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A tale of two strikers in the Battle of Britannia as Carroll shines again

By Lee Ryder on Apr 13, 09 09:32 AM

There was a positive vibe in the air on the way out of the Britannia Stadium but it could still have been so different had it not been for the hunger and desire of Geordie boy Andy Carroll.

The big striker answered our prayers when he leapt off the bench then climbed higher than anybody else to power home a big, big goal that could yet spark a great escape for Newcastle United.

Carroll was clearly up for it and is determined to succeed where plenty of others have failed at St James's Park.

And his approach to the game was a stark contrast to that of Obafemi Martins who left boss Alan Shearer mystified after complaining of a groin injury at 11am ahead of the game.

That meant a re-jig in tactics and while Shola Ameobi, in my opinion, didn't pull up any trees at Stoke, Gateshead lad Andy Carroll more than made up for it.

With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps Carroll should have been introduced earlier.

But on the other hand, Stoke had worked their way into a comfort zone and with 20 minutes left probably thought the game was petering out into their favour.

Well, Newcastle certainly gave them plenty of reasons to feel that way.

Yet Carroll's appearance turned the game upside down from their point of view.

His third goal in a black and white shirt after endless reserve strikes also showed there is much more to come from the big lad.

Watching reserve team football can be a difficult game at times and no matter how well people play in the second string, there is always that nagging doubt at the back of your mind 'can they cut the cloth at first team level?', in Carroll's case it's beginning to look like he can.

Those who don't go to the reserve games are yet to see him unleash his left peg.

A left peg that Iain Dowie described to me the other day as a "rocket launcher", and he's right.

Certainly in reserve games Carroll showed his potential from the word go.

The physical striker gave ex-Everton man and Scotland international David Weir a torrid time at the start of his stint with the big boys a couple of years ago and Weir left Kingston Park asking "who the hell was that?", Carroll made an impact.

Looking back he was more nervous as a teenager doing an interview in the Chronicle down a drafty tunnel at KP but the scary but heart warming thing for Toon fans is, Carroll is still growing.

He still has the potential to go on and be a real star.

We've had plenty of false dawns when it comes to local talent coming through, especially strikers, Brayson, Robinson and Chopra to name a few.

But Carroll has plenty more to unleash from his locker.

And with Alan Shearer in charge, could there be a better man to nurture him through a crucial stage of his development?

26 Comments

Tad Caster said:

Got to look at our midfield who, for most of the game, failed to offer credible support to either strikers or defenders - as usual. I was glad Colo was dropped beause he's been abysmal lately and his constantly televised mistakes have been an embarrassment, but there are several others who have been equally poor in their respective positions and some of them were on the field on Saturday.

No decent cover for full backs; no creative midfielders playing in the centre. Where have we heard this before and why wasn't something done about it.

While I'm at it, does no-one ever complain about the time it takes for Stoke to throw the ball in? It didn't take Ryan Taylor (who had another poor game overall, but at least this time he didn't drop us in it - thanks, Shola) anyhwere near that time.

gordon said:

so you have'nt even mentioned the coward and disgrace called ameobi,wake up ryder.

AndyT said:

I sure hope that Shearer realized that Andy is somebody that you can consistently rely on in a game. I don't care how well Shola trains, he is dreadful every single time I've ever seen him on the pitch.
I can't wait to see that left peg!

Lee Ryder Author Profile Pagesaid:

That's mentioned in the match report and in the Chronicle tonight.

Ian Mack said:

Lee, dimplomatic comments regarding Ameobi. Can't blame you but I think everyone knows what a coward and poor footballer he is. I used to think his limit was the chamionship but now............the conference; if any team is daft enough to take him on.

