United beaten by a Long shot

By Lee Ryder on Oct 27, 07 04:52 PM

NEWCASTLE UNITED went down to a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Reading today as the Berkshire side halted their mini revival.

The dejected Toon Army trooped out of the Madejski Stadium with nothing to show from their long journey as a late Shane Long goal won it for the Royals.

United started the game with Joey Barton in the starting XI for the first time with Emre pushed out wide left.

That meant Alan Smith, back from a ban, was only a sub alongside Charles N'Zobgia who was still recovering from cold.

And for the second game running there was no place at all for Steven Taylor with Cacapa and Abdoulaye Faye starting their third game running at the heart of defence.

The clash between the Royals and the Magpies got off to a quiet start.

But Reading should really have scored the opener on 12 minutes when Kevin Doyle thundered down the right and rolled it across the six yard box for Leroy Lita who somehow got the ball caught between his feet and fluffed an easy chance with just Shay Given to beat.

Three minutes later and United responded when Barton found Michael Owen with a ball from the right and the England striker applied a scruffy finish past Marcus Hahnemann only for Graeme Murty to mop up on the line and deny the Toon star, who felt he'd been fouled by the American keeper.

Neither side seemed to be able to make the breakthrough in a dire first half contest but Lita did test Shay Given with a shot from eight yards and Geremi drifted a free-kick just wide of the Reading goal frame.

Yet the closest Reading would come in the first period was in comical fashion when Cacapa overcooked a backpass and Given struggled to get back in time before fortunately clearing the danger for the Toon.

However, frustrations in the away section became clear on the 50 minute mark when the Toon Army began chanting "attack, attack, attack, attack, attack."

But the only attacking was happening at the other end and eight minutes into the second half it was the home side who grabbed the lead.

And sadly for United it was a case of deja vu as Dave Kitson swept home after a pass on the crust of the 18 yard box from Stephen Hunt which allowed the Royals to take the lead.

That was the cue for Big Sam to make big changes and N'Zogbia and Smith were called from the bench soon after with the ineffective Nicky Butt and Martins leaving the field to a chorus of boos from the Geordie fans.

The Toon fans in Berkshire also made their feelings known as the game drifted into the final quarter by chanting the name of James Milner with Newcastle lacking a cutting edge.

And they got their wish with 16 minutes on the clock when a reshuffle saw Faye make way for Milner with Habib Beye moving into the centre of defence and Geremi dropping back to right-back allowing Milner to drive Newcastle forward down the same flank.

The move paid instant dividends too as Milner won a free-kick deep on the right with Emre whipping the ball into the near post for Smith who got a slight touch before Michael Duberry flicked it into his own net on 76 minutes.

Yet if Allardyce thought it was an inspired substitution he was trumped by Steve Coppell with seven minutes left.

Young Irishman Shane Long came off the bench with Nicky Shorey's free-kick picking him out and it was the ex-Cork City star who applied a great finish with his first touch just 10 seconds after coming on.

And just to add to Newcastle's woes Cacapa saw his header with a minute left chalked out for offside.

READING: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Sonko, Gunnarsson, Lita, Doyle, Hunt, Kitson, Harper, Duberry.
Subs: Ingimarsson, Convey, Rosenior, Federici

NEWCASTLE: Given, Beye, Enrique, Cacapa, Faye, Geremi, Butt (N'Zogbia 57), Barton, Emre, Martins (Smith 57), Owen.
Subs: Rozehnal, Harper


Mohd Farez said:

What is BS doing. Even for me as far as in South East Asia in Singapore, i could tell that he seems to favour certain players even when they're not perfoming.

Geremi is not winger. Emre is no winger. Then why play them down the wings??

In football there must be WIDTH and DEPTH on the field.Both are missing on saturday.

Geremi & emre tends to come in the to centre leaving the width empty and thus no supply to owen n martins.

Owen n martins have to come deep to collect the ball leaving us with no Depth up front.

Please can someone tell BS he's messing the formation up.

The Back 4 is good! The midfield is the problem! What can Barton do ? Nothing! What did Butt do ? Nothing!

Why did he took off martins for Smith!!
Smith is hopeless always commiting fouls and shouting at the refs!!

Hes just good for the bench thats all!
If BS continues with his favourtism among his players hence messing up the formation....i dont see us among top 10

Very sad as i love NUFC. Can we have KK as technical director of football at NUFC, maybe he can teach BS a thing or 2!

Here's the best line-up we can have:

Beye Cacapa Faye/Roz Enrique

Milner Emre/Barton Zogbia

Owen Viduka Martins

Milner & Zog to provide width when attacking n compact the centre when defending.
Viduka to just drop behind maritns n owen to provide flick on headers to them or hold up the ball for the wide players.
Martins n owen can also go wide to provide gd crosses for viduka
Ex: When marins go wide, owen n viduka in centre. When owen goes wide martins n viduka go centre.

