Sorry stuff at Pride Park

By Lee Ryder on Sep 17, 07 09:57 PM

NEWCASTLE UNITED crashed to a sorry defeat at the hands of struggling Derby County tonight.

The Magpies had their wings clipped in front of a full house at Pride Park and Sam Allardyce knows the defeat could have been even worse had Derby not squandered several chances late on to finish his side off.

Debut boy Kenny Miller won it for the Rams with a great strike before the break but Newcastle's unbeaten run is now at an end.

United defender Steven Taylor kept his place in the starting XI after clear the air talks with Sam Allardyce with the manager making just one change to the team that beat Wigan a fortnight ago.

That meant that Senegal international Habib Beye had to be content with a place on the bench where he took his place alongside fellow summer signing Abdoulaye Faye.

But Jose Enrique failed a late fitness test.

However, Enrique wasn't the only one as Mark Viduka, still recovering from a hamstring injury sustained against Wigan, also missed out through fitness test failure meaning Shola Ameobi started in attack.

And Steve Harper retained his place between the posts with Shay Given also on the bench.
Meanwhile, Toon star Joey Barton was also present at Derby but the England international is still not ready to make his comeback from the ankle injury he suffered at Carlisle in July.

United went into the game defending their unbeaten run but Derby came straight at United and a first minute corner was headed high over the top by Steve Howard.

Then on nine minutes a forward run by Tyrone Mears resulted in a 25 yard shot from the defender after being played in by Matt Oakley but Harper was equal to it and gathered it easily in front of watching England boss Steve McClaren.

On 18 minutes came Newcastle's first real sniff of goal when James Milner broke from deep on the left to pick out Michael Owen but after taking the ball wide of Derby keeper Stephen Bywater his pass to David Rozehnal only resulted in the Czech defender rolling the ball wide of the target.

Yet in an action packed two minutes it would be Derby who snatched the lead.
Nine minutes before the break United won a free-kick on the edge of the box and Cameroon star Geremi's curling free-kick had to parried round the post by Bywater.

From the resultant corner though Rozehnal was pulled down by Dean Leacock by ref Peter Walton waved away protests.

And with United still reeling from the incident a quickly taken goal kick by Bywater got caught up in Howard's feet before falling kindly to Derby debutant Kenny Miller who sent a superb effort beyond Harper from all of 25 yards to open the scores with 38 minutes on the clock.

Derby started the second half in confident fashion too and Howard was just inches wide with a towering header from an Eddie Lewis corner in another nervous moment for Newcastle.

That was the cue for Big Sam to change things round but when he subbed Owen for Oba Martins it sparked an angry reaction from the 3,000 Toon fans, all of them disappointed to see the England man withdrawn.

Six minutes later and skipper Geremi was also taken off with Abdoulaye Faye replacing him to make his United bow with Alan Smith taking over as captain.

United though weren't getting any change out of their strikers and with half an hour to go Taylor blasted over after Ameobi knocked the ball into his path.

But with 15 minutes left a flicker of hope came United's way when Martins was upended by Mears.

That handed United a free-kick 25 yards out but Milner's free-kick crashed off the wall and Newcastle wasted the corner that followed.

Yet had Derby not wasted their own chances late on it could have been much worse for Newcastle on a bad night for Big Sam and Co.

DERBY: Bywater, Griffin, Leacock, Mears, Teale, Lewis (McEveley 88), Davis, Oakley, Pearson, Howard, Miller (Feilhaber 79)
Subs: Jones, Earnshaw, Todd
UNITED: Harper, Taylor (Beye 75) Rozehnal, Cacapa, N'Zogbia, Geremi (Faye 60), Butt, Smith, Milner, Owen (Martins 54), Ameobi.
Subs: Pattison, Given
Attendance: 33,016


Peter Harper said:

I hope that the chairman was Mort-ified by the abject performance served up by Allardyce-yes I repeat Allardyce.There I was at 8.00pm thinking we would be fourth after we won tonight.But having seen the first fifteen minutes it was obvious Owen would be very lucky to score as he would not be supplied with the ball.My apologies to Derby county but they are a very poor team but because we were afraid to attack they appeared good.We have ,in Owens and Martins, two of the best strikers in the division but between them they could not muster one shot.What is the point having world class strikers if we cannot give them the ball.Tonight,in the solitude of his home, Sam Allardyce should look in the mirror and give himself a stiff talking to.Once more frustration abounds as a golden chance for three more points is thrown away by a desire not to lose no matter how poor the opposition may be.If this garbage continues Allardyce may be looking over his shoulder sooner than he thought.
I'm led to believe that Martin Jol's teams play the type of football Newcastle supporters love. Is the Sword Of Damocles beginning to swing- surely not or maybe............

