Ryan Taylor whipped in a right wing free-kick and Kevin Nolan guided a powerful
header into the top corner and out of Wright's reach. 1-0
32 mins Andy Carroll neatly cut in
to avoid a challenge on halfway and clipped a ball forward down the left
hand channel that set Kevin Nolan galloping away on goal. He skipped inside Pim Balkestein's poor challenge and
fired a low shot between Wright and his post 2-0
34 mins Hysterical scenes, as a foul
on Ranger down the United left led to a free kick that Ryan Taylor
potted into the top right hand corner beyond the stretch of the badly-placed
Half time: Town 0 Toon 3
51 mins Debutant Khizanishvili pushed down the right flank and skipped around the
linesman before pulling the ball back for Ryan Taylor. He whipped over another fine cross to Ranger,
who headed the ball down and back across the six yard box for Kevin Nolan
to nod home from close range. He then ran off
clutching the match ball - although he did give it
back for Ipswich to restart the match. 4-0
In the same week that a stellar collection of
football personalities gave thanks for his life at Durham Cathedral, football
fans participated in a dignified tribute to the late Sir Bobby Robson as
some fortunate fixture planning pitted two of his former sides against each
But on a day in celebration of one former Newcastle manager, thoughts of two
others were never far from the surface - at least from the black and white
sympathisers who made it to Suffolk.
The selection of this game for live BBC transmission allowed Alan Shearer the
chance to watch his former club live again and get paid for it, sharing a
studio with fellow Toon fan Gabby Logan. By the end of the game, Al was acknowledging
chants aimed at him from a jubilant away
section, although it's stretching a point to to state that the vocal support
was of the "appoint him now" variety.
Those overjoyed travellers - celebrating a
third away win in five league games - had spent most of the previous 85 minutes
voicing displeasure at the continued presence of Mike Ashley @ SJP.
After becoming less evident in recent games, on first impression this renewed
anti-Ashley feeling seemed to have been prompted by the previous day's holding
statement about the legal feud with ex-boss Kevin Keegan (whose name
has never been sung since he departed from SJP).
However the increased vocals seemed to owe as much to pre-match drinking as
off-field politics - TV playing its part in giving fans an extra two hours to
refuel and also providing close-ups of a sullen-faced Ashley watching the game,
despite the ever-improving scoreline.
The temptation to flash that news to Portman Road seemed to be too much for
some viewers and the chants grew stronger as people received texts of the "he's
here - and he can hear you" variety.
Of the current incumbent in the job there was no specific mention from the fans
though - chants of "one Chrissy Hughton" remaining as rare as black and
white shirts with "Owen 10" ever were.
Thankfully all the sentiment and emotion of this occasion didn't overshadow the game - at least not for the
visitors - as this resounding victory saw United return to the top of the table in some style.
With West Brom surprisingly losing at home to Crystal Palace and the smoggies
held to a draw at Coventry, the stage was set for Newcastle make their mark and they certainly didn't disappoint.
The margin of victory and the manner in
which it was achieved heaping further misery on Roy Keane, who seethed on the
touchline as his side ensured their worst-ever start to a league campaign.
It's now nine league games without a win for the Iranian President lookie likie,
with renditions of "you're
getting sacked in the morning" and a certain canine-related ditty
aired at frequent intervals.
Aside from their participation in the various Robson-related tributes, the home
support meanwhile were largely silent until deep in the second half when Town
managed a shot in the vicinity of the United goal, prompting a spontaneous
round of applause for the all-too-rare forward foray.
With Danny Simpson not 100%, Chris Hughton brought in Zurab Khizanishvili at
right back for his Newcastle debut, while in the absence of the suspended Danny
Guthrie, injured Joey Barton and ill Geremi, Nicky Butt returned to the
A front pairing of Andy Carroll and Nile Ranger caused the home defence
problems from the start, Ranger going close after setting up a shooting chance
for himself. The United youngster then saw a back-post header palmed away by Richard Wright, before the vital breakthrough came after half an hour. And
within four minutes, the Magpies were three ahead as Ipswich totally
capitulated - although that didn't take much for a side who'd been absolutely
Tolly Cobbold from the off.
It was made all the sweeter given the number of former mackem players on show
(and one current loanee), while their current leader's son, Alex Bruce, had a
torrid time at the back and was booked before departing with an injury before
half-time. Perhaps he wanted to lock himself in the lavvy ahead of the
inevitable teacup tirade from his manager...
Any thoughts that Keane would inspire his side into an unlikely fightback soon
disappeared however, as Nolan soon
completed his treble and became the first player to net in front of the newly-
christened Sir Bobby Robson Stand.
With his side out of sight, there was scope for Hughton to tinker, on-loan striker Marlon Harewood (once of Ipswich)
appeared for his debut in place of Nile
Ranger. And despite not having kicked a ball in anger this season he looked
lively and committed, muscling through the home defence to test Wright with a
A groin pull saw Fabricio Coloccini made way for Peter Lovenkrands, resulting in
Khizanishvili partnering Steven Taylor in central defence and Ryan Taylor going
to right back. That reshuffle lasted barely 10 minutes though, before Ryan Taylor departed with
what was later termed a tweaked calf - a appropriately agricultural ailment to
report at the home of the Tractor Boys.
Youngster Ryan Donaldson appeared in an unfamiliar defensive role for the remaining minutes,
seventh clean sheet never looked in doubt and thoughts began to turn to a pair
of home games that look eminently winnable ahead of the international break -
by which time the KK business will surely be settled and the club sale will
either proceed - or be curtailed again.
Having covered our first game back in this league at West Bromwich Albion in
the days following the passing of Sir Bobby, the BBC were present once again to
capture scenes of tribute. But focusing on the football (at last), there's
clear evidence of progress since those faltering steps at The Hawthorns, since
when we've re-discovered the winning habit.
Back then, our chief on-field concern was the pillaging of the first team squad
ahead of the closure of the transfer window, the failure to make additions to
the squad and our apparent lack of appetite for what we took for granted would be a series of attritional contests.
In the event only one member of our starting XI that day was sacrificed - Duff
- while eight of today's XI appeared and only injuries to Jonas and Shola kept
them out at Portman Road.
The evidence thus far of the loan trio is that they are all more than
capable of being effective in this league - and reinforce the conviction that
we still have more playing resources than most/all of our counterparts.
Meanwhile, some newly-rediscovered battling qualities have been enough to deal
with anything we've come up against, as we've won physical battles as
well as footbaling ones.
In short, we've been better than we thought and the others worse than expected.
If anything is going to derail this, it's as likely to be the owner as an
opposition player - after all, we're past masters at scoring own
If the Cockney Mafia banner really riled him that much a year ago, how
bloody-minded will the latest wave of abuse make him? Tune in for the next
instalment of the show that never ends...