I hope BS sees my coments :)


When will we find the answers! homesickness?! We just dont seem to be able to play football for more than 15 mins at a time of each away game. Players and the system SA uses away from home baffles me.We're just waiting to be beaten in my opinion. We have a perfectly good strike force and we wont/dont utilise them effectively until it too late.they rely heavily on good ball. Our midfield he puts out just aint going to make more than a cple of chances a game for them. Emre away from home really dissapoints me, milner on the other hand should get a game every week as he's reliable home and away. For me smith get rid!!barton,milner,zoggy,emre(at home)barton,milner,zoggy,butt (away)

unnamed said:

Terrible tactics by the managerI guess the reason was to keep a clean sheet, but then we let in two and barely bother with attacking until late in the game. What the hell was Mr Versatility himself doing at the end of the game? It says something for Smith's naivety that he thinks fouling then arguing with the ref is going to help our cause. Then again, he shouldn't have been brought on in the first place. We suddenly field potential suppliers and take off our best forward. What the hell's going on?

Doc Levy said:

Terrible tactics by the managerI guess the reason was to keep a clean sheet, but then we let in two and barely bother with attacking until late in the game. What the hell was Mr Versatility himself doing at the end of the game? It says something for Smith's naivety that he thinks fouling then arguing with the ref is going to help our cause. Then again, he shouldn't have been brought on in the first place. We suddenly field potential suppliers and take off our best forward. What the hell's going on?

Toon4Life said:

Geremi cannot play on the right, Obafemi cannot play alongside owen and our two centre halves were to blame for conceding the second goal. Frmation yesterday should have been smith,owen,nzogbia,emre,butt,milner,enrique,cacapa,taylor,beye. AND FROM THERE CHANGE ACCORDINGLY. i.e oba for owen and barton for butt or emre. I could not believe the lack of team play and i blame BSA for the reasons above. Geremi is a central midfielder or right back if need be. If not bench him. Smith is a striker. If not bench him. Forget playing players in positions we dont need them in unless we have to. AND YESTERDAY WE DID NOT NEED TO. I like BSA but we lost what i feel 3 points to an average team because of his formation decisions! And we will not kick out this inconsistency if that carrys on.

Paul Patterson said:

Where to start eh?

It now seems blatantly apparent that Newcastle are going to be soft touches away from home, mainly because of Mr Allardyces tactics.

If anyone saw Goals On Sunday this morning then Allardyce commented that maybe he would have to drop one of his stars up front (We all know that won’t be Owen) and smother the midfield away from home.

Now forgive me If Im wrong, but against sides like Reading and Derby, shouldn’t we be just attacking, remember these sides will crumble if you score two goals FIRST, instead of waiting till late on to just “Nick a point�

Allardyce will soon be in hot water with the fans if he persists down the line he’s going down as winning at home IS priority, but then just chucking away points away is just silly with team selections that amaze and give the opposition a goal start.

Remember, we haven’t played anyone of note (Home or Away) yet, what does he plan to do at Arsenal, Man U etc?


carl said:

Sorry but blame for this defeat lies with the management and the obssesion with not losing away from home which conversely makes it more likely to lose!
we are playing well and winning at home, so why bloody change everything when we go away.yes be more defensive at old trafford etc.. but READING! the second we went a goal down and he put players in their correct positions we looked like winning!

watson said:

alladyce said if you are crap you drop yourself . i hope it is not long before he resigns. i am afraid the man is all mouth and no finesse. about the mouth ,can someone tell him to keep his mouth closed when he chews gum, i have no doubt his mother tried.

Alex Falk said:

Total frustration at the manager not attacking the inferior teams in the division.It's a old cliche but the best form of defence is ATTACK most definitely.
On a lighter note the current betting is:-
4/5 Princess Beatrice
9/4 Princess Eugenie
9/2 Zara Phillips
6/1 Sarah Ferguson (with a run)
13/2 Lord Nicholas Windsor
10/1 Prince Harry
25/1 Prince Andrew
33/1 Prince William
50/1 Prince Charles
66/1 Prince Edward
100/1 Camilla

Ray Wison said:

Hi Lee. I genuinly thought Sam had more football brains than what we percieved from yesterday. There is no way you can win football games if you send teams out to play the way he sent the lads out to plasy yesterday. Lets face it Reading were there for the taking and we did not even get out of first gear.This absurd notion that managers have of getting players to play in unusual roles baffeles me, Sam should know better its a mind thing with players,you will never get them to gel in such stupid formations, MO and OM were like lost chickens yesterday and it wont be long before a certain MO says I have had enough of this.GOALS WIN MATCHES and the longer you dont score the more confident and relaxed the opposition becomes. Well at times we were reminiscint of Roeders tactics yesterday and we all know how far we aspired up the league with those tactics. It is not rocket science to understand that if goals can be forthcoming then defensive pressures are eased anyway. What kind of game is Sam playing here? THE MOST INFURIATING THING ABOUT YESTERDAYS DEFEAT WAS IT SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED ALL THE FLOWING FOOTBALL WE HAVE SHOWN IN OUR LAST FEW HOME GAMES WAS NON-EXISTENT BECAUSE SAM DECIDED TO SEND OUT A TEAM OF ROBOTIC FASHION WITH PLAYERS ASKED TO PERFORM IN FARSICAL ROLES WHICH COMPLETELY NULLIFIED THEIR ABILITIES TO PERFORM. FOR GODS SAKE SAM WE HAD ENOUGH OF THAT WITH ROEDER AND SOURPUSS AND WE THOUGHT YOU WERE DIFFERENT. ON YESTERDAYS DISPLAY THAT WAS NOT EVIDENT SO GET WISE SAM AND DO NOT TREAT THE SUPPORTERS AND THE PLAYERS AS THOUGH WE HAD NO BRAINS. ROEDER AND SOURPUSS DID AND YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM.

mark said:

I'm afraid Allerdyces decision to name Geremi as his club captain may drive a wedge between him and the fans because it appears that Allerdyce is just trying to find anywhere in the team to play him,much to the detriment of the side i'm afraid.He is not better on the right wing than Milner,nor on the left than N'zogbia (potentially duff when he's fit again?)and in the middle of the park the choice seems to be between Geremi,Barton(who Allerdyce clearly rates very highly)Butt (who has been playing brilliantly this season)and Emre (another player who Allerdyce raves about)So out of all of those,Geremi is probably the LAST player to deserve a starting place and this is where the trouble lies because he's captain.Allerdyce needs to be brave and either drop Geremi or play a system which incorporates more midfielders (i.e 3-5-2 or 4-5-1)Personally i'd just drop him as his and Smiths signings are going to prove massive blunders i feel.

alex falk said:

I agree with most of the comments.I believe Geremi might be best suited by the right back position.
Betting update from a major bookmaker:
4/7 (from 13/2) Lord Nicholas Windsor
5/1 (from 66's) Prince Edward
13/2(from 10/1) Prince Harry
All women have been scrubbed from the betting.Other prices on application.

Ben said:

Given Enrique Cacapa Rozenhal Beye Nzogbia Barton Emre Duff Owen team if fit.Bench Taylor Milner Smith Viduka Harper Faye.We need to attack more for godsake please bring in king kev and gazza terry mac to.

Siomi said:

Odds for what Alex? Our next manager? We don't get too much news of royal scandals here in sunny Oman! Talking of scandals, what about Allardyce's tactics? (if that is what they can be called!). We knew it was going to be all about this long before KO (kick off, not knock out). He told us that we needed a clean sheet away from home and that is what he set out to get, hoping to call a nil nil draw with Reading an achievement. They scored three and we didn't look close to being dangerous until it was too late. His strategy was predictable and ineffective, with the players looking as mystified as the rest of us (what DO they do on the training ground?). But I have to say that they also looked slow and uncommitted. Enrique had a terrible game being dispossesed and outplayed throughout the game. Maybe training needs to be more about closing down quickly and aggressively like they did to us (but Smith can skip that lesson), as well as how to deal with teams that play like this. Odds for scoreline of the Arsenal game? We are currently playing in a different league, lets not kid ourselves.

Rigsby said:

Oh Oh how many fans are fearing the worst when they read comments by Allerdyce saying things like '4 points from every 2 games is the aim' This basically means,try to win at home and draw away and this is why we saw the terrible team selection and tactics on saturday.I can't believe the negativity of the guy.I can understand teams without our revenue and European involvement of recent years going to places and hoping for a draw but there is NO WAY THAT NEWCASTLE UNITED SHOULD BE REDUCED TO THESE TACTICS. Also,did anyone read the excuse Allerdyce gave for not starting with Smith against Reading? He said that he could not include him because the team played so well against Spurs. So what happened to Harper (who had been playing out of his skin before being dropped) and Milner and N'zogbia who also must have played well against Spurs? My faith in the manager is dwindling fast and he's also putting a lot of noses out of joint in the club.

Anonymous said:

Big Sam needs a realic check. This is Newcastle, not Bolton, change you're negative tactics and get with the program


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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