Pierre De Letter said:

Some managers are successful with small teams but cannot cope with a squad of internationals.Big Sam may just be one of those people.
I am still scratching my head as to how Alan Smith played 90 minutes and Michael Owen played 50.Did it never cross Big Sam's mind to pair Owen and Martins.
I know it is early days but this was first degree(premeditated) rubbish.I fear this will be the norm as Big Sam knows no other way

sdc said:

Are you seriously mentioning BS possible departure because of one bad performance? Give me a break. I've listened to this sort of rubbish for far too long now when it comes to NUFC. Instead of being pessimistic try to concentrate on all the positives so far this season. So they played poorly, yes it was frustrating to see but it was ONE game. Let everybody settle in before casting any aspersions. Team success is not built in a day. You build it from the ground up. From the boardroom to the field. Newcastle has a manager that will be successful and a team to match. Patience is the key to success. Finally everyone appears to be going in the same direction. The problems are being addressed which is breeding a positive culture within the club. That's the key mate.

Trav said:

As usual the daggers come out after one defeat, gee guys give big sam a chance, he may have stuffed up tonite but were gonna get our ups and downs, although we shouldnt lose to derby, not if we want to make it to europe next season...
Time to drop alan smith i think...

Siomi said:

What a depressing night of football! What have the team been doing on the training ground for the last three months - not practising their football anyway! First touch was appalling, passing loose, movement and positioning reminiscent of school football and the finishing... Lets say some shot practice wouldn't go amiss. If we want to succeed we not only have to have our shots on target, but they need to be good enough to beat the keeper! God help us if a result depends on a penalty. Their goal was typical long ball rubbish that teams learnt to deal with years ago. Harper had a reasonable game, but was partly responsible for the goal through poor positioning and, frankly, being asleep. I think Allardyce needs to stop with the amateur psychology rubbish of making Given hungry for his place and recognise he is one of the best keepers in the country and we need him to be playing for us. And Alan Smith captain? Please!

joal david said:

welcome back to reality...the fact is we never faced any of the good teams..only astonvill (where we were very lucky i'd say..) from he last performance i'd say we need's stupid to think we can forever keep the clean sheet..i'd say be practical..when our team concedes only one goal thts a victory in defence for me...we need to also be well versed in defece to play with 3 defenders (roz,tays and casapa) in case we concede an early goal...and the biggest advantage of man city thi season is that tey make the opponents to change the formation) we need time to understand each other..and eamwork builds over time....till then we need to make up for it by throwing everythin in the way..thats what big sam's doin...we need one more GOOD LB..and we need our fullbacks to push forward(rem the time when SIr Bobby boys played)

2.we ned more creativity in midfield and we can't also always bypass them with long balls..according to teams we need to juggle it and also according to what sam's trying to do is use the midfoels to win the ball and try he bigman small won't work against teams who wanna sit back and defend...cos less space to exploit..we need to strech the opponents and draw people out of position..thats what man city and arenal do...(actually if arsenal do bring thier shooting boots along evry game they'd win by 4 or 5 goals..they create chances)..we need a prson who can distribute the ball welll and has vision..decrease the number of defensive midfielders to 2 or better 1 and play zogbia up on the wing with milnr on other side..we can't say that we have creativity in the treatment room..we need it on the field and when we don't have it ..improvise.... and sam need to forget about using dfensive minded midfield against the mid rung and lower teams .he cud do it at bolton where they stiffiled the creativity of the top teams and won thru setplays or with headers from open play...though diouf and anelka gave them the extra dimention..we have talent and flair..USE IT..don't let everyone in midfield just scrap around...
3.attack...use either pace or target man and pacey striker combo...i personally feel that the mental edge that bolton had against the big teams that the small teams wil have against us..we can't use ameobi (HE IS NOT A ARIEL TARGET man...)and duke..though he's more effective than ameobi is also not a target man...we need ariel target man (carraciolo or bianchi crouch or jan koller or even our own carrol though he's developing...carew ...kevin davies,brian mcbride or steffen iverson) they are ariel target men..
they are target men..sam also need to warm up to the idea that we can ply open defences thru pace and movement also..use milner and martins on either side of owen with an attackind minded midfielder in the centre of a 4-3-3 and u'll see how much trouble can be caused ...owen wud also work fine in the centre cause it'll be difficult to clamp him down ..and at same time we need to have an alternative goal source..when he is tightly markd he can draw people away and make space for the forward on the either side to come up at farpost...also the forward shud be happy to take on defenders...

what i'm actually sayin is WE NEED A PLAN case the target man small man combo doesnt work...

