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Season 2009-10
Sheffield Wednesday (a) Championship

In association

Date: Saturday 26th December 2009, 12.45pm. Live on SkySports.

Venue: Hillsborough

Blue skies 

Admission: £26



Sheffield Wednesday

Newcastle United

2 - 2



14 mins A half-cleared corner was returned into the United box by James O'Connor, with an unmarked Luke Varney to head home, despite the presence of two United players on the line. 0-1

19 mins
Danny Simpson and Shola Ameobi combined down the United right and worked the ball to Danny Guthrie. He made it to the byline and found Kevin Nolan, who picked his spot and converted in front of the Kop with a decent header. 1-1

22 mins Jonas Gutierrez took possession near to the left corner of the Owls box and laid a low pass forward to Shola Ameobi. He turned infield and evaded two defenders before rifling home his 58th goal for the club from just inside the area.

It later became apparent that he had received the ball when in an offside position (along with the 'inactive' Marlon Harewood), before checking back, heading across the box and shooting. 2-1

Half time: Owls 1 Magpies 2

59 mins
a hopeful cross from the left was swung in towards Harper, who was preparing to make a two-handed catch as Varney jumped with him. He made contact with the ball about two yards from goal, heading it onto the crossbar but linking arms with Harper as he followed through.

That was enough to impede the United 'keeper, who turned away from goal just in time to see the arriving O'Connor ram the loose ball into the net from four yards. 2-2

Full time: Owls 2 Magpies 2

We Said

Newcastle manager Chris Hughton said:

"It wasn't one of our better performances. We have no given right to win any game and we faced a spirited Sheffield Wednesday side. 

“Having got back into the game and then gone ahead, it makes it doubly disappointing when you don’t go and finish the job off, but their second goal was definitely a foul.

“He (Harper) was almost certainly impeded, and it was probably a decision that referees will give week-in, week-out in favour of the goalkeeper. His arm is raised and wraps around Steve Harper’s arm. It was definitely a foul.

"I have had the benefit of seeing the incidents since, and I can understand they would be aggrieved with Shola’s goal,. As the ball goes into him, he starts in an offside position.”

"We knew this was a side who would put us under a lot of pressure because of the way they play. What you’ve got to do is soak that up and score at the other end. The fact that we scored two makes it disappointing we conceded two.

"It would have been too big a risk to play him
(Alan Smith) today but he'll be available on Monday."

They Said

Wednesday's interim manager Sean McAuley commented:

"It was the way that they approached the game that we are really pleased with. 

"They played with no fear and had a great start. When a team that is ten points clear at the top of the league gets 2-1 you probably think and fear the worst but the reaction in the second half was spot on and the players deserve all of the credit.

"Their second goal came from an offside situation but we want to remove any culture of excuses. We didn't want to sit and cry about it so it was a case of rolling our sleeves up and working hard in the second half to make sure we got something out of the game.

"We needed to stay disciplined. We didn't play pretty football but the players need to understand that is the position we are in and maybe if we can get a strong foothold in the games coming up then the creativity can start coming out. But I knew the hard work and effort would be key to getting us points today. 

"Let's make no mistake about it Newcastle are at the top of the league and they are a very tough nut to crack so I thought we did really well.

"We'd not scored in six games, we only got two points out of a possible 30 so we can start a new run of two goals and one point out of a possible three - we have to make every game a cup final from now on. 


Mags @ Owls - last ten:

2009/10 draw 2-2 Nolan, Ameobi
1999/00 won 2-0 Shearer, Gallacher
1998/99 drew 1-1 Shearer
1997/98 lost 1-2 Tomasson
1996/97 drew 1-1 Elliott
1995/96 won 2-0 Ginola, Beardsley
1994/95 drew 0-0
1993/94 won 1-0 Cole
1990/91 drew 2-2 McGhee 2
1988/89 won 2-1 R.McDonald, O'Neill

Full record v Sheffield Wednesday:

  P W D L F A
SJP 60 39 9 12 128 66
H 60 13 21 26 63 90
League 120 52 30 38 191 156
SJP(FA) 3 2 0 1 6 4
H/HP 4 3 1 0 7 3
SJP(LC) 1 0 0 1 0 1
H 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cup 8 5 1 2 13 8
Tot 128 57 31 40 204 164

NUFC - Boxing Day away record:

2009/10 Sheff Wed (a) drew 2-2
Wigan (a) lost 1-2
Wigan (a) lost 0-1
2006/07 Bolton (a) lost 1-2
2005/06 Liverpool (a) lost 0-2
2004/05 Blackburn (a) drew 2-2
2003/04 Leicester (a) drew 1-1
2002/03 Bolton (a) lost 3-4
1997/98 Derby (a) lost 0-1
1996/97 Blackburn (a) lost 0-1
1995/96 Man U (a) lost 0-2 (moved to Dec 27th)
1994/95 Leeds (a) drew 0-0
1993/94 Chelsea (a) lost 0-1 (moved to Dec 28th)
1989/90 Stoke (a) lost 1-2
1988/89 Sheffield Wednesday (a) won 2-1

Shola Ameobi marked his seventh league start of the season by scoring his seventh Championship goal.

