Toon suffer Christmas Ram raid

By Lee Ryder on Dec 23, 07 03:58 PM

NEWCASTLE UNITED survived a real scare at St James's Park today after leaving it late to save their blushes against doomed Derby County.

United had to come from behind twice against the Rams but even Mark Viduka's late equaliser could not stop the boos ringing out come the final whistle against the Premier League's poorest side.

The Magpies made just one change the side that won 1-0 at Fulham last week with skipper Geremi dropped to the bench and Mark Viduka promoted to the starting line-up.

And after a series of practice games Big Sam was also able to name Damien Duff on the bench who was ready to taste his first Premier League action since April when the player badly injured his foot.

It was an attacking selection from Allardyce but the rock bottom Rams stunned Gallowgate on six minutes when Kenny Miller slipped it from the edge of the box to Giles Barnes who scored with a crisp low finish to beat Shay Given.

United churned out a couple of half chances but came agonisingly close on 21 minutes when N’Zogbia’s corner found the head of Oba Martins yet the Nigerian’s effort hit Barnes on the line and Derby cleared the danger.

Yet Derby’s goal was living a charmed life and keeper Stephen Bywater had to be at his best to keep out Habib Beye’s right footed effort three minutes later.

Seconds later Viduka was upended by Darren Moore right on the edge of the penalty area but N’Zogbia’s curler went just over the top of the bar.

And United finally broke through on 26 minutes.

A probing run from N’Zogbia saw the Frenchman pick out Alan Smith who held it up in the Dee before Viduka took a touch and thumped it home from 18 yards.

The French Under-21 star was certainly on song too and a teasing cross on 33 minutes resulted in Beye nodding one the wrong side of the post as Newcastle piled on the pressure.

And they would be chances Newcastle would regret as seven minutes into the second period Derby regained their lead.

A long ball over the top was played to the feet of Miller via a knockdown from Steve Howard before the ex-Celtic and Wolves man cut inside Rozehnal and slotted it past Given to make it 2-1.

Four minutes later and Allardyce replaced the Czech defender with Steven Taylor.

Derby though almost extended their lead with 62 minutes gone as Miller fed Howard and the ex-Hartlepool striker fired over the top.

With a quarter of the game left there was warm applause for comeback star Duff when he replaced Nicky Butt to take up a place on the left hand side of a four man attack.

Big Sam made his last throw of the dice with 15 minutes to go when Emre came on for Barton as Newcastle went for broke.

One minute later though it was his fellow sub Duff who stung the hands of Bywater with swerving cross cum shot that needed to be turned away from goal.

Derby were more than happy to play out time much to the frustration of everybody in black and white as Newcastle headed for the lowest point of the season against the relegation haunted Rams.

But with four minutes left Newcastle were level after Given swept one long up the field for Martins before Viduka cracked home the equaliser to make it 2-2.

UNITED: Given, Beye, Rozehnal (Taylor 59), Cacapa, N’Zogbia, Barton (Emre 75), Butt (Duff 67), Martins, Viduka, Smith, Milner.

Subs: Harper, Geremi.

DERBY: Bywater, McEveley, Leacock, Howard, Miller, Teale (Feilhaber 81), Lewis (Fagan 78), Moore, Mears, Pearson, Barnes.

Subs: Price, Earnshaw, Holmes.

Ref: Andre Marriner (Birmingham)

Crowd: 51, 386


iain said:

ive just popped into town and bought sam his xmas presents. its the latest fun game... the square pegs in round holes challenge, see how many square pegs you can squeeze into your 11 round holes in 90 minutes. i also bought him a shovel to help him with that hole hes been digging himself.

i couldnt get him the my first big book of football tactics as they stopped stocking it in newcastle due to a lack of demand.

Anonymous said:

Newcastle is getting very boring. Milner runs up and down the field while Shay Given lets in goals.

Paul Patterson said:

Right- Lets hoy the statistics in the green alcohol bin that this week, we will all put out for the bin men, because lets face it, if it’s anything like mine, it will be full, but full of empty, wasted, and hollow contents, and that’s exactly how to sum up the Newcastle side against Derby.

A side that is filled with players, the calibre of Viduka, Martins, Milner, N’Zogbia, Barton, Emre, Butt etc compared with the contents of my green bottle bin, Chardonnay, Merlot, Shiraz, Sauvignon, Chenin blanc and Pinot Noir, the Newcastle United playing staff can’t seem to raise their style to the zip or full bodied flavour of the liquid, alcoholic counterparts.

Much like Allardyce has stated "The conversion of chances rate today - again like against Birmingham - is way down compared to what we are creating’ well this is all well and good as a soundbite, but if you watched the game, you will have seen mismatched players, stuck across the pitch in a formation that no-body seems to have a clue what it is or what the hell it’s supposed to be doing.

With rational explanation, this match was highly expected, yet still annoying all the same, the faults many, the positives, short and still unfulfilling, but overall, the whole structure of tactics are completely back side forward and with no purpose as to winning the game from the ordinary fans point of view.

The end result, is simple, Players out of Position Part XII, with yet another dose of pointless long ball umpf, and no actual football on display, other than the opposition in parts passing the ball through us to the point of home supporter distraction and annoyance and the only surprise, the fact that at 2-1 in Derbys favour, the home side actual produced a moment that gained no respect from me or countless Newcastle fans who are growing increasingly impatient with this increasingly limited regime.