Blacky said:

I feel like we have had this result coming all season.Newcastle were completely toothless and the lack of creativity is a real worry.I hate the balance of the midfield it reminded me of the Roeder days playing Parker and Butt together apart it just didnt work.I cant see any benefit in playing exactly the same player in 3 positions (Butt,Smith,Geremi)although undoubtedly grafters there isnt an ounce of creativity amongst them it seems like we are pinning all our hopes on Barton to shake things up.I know we arent at crisis point after our first loss of the season but last night was diabolical !

Brewcastle said:

A disapointing and embarassing performance at Pride Park from the lads. Did they party all time since the Wigan-match? They obviously seemed to have a kind of hang-over yesterday. And it was a bad performance from the bench too. Mr. Allardyce seemed to be uninterested in the mission they had to deal with at Pride Park. They got what they deserved; 0 points. -The high-paid lads and manager showed us it's no reason to expect much from them yet. They had a chance to place NUFC at a good position at the table, and they didn't grab it. That wouldn't happened with real sportsmen with a winner instinct. Bring in the instinct!

Paul Patterson said:

Well, I’ve been positive about Big Sam’s reign so far, but last night was baffling to say the least.

We started with, three centre halves but didn’t play three at the back, (N’Zogbia should have been thrown forward instead of being asked to attack from left back) or at worst Taylor should have been dropped to introduce Beye at Right Back.

Come 75 mins when our last sub was deployed, could anyone tell me the formation that was being used?? 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 was what it looked like.

Ameobi was my tip to start, but little did I know he was going to be offside, run down blind alleys and in general look disinterested.

Here’s a thought, Ask Tottenham if they wouldn’t mind swapping Jermaine Defoe for Ameobi, the window re-opens in January??

Once again, we see Mr Owen come back from international duty (WITH A SODDING INJURY) our fans weren’t to know this at the time.

Enrique fails a fitness test, Viduka likewise, what is going on??????

And the biggest joke at the club, I give you- Alan Smith, if his film or Autobiography were to be released, it would be called, Alan Smith- The Yellow Card Man, that’s all he does, (He should have been sent off last night) he gets booked, doesn’t have a set position and it is actually playing with ten men when he’s on the field.

Get down the betting shop, now that Harper has conceded, Shay will be back in against West Ham.

This defeat was Allardyces fault and please, nobody be fooled by his comment in todays Journal about International duty being the root cause of the defeat, (Owen apart) it was you that got this one wrong Sam.


jackie w said:

Scandalous.that was an absolute load of crap. Kenny Miller the best player on the pitch sums it all up. We are desperate for a creative midfielder , why did he not get the inefective Ameobi off , and bring on Martins after 20m mins?..He should also have brought Smith off pushed Zoggs in to centre mid and brought Pattison as temp left back. I hope Emre is back for Sunday and Barton as quick as or we will be in trouble ...Jurys out ..Jackie

Alex Falk said:

Having reflected on last night's performance we should really not be surprised at the result.We were unbeaten and living the dream.But we ignored the bare truth of those games - HOME and AWAY we were playing defensive football against opposition we would hope to class inferior to ourselves.Unfortunately the manager still has the mind set that helped him succeed at Bolton.Survival was the priority.That,however, is not the case at St James Park.In terms of (true and loyal) fan base the Toon Army is unsurpassed. The manager should 1. Study the business record and practices of Mike Ashley. He is much more deadly than Doug Ellis.2.Study the requirements and expectations of being the Newcastle United manager.The implication of failure is severe.Mme Guillotine awaits.We all have our ideas of team selection and I am no different so barring injuries my team to face West Ham is as follows:-Given,Beye,Taylor,Cacapa,Enrique,Milner,Butt,Emre,N'zogbia,Owen ,(any one from four of Martins,Smith,Viduka,Ameobi.I believe this team would bring a smile to St James Park.

