairs
breadth away from being a very good team."
Alex Ferguson said:
"It was a fantastic
performance from Wayne, an unbelievable performance. Wayne worked his socks off
and is getting fitter all the time. He missed pre-season, which is unfortunate,
and didn't play for 96 days and when that happens it will take time to get a
player to the point where he is able to do something like that.
"He was marvellous. We tried to get him on the left-hand side to blend him
with Ruud and Scholesy, because they are three players with good football brains
and that worked very well for us.
"The first goal was an excellent chip from Darren into Wayne's path and he
has taken it very well."
"The second came at an important time because Shearer had lifted the whole
stadium and you know what the fans are like here. They took the roof off. In the
first half they had a couple of chances but we had one chance and scored from
it. We defended better in the second half, but to lose a goal the way we did was
"The important thing was the reaction to that, as we were magnificent after
that. We went up the park and got the penalty kick and from that point on I
couldn't see us giving it away again."
"You can't look into the future but our desire is that this is the start of
a run. In my time here Manchester United have always wanted to win. Wanting to
win is the most important thing, even though you don't always win.
"You can't question our desire. The intent is there, the quality is there,
and as we saw yesterday some of the football was fantastic. There were occasions
we had to defend and our football in general was very good."
"Not getting three points at any time is unthinkable - even if we had won
20 games in a row. That is the nature of our club. But experience tells you it
doesn't always happen that way, and that you sometimes have to go through
periods of disappointment.
"That's when your experience comes into play - you don't panic, and you
trust the players and let them get on with it. We need wins all the time but
obviously we have had a disappointing time, not in terms of performance but in
terms of scoring.
"Yesterday we scored three. We have been saying all week that the breaks
even themselves out, and maybe it is our turn now.
"The referee was
close enough to see and it looked a penalty for me, but it doesn't redress what
happened last week because that was a clear penalty too. But Graham Poll never
gives us a penalty. He didn't give us the one last week, the one at Highbury
last season and one at Chelsea the year before that."
Fourth appearance at SJP for Van
Nistelrooy and he's scored a goal in each of them.
Third home defeat in a week with just two goals scored
and nine conceded.
Third consecutive Premiership
It was 21st August and 11 games
ago that Newcastle last failed to score in a Premierhsip game -
the 1-0 home defeat by Spurs.
Just as it did a year ago, whatever 1/52nd of
an annus horribilis is, precipitated a welter of soul-searching and navel-gazing on Tyneside
And with every two-bit texter, panellist, caller or scribe advancing
their own particular chaos theory, our own random thoughts are offered here.
But as usual, our focus is slightly different (some would say blurred) - and we're
as concerned about a draw and two home defeats as a trio of losses.
The NUFC.com three-day weekend consisted of
Saturday: Newcastle U18s drawing with Barnsley
Sunday: Newcastle First team losing to Manchester United
Monday: Newcastle Reserves losing to Manchester United
And in a nutshell, this consisted four and a half hours of sub-standard
In each case the opposition
looked more enthusiastic, committed, lively and professional. By contrast we looked moribund,
feckless and de-motivated.
Common factors included:
Midfield: mundane in the extreme. Jenas aside, the under-achieving first
team midfielders have no fear of being usurped by those coming through, as we
look unbelievably light in this area.
While the occasional defender (Hughes, Caldwell) and striker (Ameobi) have
graduated to the first team in recent years, the best we've done since Gazza
has been Martin Brittain - who is doing nothing in the reserves to justify a
recall. Don't bother mentioning Jamie McClen....
Even our discards such as Brian Kerr (now at
Motherwell), Bradley Orr (Bristol City) Stuart Green (Hull), Andy Ferrell
(Watford) and the Forest duo Ross Gardner and James Beaumont would tower above
what we've currently got.
Wide play: non-existent - reserve winger Alan O'Brien has returned from
injury but talk in his native Ireland that he's set to displace Robert in
January is fanciful nonsense.
In the first team both Ambrose and Milner haven't been included since the
Tbilisi game, but were fit enough to start for England U21s in Spain two days
after the Manchester United game.
Set pieces: Corners particularly average. Solano not replaced for first
team, vacancies exist at all levels.
Pace: severely lacking in all areas of the field.
Turning to the first team game, a bad decision by the match officials once again
allowed us to collectively feel sorry for ourselves after we'd dragged ourselves
back into the game courtesy of a solo goal (shades of Ambrose at Bolton - like
that game we proved
incapable of working out a move that involved the requisite amounts of passing,
movement and shooting.)
However, the ill-fortune that dogged us for the second successive Sunday did
make very evident the lack of belief in the stands that we were heading for
anything other than a defeat. Last week we died at 0-2, this week 1-2 was enough
to start the shuffle for the exits and silence those who remained. It's
embarrassing, but there's a mass lack of faith verging on a disinterest with our
current plight - people just seem to be glum rather than angry - death by apathy
if you will.
The lack of wide play merely added a new refrain to our familiar chorus, with a
golden oldie - if you don't put crosses in then the strikers get no chances.
Anyone who has read our waffle before is welcome to skip the next three paragraphs
as we rehash old lines once again like Slade every December:
Dyer? why the mania to play him? Monday =
return from injury in reserves, looks rusty. Wednesday = on at half time, ends
up playing to end of extra time, contributes nothing. Sunday = appears ten
minutes into the second half, contributes nothing.
Kluivert - taking the p***? The only way he'd have left this pitch battered,
bruised or bloodied would have been if SJP had taken a direct hit from a
meteorite. Or Peter Withe's dog had returned.
Bellamy wide = waste of a striker. Increasingly de-motivated, clearly unhappy
- the inevitable explosion in the media expected any day now.
No point really waffling on about the defence, except to say that someone should
be getting their derriere kicked about Carr's fitness: either the player told
porkies, the medics were wrong or the fitness test wasn't taxing enough as he
looked fettled from the first whistle and hung around for 18 minutes.
Saturday's trip to Palace becomes a test of nerve, faith and hope - with a
little bit of charity thrown in from the referee hopefully. Given the
similarities between Bolton and Palace, Souness could be forgiven for fielding a
team designed to contain a side who have drawn with Arsenal and beaten Fulham on
their own ground.
We need a win in any shape or form, but the
lack of spirit on and off the field is a real concern.
In the short term, the arrivals and departures during the first month of 2005
look more and more like being pivotal to our immediate future - and goals
against column. The danger though is that we have to play 9 more league games
before transfer business begins in earnest - during which we need to collect
enough points to still be in contention for even a UEFA slot.
The long-term failings at the club have also to be addressed, as we watch the
products of other club's successful youth policies prosper (and score) against
us week after week and wonder why they aren't Geordies in black and white