Peter Harper said:

What's to be said that already hasn't been said?
Taking into consideration the fact Derby are a poor team and will be in the Championship next season we were lucky to escape. Sam Allardyce said we had plenty of chances.Absolutely true but against the worst team in the division and for ten minutes in the second half Derby dominated us.This was truly woeful as was Barton,Rozenhal.Not for the first time do we have to be thankful for Milner and N'zogbia (once more not being properly utilised in his best position).
I walked into one of Mike Ashley's shops yesterday and once inside it was obvious to who it belonged.I walked into St James' Park but it wasn't obvious Newcastle were playing.
Big Sam has had eighteen games plus cups and Newcastle are a total shambles.
Don't tell me about our points total as we were so lucky to get a lot of them.
Ashley is either blind or broke (he can't or doesn't want to give Sam a pay off)
Freddie Shepherd sure can pick 'em

Kirk Floyd said:

I was disgusted at allardyce's tactics once agian. emre is our most creative player and he is on the bench. we need him and joey barton in the midfield as they both can score goals. i am tired of martins as well as he never seems to hit the target. i would like to see smith and viduka upfront. come on allardyce sort it out and bring enrique back in.. good to see duff back as well.

ned harris said:

i cannot agree more with the analysis shown here.. its about time alladyce was remaned as "alot of sh*&e". Yes I am interested in returning to the keegan era.. atleast he won games.. unlike "alot of sh*&e".
please please please get rid of him and let us pass and move not hit n hope football..

mag in boro said:

same **** different weekend
same players out of position
same rozenhal looking like he could be getting a pistone-esque heart as xmas gift
and again risking the wrath another ineffective game from smith and i couldnt care less how much he runs about like a headless chicken-chases down defenders commits needless fouls whines at ref and doesnt score...its kevin davies in disguise sorry davies got 2 goals this season)
but there were few positives today other than not having the humilation of giving 6 points to relegation certainties..2 good finishes from viduka and duff looked bright so hopefully we can look forward to duff down left and milner down right in coming weeks...probably more chance of seeing duff right back with nzogbia taking up his new role as centre half

well ill take this chance to wish all the long suffering contributers to this forum and lee a very merry christmas hope you all have a cracking one

Charles said:

A horrible game indeed!
I almost though we'd lost and it might as well be...we can defeat many teams except for Derby county, a horribly defeated side by almost any team, except for newcastle...

Our passing is low and easily cracked and our boys aren't tacking anymore. Their passing passes us like a drop of water through the sink! When are we going to see some decent passing and plays? Never it would seem if this continues...

Emre to play every game for me. I think his play making is great for once in the game. All credit to Viduka for sparing us the humidilation.

I have friends, not just friends, friends who really push a pie in your face when they see your supported team lose...or draw with the most useless side i seen in years...The cream to the joke is they are MU fans who i never seem to get enjoyment by taunting them as well...Please Newcastle, play a decent pass and shot. Martins need some experience in shotting especially one on ones...

Good points of this game: We didnt lose, Mark showing his experience in scoring at last, a couple of decent half-chances, the Derby goal keeper is either extremly lucky or we are unlucky

Bad points: Martins cannot score, passing like shit, not tackling alot like we used to, no confidence, players afraid of getting yellows, Derby players enjoying themselves chanting 'can we play you every week?', no creativity in mid-field, milner not playing right for most of the time, shay is out of form (Bring back harper), Smith not fond of scoring, and I have to endure yet another day of misery at home watching newcastle drew a game they were suppose to win and misery at school enduring the tauntings from hell by the red devil's fans

James 09 said:

NO NO NO NO Lee et al!!!!! Despite getting our late second we DIDN'T save our blushes. Far, far from it.

We drew at home to an awful side doomed for relegation who now twice have looked decent against us. Four of their seven points have come from Newcastle United - how utterly embarrassing is that. If this latest debacle doesn't kick the alarm bells into a festive frenzy, I don't know what will.

I know this is Newcastle United where the unbelievable is so painfully believable over and over again.... but ....playing (on an absolutely persistent basis) Zog at left-back, Milner on the left, Smith in midfield, and Martins on the right is just FARCICAL!!!!!!!!

Allardyce and his staff bear overwhelming responsibility for this season. Simply put, he is butchering a potentially very useful and exciting squad with his farcical antics.

Oh sorry Lee is that me asserting I know everything about football?? I don't blimmin' think so. We play our best stuff as soon as we have players in their respective positions - is that really that difficult to pick up on. For Allardyce and co it certainly is. Or is this just me and those other evil, whining, gluttonous Geordies who demand "instant success"??? Again, and ever so politely, I don't blimmin' think so.

As I always say, matches like Sunday ARE NOT an aberration!!! Our season has been stale, repetitive garbage - anyone, with 3-5 brain cells, who has watched and kept up with it in detail knows that.

Allardyce must tread very carefully indeed - if he continues with this nonsense (and he will!!!), he's going to lose some of our most exciting and potentially very good players - Zog and Martins literally spring to mind.

So far....thanks Freddie for your very early, and last, X-Mas present to us - can we get a refund or is there an exchange card?


Oh and PS - LEE RYDER you really don't want to address the Enrique issue (and Allardyce's other positional errr... issues) do you????

Anonymous said:

Well stop visiting the games.Then Mike (buck minded) Ashley will think about
Newcastle because if the ticket money keeps coming its just working business for him and he wont worry

Newcaste fan said:

I think the main problem we have is the same fundamental problem- conceding too many goals. IF we dont concede on the derby match, we would have won the game 2-0. Big 4 hardly concede 2 goals at home in the same game.
We need to sort out the defence or bring in new defender asap otherwise we are getting nowhere.

indian toon said:

Big SAM has lost it completely...

victor said:

Shocking performance again! Smith is waste of time and money! Get Boys on they right positions! This is simplest sings we able to do to improve!
With Zog, Duff, Emre, Milner, Beye and Harper we able to fight for Premiership!
We realy need right attaking midfielder. Does not matter how much he will cost. Good luck.
Vic. Toowoomba. Australia


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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