John Oxborough said:

Sam you're comments were garbage last night. You should have just said we were hopeless, couldn't pass,couldn't get crosses past the first man and we were outplayed by the bottom team. None of this rubbish please about too many games, too many internationals etc. Every other big club manages to a least put on a half decent display, last night was woeful.

Ameobi- How can several of our managers rate him when the majority of fans don't -sell him to Boro in January.Smith- a £6m midfielder?'re having a giraffe. Should have played him up front instead. Why didn't Sam play Charlie on left and Milner on the right and keep them wide to supply front two with Geremi and Butt in the middle.

Longer term we need a bit of flair in midfield as we look clueless and devoid of ideas at times.

Jenna Young said:

Dreadful game. Your beloved Smudger is a liability. Shola should've gone in the clearout (Smith's probably better up front). Without a fit and engaged Emre and without Nobby, we look bereft of ideas.

A "FOOTBALL" Fan said:

It may be just me, but why was anybody surprised by last night's result against Derby, and then to blame the international break, then the "tired" strikers, come on, who's kidding who? If you have no creativity from Midfield, you don't score goals, your goal scoring then becomes good fortune and if that's how Newcastle want to go through the season, then top ten will be a blessing. Newcastle are 1 keeper, 8 workers and 2 strikers (although it was hard to call Shola a striker last night), we are no longer a footballing side, I think we are now more solid in defence, but that may be to do with the 8 defenders we now employ, but with the exception of Milner and Nzogbia, who both play on one side, going forward we are useless as a unit. Good example early chance last night a Rosenthal is furthest man forward, help. Why not try Owen and Martins, we might be forced to play football then and pass it through midfield, but my feeling is we still need someone to create the chances, at the moment the only known man is Emre, although I hope Barton brings his Man City form when he starts

Snapper said:

Sam blames tiredness for the sorry display last night. What about the teams who had internationals away on duty and then had to play on Saturday? Some as early as lunchtime, OK the Liverpool manager had something to say but that was just the weekly "we are being victimised rant". Get a grip Sam what about your much vaunted medical and fitness team you have assembled, presumably on inflated wages?

Mick Latimer, Geordie Downunder said:

What a dissapointing performance by Newcastle at Pride Park. Very few players impressed apart from Zog, but even he got carried away with long shots instead of creating a better chance for scoring. My biggest frustration is with Ameobi; I don't understand why Newcastle have persevered for so long. Tonight he was useless, in fact he gave away so many frees he was like a 12th man for Derby. Why doesn't Sam play Owen and Martins together if Viduka is out? Andy Carroll would have done a better job than Shola.

Alasdair McKay said:

As we now live in Chesterield, this was a perfect opportunity for me, my wife and two daughters to watch the lads live. What a waste on almost £150, tickets,food & drink and parking.

Allardyce says his team were tired after the international break. Well apart from Owen and Rhozenhal, I don't think any of them played two games and some never even got on the pitch in a game. And surely this does not affect basic technique, like passing and controlling the ball.

Maybe it is the curse of Setanta, no wins when they have shown our games. No more the lack of pride, passion,commitment and skills of the team.

We are apparantley using a physchologist to help with the mental side of some of our players, best ditch him and concentrate on basic skills.

Last year Arsenal made the Carling Cup final with their reserve team, on last nights showing they need only send out their academy side next Tuesday.

Sam, the honeymoon is well and truly over. Everyone deserves time, but last nights performance just reduced your quota of that particular luxury dramitacally.

Nigel Sinclair said:

Roeder might have been useless, but at least he refrained from using the Premiership Managers' Big Book of Pathetic Excuses whenever the magpies underperformed.

ray said:

was it me, or was it just like a roeder-esque clueless performance?

it was clear that to break down this lot, packing the middle was not the way to go -- why? are we scared of some team rooted to the bottom? do we not believe we have the quality to play through ppl any more?

utter rubbish; shola is again showing he is pointless -- the midfld dont want to play and try to launch balls into the air for shola to miss.

when we should hv moved to 3 at the back, moved zog onto the left, milner to the right to give us some threat (a sunday league punt up the pitch isnt a tactic, its plain desperation), what did sam do? bring on some more defenders, for defenders.


Mark Green said:

Surely not Newcastle getting beat off one of the worst teams in the premiership? Ok I guess we've been there, done that and the t-Shirt is black & white.

A bad time to play a wounded team whose non-international players have had two weeks preparation.

No surprise then that we were out-fought, just shocking that we were outpassed. We couldn't put any decent passes together and our crosses were terrible.