Dave Robson said:

I HATE SLAGGING PLAYERS OOFF OF MY TEAM, BUT SHOLA HAS TO HAVE A HARD LOOK IN THE MIRROR AT HIMSELF, SATURDAY WAS ABSOLUTELY NOT ACCEPTABLE, HE WAS A DISGRACE TO NEWCASTLE UNITED, THERE WAS NO PASSION, PRIDE, FIGHT.
I DO NOT SEE HOW HE CAN HAVE A FUTURE HERE AT NEWCASTLE UNITED EVEN IF WERE IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP, I READ THAT HULL WERE PREPARING TO OFFER 2 MILLION FOR HIM, WE HAVE TO SNATCH THEIR HAND OFF.
HE (AS SHOULD ALL THE PLAYERS) SHOULD LOOK AT ANDY CARROLL'S PEFORMANCE WHEN HE ENTERED THE FIELD, PASSION FIGHT, MOUNTAINS OF PRIDE, THE LAD WILL BE BUSTING A GUT FOR THE SPURS GAME, HE WAS ONLY ON FOR A SHORT TIME, BUT FOR ME HE WAS MAN OF THE MATCH DUE TO THE CLASS HE SHOWED WHILE ON THE PITCH, WHICH BOTH SETS OF PLAYERS FAILED TO SHOW.

David Kelly said:

It's fair enough to criticise shola for not being that great - he's not, never has been and why we offered him a new contract earlier in the season still baffles me - but the vitriol (that means bitter hatred) is ludicrous. People who right this and appear on sky sports news singing songs out of tune are the reason that we as a fanbase are now ridiculed by the rest of the country.
I was at the game on Saturday and although Shola was clearly not up to premier lg standard he at least tackled and won the ball back on more than a few occasions - mainly because he had miscontrolled it in the first place, but still.

Al Jardine said:

You're right about Shola, but were Butt and Nolan any better? Nolan looks like he's carrying weight and he has a complete lack of guile. Passion's no good if you've got no skill to back it up. Butt's past it. Simple as that. Too many bad passes that put others in trouble or lose us possession; too slow. Ryan Taylor's not much better. But then he wasn't even a regular first team player at his old club. Another great buy.

Al Jardine said:

Oh, while I'm here: well done Beye, Bassong, Carroll and Edgar and whatever Guttierez's many faults, at least he put Stoke under some pressure, as did Duff in the second half when he decided to stop going backwards.

Brian Whitfield said:

Can you imagine it?? As a player you played through injury on a daily basis. Even putting off surgery to help your team out. Then as a manager some sissy complains he can't play because of a 'sudden and mysterious' groin injury?? Wow! Martins has got some cheek.
As for Carrol?........Kudos......Well done son. That may just be the point that saves them. Now......listen to the gaffer and learn, If you do that It will be good for you, good for the Toon and good for England.

Bill Anderson said:

Joey Barton??! One thing we need to learn from all this is stop buying players that are liabilities whether because of their infantile and aggressive(that's 'passionate' to the no necks) behaviour, or because their best years are well behind them or because they're injury prone and are likely to miss more games than they play.

Michael Nee said:

That for the first 70 minutes was the worst performance I've seen by Newcastle, it was spineless, gutless and embarassing.

Well done to Andy Carroll, he's shown in the last few months that he's currently our best striker.

Shola is a joke and he's just got a 3 year contract which show's what a joke of a club we are.

Owen is finished 1 goal in 13 appearance's, and don't complain about service as andy carroll has scored 3 times in his last 8 games with the same service.

Hopefully we'll be able to revert to 4 at the back, as duff and ryan taylor are joke of wing back's and footballer's in general.

Spurs is a much more winnable game for us than stoke, so hopefully shearer can learn from his tactical and starting line-up mistakes (i.e. Shola) to give us a creditable chance of winning of 7th straight win v the Spuds.

John said:

i don't think there is a hatred towards shola, just he could be so much better, if he put effort into it, and showed some passion, god know's we need it, i'm more annoyed with martins, for his attitude and disrespect towards shearer and the club, i would love to hear how he injured his groin, during the night, maybe the bed, had a dodgy spring sticking out.

I posted we needed to win, and i still think, we did to survive, unless we pick up some points from the three away games, and that is to say we win all three home games, Fulham showed on sunday, they are not going to be a push over.

What i seen from the stoke game, gave me no confidence, again duff, coming inside, not taking anyone on, surely Guttierez would be a better bet, at least he goes at players, and trys to make something happen.