Kevin Nolan made it double figures for the season in the Championship (11 including his effort in the League Cup).

It's now ten games unbeaten for the Magpies (eight wins and two draws). That's our best run of form since we went twelve games unbeaten in both 2005 and 2006 (Jan to April 2005 and April to August 2006). However both of those streaks included cup fixtures.

Today's attendance was the largest away crowd we've played in front of this season - although our upcoming visits to Pride Park and the Riverside Stadium could see the figure exceeded.

We last played a second-tier league away game in front of a crowd of this size back in September 1990, when a 2-2 draw was recorded in front of 30,628 Hillsborough v Wednesday.



Not since a 2-1 victory on this ground back in 1988 have Toon travellers had a Boxing Day victory to celebrate. And even dropping down a division failed to improve our miserable form on this day, with the name of Sheffield added to a list that now reads Stoke, Leeds, Derby, Bolton, Leicester, Blackburn, Liverpool, Bolton and Wigan. 

As the KLF once said, it's grim up North - and unless NUFC alter their policy of requesting away games on December 26th* (avoiding the need to begin home match preparations on Christmas Day), then next season will see a ninth successive mobilisation of supporters from Tyneside and beyond.

Given that many of the travelling Toon contingent had come "on the buses", then for some geezer called Varney to open the scoring for the home side was a typical moment of low comedy. 

Having been excused training on Christmas Day, a lethargic-looking United seemed in the mood to hand out gifts, failing to chase a half-cleared corner down and being duly punished by Varney - on loan at Hillsborough from Derby County.

That was the first goal that managerless Wednesday had scored in 631 minutes, but while the relief around Hillsborough was tangible, going behind had a positive effect on Newcastle and they were level within five minutes.

That goal came from Kevin Nolan - who had once provided his own touch of Boxing Day Toon gloom when shoving Peter Ramage in the back, causing him to register an own goal at the Reebok Stadium.

And having scored from their first attack, Chris Hughton's side promptly repeated the trick from their next, as Shola Ameobi continued his post-injury goalscoring form with a decent - if illegal - strike. 

Conceding two quick goals had a debilitating effect on the home side, who went into this match on the back of five losses and were winless in their last ten outings. However, Newcastle were unable to press home their advantage in the form of more scoring chances, despite dominating the rest of the first half. 

And they were made to pay when a brighter Owls display in the second period saw them take the initiative, as a lack of movement and control from our front duo left the Magpies frustratingly unable to retain possession. 

After surviving a series of needlessly-conceded corners, United duly conceded a half-expected equaliser - but from the far end of the ground things had an air of unreality as Wednesday hit the bar and netted the rebound - someone called O'Connor this time delivering the punchline, 

There were some protests - and a belated moan at match referee Stuart Attwell from Harper later in the game - but a certain suspicion that the whistler had been made aware of the first half rick for the Ameobi goal and was trying to even up the crime count.

With half an hour remaining, there was optimism that conceding again would deliver another much-needed kick in the shorts for the visitors, but despite using all three substitutes, things were little improved. 

Andy Carroll and Peter Lovenkrands replaced Ameobi and Harewood, while Fabrice Pancrate came on to provide some width down the right - which never materialised. 

Had we been in charge of the side, then Ryan Taylor would certainly have come off the bench, having scored against us for Wigan on this day in both 2007 and 2008. And although that reveals much about our superstitious approach, we could have done with some of his dead balls or swooping crosses into the Owls area.

Wednesday fancied a winner of their own and Harper did well to get something in the way of a Marcus Tudgay effort.

Carroll's first intervention was almost crucial, as he bullied his way into the Owls area and saw Lee Grant block a shot, Pancrate blazing the rebound wildly over after Harewood laid the ball back to him. 

That proved to be our best chance, Harewood failing to sign off his Gallowgate loan spell with a goal and doing his prospects of a return little good with a performance that again drew criticism from the travelling support.

Regardless of the opposition though, taking a point from an away game in which we were decidedly off-colour is a welcome return and more than we achieved on similar "off days" at Forest & Scunny.

As Barnsley had done though in our last away game, Wednesday profited by dropping crosses into the United area and putting our defence under pressure. And with Nicky Butt filling in for the absent Smith, things were a tad chaotic in the centre of the park, where pace, control and creativity were all largely absent.

At the 23 game halfway point in the season, the draw took us to a half century of points and left us eight points ahead of second-placed West Bromwich Albion, who have one game in hand.

Whether the Boxing Day away curse will be lifted next season remains to be seen, but despite today's result there's still justifiable optimism that in 12 months time we'll be trekking down the A1 en route to a top-flight ground. And doubtless enduring more festive generosity and slapstick.

* NUFC subsequently told us that our claim was "absolutely untrue and inaccurate".



Page last updated 20 February, 2017