Newcastle were held to a 2-2 draw with Middlesbrough at the Riverside while they will be asking why and how they didn’t win this game.
Newcastle went ahead twice with excellent goals from the very impressive N’Zogbia and then Viduka but couldn’t hold onto their lead.
Charles N’Zogbia - wonderful performance from Frenchman as he scores goal and makes another
After 77 minutes Viduka put Newcastle ahead with a well volleyed shot after he had beaten Jonathan Woodgate with great skill. You would have thought that this new Newcastle defense could hold on for a win with just 13 minutes to go. Just 3 minutes later Julian Arca was left loose on the edge of the area following a corner and he fired home well to Harpers left giving the goalkeeper no chance.
It was a better performance than last week from a tough Newcastle side but still a disappointing result. Good points for Newcastle were Charles N’Zogbia’s performance and when Claudio Cacapa came on in the second half he looked very very solid. Surely it’s time for Sam to have Cacapa’s experience in the defense.
But fans will not be happy with this result and it looks like it will take a bit of time – as Sam has said so often – for the big man to work his magic at Newcastle. We’re going to have to be a bit more patient (but it’s hard).
Full match report follows.
Surprising team news for Newcastle saw an unchanged side be named by Big Sam despite many players playing internationals in mid-week.
Middlesbrough also had a surprise when Jonathan Woodgate was names in the team after his knee surgery in the summer.
Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Schwarzer, Young, Woodgate, Wheater, Taylor, Boateng, Rochemback, Arca, Downing, Mido, Aliadiere. Subs: Jones, Sanli, Lee, Cattermole, Hines.
Newcastle (4-3-3): Harper, Carr, Taylor, Rozehnal, N’Zogbia, Butt, Geremi, Smith, Milner, Martins, Viduka. Subs: Given, Cacapa, Owen, Ameobi, Ramage.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
It seemed that in the Directors box was Mike Ashley sitting on Chris Mort’s right with Sam on Mort’s left but the commentators didn’t mention this. Mike was wearing a Newcastle Team Shirt.
The game got under way and within 2 minutes Steven Carr was calling the touchline to be replaced. He had a hamstring pull when he had challenged for a head ball and was replaced on 4 minutes with Peter Ramage.
In the first few minutes James Milner is looking lively down the left. After 10 minutes the play was scrappy with both teams struggling to control the midfield â€“ but then after 22 minutes Newcastle went ahead with just a superb goal. Charles N’Zogbia had the ball on the left wing and cut inside across the penalty area with 3 Middlesbrough players in attendance.
Charles then hit a wonderful curling right foot shot inside Schwarzer’s left hand post. It was a terrific goal and Mort and Ashley were seen hugging each other in the director’s box and Sam seemingly very pleased. Charles is having a fantastic start to the season and it’s hard to see how he can be dropped when playing this well. After 27 minutes Taylor makes a good clearance when Rochemback was through on goal.
After 28 minutes Mido scored for Middlesbrough and it was not a good goal for Newcastle to concede. A cross from the right came in and Mido beat Taylor to chest the ball down and then take it forward and around Harper before placing it in the net. Mido then demonstrated in front of the Newcastle fans and rightly received a yellow card for his antics.
Then after 35 minutes with Middlesbrough pressure mounting Harper made a wonderful save to his left as he flipped the ball around his left hand post â€“ a truly great save at a very important time as Middlesbrough were dominating. After 43 minutes a good ball was played inside Peter Ramage who recovered well to block the ball for a corner. Ramage was having a steady game at right back.
Half time came and the game was very even with Middlesbrough playing surprisingly well. It will take a big effort from the Newcastle side to secure a win with Middlesbrough probably just shading the first half.
After 54 minutes Downing again cut inside Peter Ramage but Rozehnal did well to cut out the resulting cross. Then after 57 minutes a second injury causes Peter Ramage to exit the game. Peter went down under pressure and it was obvious there could be a serious injury to Peter’s right knee as he writhed in agony on the filed. Cacapa was introduced for the second week running and joined Rozehnal in central defense as Steven Taylor moved to right back. This was the back four many had though Allardyce might start with today.
On 61 minutes a cross from the excellent N’Zogbia comes in and Viduka just fails to get a touch. After 62 minutes Newcastle win their first corner and Butt challenges on the cross and it’s another corner. From the resulting corner Milner brings the ball down well but shoots weakly straight at Schwarzer.
Downing gets the ball on the left and heads straight for goal as Newcastle are caught short at the back but Cacapa makes a superb text book tackle and comes away with the ball â€“ a beautiful piece of defending from the Brazilian who looks a solid player. On 72 minutes Owen comes on for Oba Martins, who doesn’t look too happy to be coming off, and Martins heads straight down the tunnel to the dressing room.
Then after 77 minutes Newcastle went ahead with an excellent goal from Viduka. A ball comes in from â€“ yes you guessed it â€“ Charles N’Zogbia and Viduka under pressure from Woodgate, controls the ball beautifully on his knee, and whips in an unstoppable shot from 8 yards. A first goal for Mark at Newcastle and a very good one.
With Newcastle in front and little time to go it’s looking like Newcastle may be able to get the win but after 3 minutes Middlesbrough equalize and Newcastle cannot be happy with their defending.
From a corner the ball bounced loose to Arca who rifles in form 27 yards giving Harper no chance. Why Arca was left alone on the edge of the area from the corner will be a question Big Sam will be asking. It’s loose defensive play and Newcastle pay the penalty. Newcastle cannot be happy with this – as it’s exactly what Newcastle sides of old would have done â€“ been unable to hold onto a lead and wilted under pressure.
On 83 minutes Charles N’Zogbia â€“ who is Newcastle’s best player again comes through and lofts a ball into Owen who is standing about 5 yards from goal with his back to the ball. The slightest touch from Owen would have resulted in a goal but the ball goes through to Schwarzer. Both teams continue to go for the win and it’s still anybody’s game.
After 5 minutes of injury time the referee blows his whistle and it’s all square. It’s probably a fair result but Newcastle have to think they could and should have won this game.
Newcastle conceded 6 minutes after going ahead in the first half and now 3 minutes after going ahead again and Big Sam cannot be happy with the defending. We just have to improve and be harder to score against. That’s the big disappointment today.