Big man, little man combo is suddenly written in stone. However, when our big man is on such terrible form and unable to help out our little man, i'm not sure about taking off the (in form) little man??. Aren't we supposed to route for the little guy Lee?

Dale said:

Why is Ameobi's 2nd touch always a tackle!?!?!

Sid said:

In fairness to the display last night, at least no players shirked showing for the ball - and that is a good sign. Proof of this was that the players, well out of sorts, kept making mistakes because they showed for the ball.

And Sam will have learnt to not let his reputation rest on the yo-yo performances of Shola - put Smith out of his wing misery and make him the fourth striker in the squad!

Well done to Rozenahl for demonstrating via his body language and effort that he wants to win- he should take the captain's armband, not Smith. The rest have all had good games this season, so let's not over-react to one performance.

If we thought Sam would be matching Mourinho's high cost squad, or Fergie's and Wenger's many years of planning in a few months, we are setting ourselves up for a fall and misery this season...his signings seem sound so far. Once Enrique, Beye and Faye are bedded in to new-look defence, we can build up midfield. Then the attack will get the chances they will inevitably put away regulary...

Bill said:

This performance was a return to the gutless away displays under Roeder - remember Wigan?
Shola - get rid of him asap.
International games?! Come off it, Sam. Your "tactics" and defensive attitude are the real reasons why we were so rubbish.
Get your act together!

Sean Peterson said:

what was going on at pride park last night?,only one team looked like the bottom of table side and it wasnt derby county!!!!,have to say after quite a bright start,things went rapidly downhill.lets start with the 11 that were started,
you need to play the 2 PROPER fullbacks as this then allows zog to push into a wide left role and gives us the balance we need.sorry but taylor cant play in this role, he`s a centre half (in the making not ready yet).the quicker joey barton is ready the better because he will be needed to provide a little bit of creativity thats sorely needed at present, and can you tell me why geremi takes all the throw ins,corners etc?, he does nothing with them!!!!!.up front we have our home grown striker, a certain shola ameobi, who it seems keeps telling us that he was the man to replace a player named alan shearer!!, dont make me laugh!!!, he`s a player who`s second touch is to control the ball, he offered nothing at all last night but to fair just a little bit to him, the tactics of humping the ball up to him, wimbledon style will never bring out the best in him.iam sorry to say but preformances like last nights are TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE for this club if we want to finish even in the top 6, never mind the top 4 and the promised land of the champions lets get the team right and tactics will hopefully follow, otherwise another season of getting beat and losing points to the bottom 6 teams is beckoning again.

Sam Big said:

Big Sam will put it right!

Yeah, yeah, yeah... Keep taking the tablets. No creativity in midfield and a couple of fitful forwards Shola and Viduka...

Mark Coulter said:

I feel having our most creative player at full back spoke volumes, and having a fully fit right back on the bench, and one in the form of Geremi in mid field along side Nicky Butt, meant we were never going to be playing the sort of football we want. Smith is either given a run as a forward partner or should be dropped. He may not create much in the middle, but is more likely to get on the end of things than Shola. Too square pegs round holes at the moment. Did anyone see the way Liverpool played after their international weekend, fast, zippy full of intent. Please take note Sam.

Haniz Nazlan said:


1. SHOLA AMEOBI IS THE WEAKEST LINK...he is supposed to win high balls..did he?..not at all..none in fact throughout the whole night

2. STOP PLAYING LONG said that was over Big Sam, with the kind of strikers and midfielders we have, why the need for long balls??come on Sam...I was the happiest guy on earth when u became manager..don't let us all down

3. FOOTBALL AIN'T BOUT WINNING THE MOST thing's for sure..yes the team has passion and determination..that is to win the ball..but u can't win games by doing that alone!

I don't mind our team losing..but only if we were the better side..playing better football and creating more chances..but Newcastle performing like that? it was the whole team!..u can't blame the players!(except AMEOBI) it must have been the tactics!


ged said:

I honestly thought watching Newcastle on Monday was a waste of 90 minutes of my life. i dont know why I bother every season I say to myself this time we will do something but to me there was 8 to ten guys(including substitutes) that were just going through the motions and picking up there cheques. Rosenthal and Milner were the only ones that can hold there heads up and say they give their all. Ameobi i didnt realise he was on the pitch for the first half. and Sam has spent heavily on a defence that still looks suspect. Im fed up with Newcastle talkiing the talk but not walking the walk


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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