There was no spark, no creativity from the midfield, think its clear to see, the team is not good enough to survive, big game for us is sunderland v hull, we need maybe a draw there, if one of them wins, we will be in deeper trouble.

so lets see now, Tottenham, we need something, a point, 9 points at home, that will see us reach 40 points, with liverpool away a certain loss, it may hinge on villa away, i agree with that fact that sunderland and hull are dropping quick, and it maybe this, that keeps us afloat

ronnie lambert said:

Shola didn't pull up any trees Lee??? he couldn't pull up weeds. He's slow, unreliable on the ball and scared of rough stuff. His fifteen minutes of fame were the brace of headers he got against the mackems, that's it, he's got to go. The mackem boss at Hull see's him as one of their players eh? enough said. Something stinks about the Martins fiasco, how on earth can a young highly fit athlete damage his groin in bed, unless he wasn't alone? International 'banker's' maybe, but not match-fit footballers. He might have been tapped by Arsenal or some other big club but it stinks all the same. I'd unload him this summer anyway cos his return has been cr@p this season. I can definitely see four of our youngin's coming through under big Al next season in Edgar, Carroll, Ranger and my tip for the top Kazenga Lua Lua as a creative midfielder. Incidentally, I tip Shearer to be our manager for many years, as if we go down, who better to keep the fans coming next season, bounce back and re-build for the future? If we stay up, the fans won't let him leave, neither will Ashley, unless they've got Gus Hiddink lined up.

Stephen said:

Regardless of whether we stay up or go down, one thing is certain - the recent comments by Shearer re: fitness, punctuality etc. ensures that Joe Kinnear will not be returning to St. James's...

Bill Anderson said:

Barton has legs? Barton WAS a good player in a poor Man City team and has played SOME good games for the Toon, but he's slow and is caught on the ball too often and when he loses his rag or gets frustrated, he fouls. If you want to see us reduced to ten men or give away free kicks, so be it. IF he's fit and off the booze and IF he stems his immature and aggressive responses, we may possibly have someone worth keeping. Yeah, KK stood by him and I admire his loyalty; not evertything KK did was wonderful, however. He sold Faye and God knows we could do with him now to play alongside Bassong.

Stewart Douglass said:

Do you accept comments from fans living abroad? I have trien numerous times and I get told my submission was not right.

Bill Anderson said:

I think you're wring about Barton. Dead wrong, but I'd have KK back in a flash. I agree with you about Carroll 100%.

londontoon said:

we couldn't win the ball (1st or 2nd) or keep hold of it.. the tactics weren't great but when jonas and carrol came on we looked a dif team. we looked balanced and gave stoke more to worry about instead of just duff. we need to start with AC and Jonas at spurs and MO playing the deeper role that KK employed. OM sub at best. AC has took the bull by the horns and should be an example to the rest of them including MO. We've relied on our "experienced" players all season and they've contributed to our terrible position. lets inject the side with some youth and fight.. AC all the way for me! I would like to see a team without any other changes unless we need subs in the second half. Ryan Taylor is a bit out of his depth at the mo. hes a right back and thats it! in fact hes cover for the right back position only. not sure if he had delivered one decent ball from a corner or free kick? his long throw was canny i'll give him that.

lambic peach said:

well, lucky that lent has finished because i needed beers and porn after watching the garbage that my beloved mags served up for eighty minutes last saturday.
Carrolls goal was great, but as for the rest, i was making excuses for every one of them. Please get someone else to take the free kicks other than Ryan Taylor. In that match and against Chelsea he seems not capable of getting the ball of the ground? Is he some brazilian genius at training because in matches, his set piece delivery is an embarrassment. Apart from that, the only positive I can find with him is that at least he works hard.
Anyway ... H'way the lads from Australia

Glenn said:

Shola has had one good game this season vs Man City where he battled for everything and walked off to a great applause...since then he's been dreadful, Carroll should have started with Owen, and i hope thats the case come Sunday vs Spurs, He's making correct decisions regarding Oba who for me does very little up front, and dropping collocini. Roll on Spurs where hopefully we will get at least a draw.

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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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