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18th January 2010, 7.45pm. Live
Venue: St.James' Park
Conditions: occasional mist
2 - 2
Albion's shirts featured the DEC logo
of the Disasters Emergency Committee (www.dec.org.uk),
who are currently
engaged in fundraising to aid victims
of the recent earthquake in Haiti.
13 mins Having
shepherded him to the left touchline, Kevin Nolan was powerless to prevent Graham Dorrans
taking a step sideways and then delivering a right wing centre. Jonas Olsson
found himself all alone on the edge of the United six yard box and steered the
ball first time past Steve Harper in the Gallowgate End goal, with his
nearest marker Shola Ameobi motionless.
Olsson ran towards the home fans in the Strawberry Corner and received some
abuse, claiming later that he was in fact making sure that the Haiti Aid logo on
his shirt was picked up by cameramen.
A long forward ball from right back Danny Simpson was headed down by Ameobi,
who then retained possession and was clumsily fouled by Mulumbu. With Jonas
Gutierrez standing over the ball, Danny Guthrie stepped up to whip a
right-footed effort to Scott Carson's right, with the 'keeper rooted to the
Half time: Magpies 1 Throstles 1
46 mins Albion
pushed forward down the left, with Cech evading the out-of-position Danny
Simpson before sliding the ball forward for Dorrans. Although Simpson raced
back, neither he nor Nolan were near enough to prevent Dorrans centring from the
corner of the box. His target was Bednar and when Fabricio Coloccini failed to
react, the Albion striker sent a downward header towards Steve Harper from six
Harper instinctively diverted the effort upwards with his knee, but when the
ball rebounded off the crossbar, Bednar had the easiest of tasks to nod the ball
into the unguarded goal from just inches out, just 34 seconds after the
72 mins Peter Lovenkrands made a forward run in possession down the left
channel, finding Gutierrez
outside him, who was shepherded by Chris Brunt. The Argentinean winger checked
back and found Enrique, who delivered his cross without further ado. The ball
fell to Peter Lovenkrands, who had stolen into the Albion area undetected
- and although his near post header from nine yards out was on target, Carson
looked to have made a hash of it, diving in a vain attempt to swipe the ball
away after it had already crossed the line.
Having made a late decision to play following the death of his father days
before, an emotional Lovenkrands raised a finger and looked to the skies in
tribute, before being surrounded by team mates. 2-2
Full time: Magpies 2 Throstles 2
United Manager Chris
“It was a tough game – it was a great example of men playing football
the way they should do. There were some hefty challenges. You want the referee
to control that, but you also want your own players to dust themselves down and
get back up, and we’ve got enough men in the team to be able to do that.
"You certainly never
enjoy the game as much as the supporters, and especially the neutrals.When
you've got a support like ours, they want to see us winning. The game was
certainly entertaining enough to lift everybody. Sky were the winners, because
they were able to serve up a very exciting game for the neutral.
"It could have gone either way, but overall, I think it was a fair result.
They had their moments, and they're a very good side. They've only lost once
away from home. They've got a lot of good quality, and you can see why.
"I think it was because of the way the game was – it became very open.
When it becomes that way, there's an excitement that you can win, but also a
fear you can lose. You get to a stage in the game where it becomes very tough.
What's the greater? The fear of losing, or the benefit of winning?
"The only benefit of the draw is that we haven't lost. It's three points
that West Brom didn't get, and it keeps the gap the same. Forest are probably
the big winners.
"The Andy Carroll one was a blatant penalty. We’ve seen it again, and he
makes no attempt to get the ball. It was one of those where, if the referee saw
it again, I couldn’t imagine he wouldn’t have agreed it was a blatant
On Lovenkrands, who played
despite the death of his father and scored:
"I think Peter deserved it. We've got a very close and tight-knit group,
and he's part of that group.
"He wanted to play for obvious reasons. He wanted to play for his father,
because that's what he'd have wanted. We're really delighted that he got the
"It shows great qualities from him as an individual. It was a very
difficult time. His father was very proud of him and I think he felt his father
would have liked him to play. His father wasn't a particularly old man and it
was a very difficult time for him."
Peter Lovenkrands said:
“It was a difficult decision to
play, but one that I wanted to make for my father who was a big football fan.
I'd like to dedicate that goal to him."
Baggies boss Roberto di Matteo commented:
"If I reflect over the
game I think we deserved to win. We had some good chances and probably
more chances than Newcastle. We thought when the ball went through
Ishmael just had to knock it in for the third goal. I'm not a
psychologist but I'm happy with the response after the defeat last
time out. The players put tremendous effort into the game tonight. I
would also like to say you can't judge a team on one bad game.
"We have had loads of good games and over the course of the
season we have had loads of positives. I think we deserved to win this
game and Newcastle went very close to losing their first home game
this season. We have a bit of frustration in ourselves because we had
the better chances and more chances too. I think we are among the
highest scoring teams in the league and we always try to be
"I have to say, we showed a bit of character tonight away at
Newcastle. We looked comfortable and played the ball around nicely,
created chances and nearly won the game. It was a very high-tempo game
and you could see towards the end both teams were a little bit
"We drew the first game against them and we drew here - in both games
we were quite good and should have won both. In the first game, Tim
Krul made several good saves and tonight we had chances but lady luck
was not on our side.
"I don't know how he (Miller) missed that one! It was a
tap-in. But he has been out for a while and needs to get used to
"It's a strange league so I expect other teams to be in the mix
as well. I think Swansea, Leicester, Cardiff and Sheffield United will
have something to say as well. You can see that any team can beat any
team. Newcastle have the edge over everybody else with a strong squad
and the players they have in their team - it's Premier League all
"We just have to keep working hard in training and, on Saturdays, put a
lot of effort and hard work into the games. We just need to grind
results out because that's what the Championship is like. You need to
work for your wins.
"We seem to be a bit more free when we play away from home. We
have a young team and they do suffer a little bit with the pressure
and expectations when we play at home. We have to work on it because
we need to win home games as well."
Newcastle maintained their unbeaten record, which now stretches to fourteen
games (twelve in the Championship + two in the FA Cup). And at
St.James' Park, the Magpies remain unbeaten all season - a run of fifteen
games (eleven wins and four draws).
Having conceded just four goals in their previous twelve home
league fixtures, that total was extended to six in this game. However
that's still the meanest home defence in the league (Swansea are the
next best, having conceded eight).
A third consecutive Championship draw means that it's now just one
win in five for United.
Magpies v Throstles - last ten in
drew 2-2 Guthrie, Lovenkrands
2008/09 won 2-1 Barton(pen), Martins
2005/06 won 3-0 Solano, Ameobi 2(1pen)
2004/05 won 3-1 Kluivert, Milner, Shearer
2003/04 lost 1-2 Robert (LC)
2002/03 won 2-1 Shearer 2
1990/91 drew 1-1 L.O'Brien
1989/90 won 2-1 Quinn, Anderson
1989/90 lost 0-1 (LC)
1985/86 won 4-1 Reilly 2, McDonald, Clarke
Full record v
After a succession of routine home fixtures this season, this was the real
deal - a genuinely competitive match between two committed teams.
Just like times past, in that "other" league we used to inhabit.Biffa
Albion had come here to do a job and unlike many other sides, were never
going to be impressed by the architecture - although quite what distracted
Miller from the easiest of finishes late on remains a mystery.
Behind twice, United showed admirable spirit to take a point from the game
and both sides then had chances to win it. Unlike the visitors, the home
had a couple of justifiable penalty shouts turned down.
However, the return of "proper football" to Gallowgate for one
night only brought with it memories of last season's struggles and also
provided a depressing reminder of what may face us next season.
off, West Brom showed speed and creativity in midfield to find space,
leaving our lot
looking leaden-footed and although their red change shirts are a different
hue to those worn by certain sides from the North West, a slight feeling of
helplessness was unpleasantly familiar.
While Gutierrez looked in the mood for the game (although again misfiring at
crucial times), Smith and Nolan showed an embarrassing lack of pace, with
the former reverting to type and getting wound up, while the latter made
minimal impact throughout. He stayed on though, with the equally sloth-like Butt on
And where the visitors played a smooth passing game, Newcastle by contrast
were rather less refined and often incapable of retaining possession. Albion
also looked to have done their homework and looked to run at Simpson
whenever possible, giving the on-loan defender a difficult game on the last
night of his loan spell. Similarly Taylor never looked particularly
comfortable and seemed to be struggling early on, suggesting that he wasn't
100% fit to play.
With the Tyneside fog spilling over the East Stand roof and starting to
descend on the pitch, it looked like a case of lost in the mist when Albion
regained the lead while we were still mentally in the dressing room.
At that point an equaliser hardly seemed likely, but Lovenkrands
quickly made it an emotional and memorable night for himself with a
potentially priceless goal.
Other than that though he unsurprisingly wasn't
at his best and wasn't blessed with much in the way of support from Ameobi,
whose first three attempts to win possession resulted in soft free kick
To these eyes, the arrival of Carroll came far too late, while the fresh
legs of Ranger could also have deterred Albion from pushing up into midfield
Despite the late disappointment that a Gutierrez forward run couldn't
deliver the ball to the onrushing Carroll, this was still a valuable point
that preserved our six point lead over the Baggies. But, they needed the win
more than us and didn't get it, despite their attractive pattern of
In a game when Chris Hughton fielded his strongest XI and a fair few of his
players endured off nights, the team pulled through and maintained their
unbeaten record. That's worthy of praise in itself.
The form team in this league currently are Forest, whose manager Billy
Davies watched this first-hand as a SkySports pundit. His side benefited
from the draw and now lie three points behind Newcastle. And although we
have a game in hand on them, it's at our unfavourite destination of Reading,
hardly a gimme.
Games like this don't come along very often in seasons like this and only
the still-to-come visit of Forest to Gallowgate promises to be of similar
onfield intensity. That's not to say that there won't be banana skins along
the way of the Scunthorpe variety, but promotion will be achieved by routine
victories over routine sides. Smith, Nolan and the rest need to earn their
money between now and May to achieve that.
However as a preview of life in the top flight this was a useful - if
sobering - reminder of how far we've fallen and how much turnover is
required in this squad if we're not to become the Premier League whipping boys
next season. We're not a good team, we're a good Championship team.
PS: At this point exactly thirty years ago, we were top of Division Two and
apparently en route back to the "big time". We ended the season in
ninth position - partly due to the failure of the club to replace injured
players and invest in improving the squad. Having experienced that, we're at
pains to wipe out any cockiness or complacency from our writing. Take
nothing for granted.
Re: The It's a Knockout / NUFC link - the referee at Wembley
Stadium for our 1952 FA Cup Final success was Arthur Ellis aka Uncle
Arthur the It's a Knockout judge (often seen measuring amounts of luridly-coloured
liquid during the "mini marathon" with his trusty
"dipstick" - which had actually no measurements on