This was a game we had to win and we did in the end, but we sure do make it hard for ourselves sometimes.
Newcastle could have easily lost points in this game. After being so much the better team in the first half we found ourselves level after 52 minutes and Everton were even threatening to gain the ascendancy. Credit to the lads for hanging in there and finally getting the win.
Here are some final reflections on the game in no particular order.
Hero Emre - what a substitute performance from the little Turk
- If you think of our wins against West Ham and Wigan – we cemented both those victories near the end. Less so for West Ham but we played the Londoners off the park the last 20 minutes. This augers really well for the future.
We did the same in this game with 2 goals in the last 4 minutes. The spirit of the players is just first class and they just never gave up and therefore when things looked really gloomy, like after 65 minutes or so, they came back strong.
- Credit has to go to the great Newcastle fans who you could hear roaring the side on, when Newcastle were struggling after about an hour. You could also see the players trying to up their game. If ever a crowd had an effect on the result of a game it was yesterday â€“ well done the fans who were there â€“ you were just great and made us all proud
- We looked a lot more professional and organized in the first half, and if you forget the second half, it looked at half time like we would win it fairly easy 2-0 or something â€“ but easily have a clean sheet. The fact that we didnâ€™t put away our chances almost came back to bite us however in the second half. Everton, to their credit, came roaring back. Well done Nicky Butt for a great goal and Oba did miss a few chances, but heâ€™s young and needs to learn how to put those away â€“ talking to Michael cannot hurt.
- We still lack creativity, but credit to our two wonder subs Owen and Emre. Emre in particular turned this game brilliantly in Newcastle’s direction and proved he can be a valuable player for the team â€“ we also love his attitude and what a goal!
- Michael Owen has probably not been given a fair crack of the whip at Newcastle. I say that because heâ€™s been injured so much and plays for England a lot. BUT, what is becoming very clear is that heâ€™s dedicated to Newcastle. Michael paid a huge compliment to the Newcastle supporters after the game while being interviewed on TV by saying â€“ anything is possible in a game with this crowd.
He gets all sorts of publicity because he is a world-class player who England rely on heavily. Maybe we need to understand that a little more and give Michael some slack. It looks to us like heâ€™s coming back to real fitness and form and his injury rehabilitation this week has been remarkably positive. Owen has to be given credit for the way he has worked himself back to fitness these last 7 days – he’s a tough cookie. Roll on Tottenham. Wonder how many Michael would have scored in first half if he had started.
- The defense contains some great players who are not particularly playing well as a defensive unit yet. Take the back four â€“ Given has never played with Cacapa and Faye before yesterday and only once with Enrique in the reserves. So is it really surprising there was miscommunication between them? Thatâ€™s why Sam probably needs to organize more games behind the scenes to give them more playing time together. The fact that we had so many new players in and still got all 3 points is great, because we will only get better.
- Good to see Enrique get a good game and he looks a solid performer and a good player. We’ll trust Sam knows what’s best to bring him along, but he’s a big strong lad and seems really well suited to the Premiership. Good player who could become a great player, and certainly one for the future.
- Faye was a surprise choice at center-back in place of Roz but what a game he had. Cacapa and Faye looked just great together at the heart of the defense. Roz and Taylor were on the bench, and it looks to us like Sam still wants to bring in Brazilian Edmilson is early January from Barcelona. Is Sam collecting center backs?
- Milner and Nâ€™Zogbia were not as effective as weâ€™d thought theyâ€™d be â€“ and why on earth did they switch wings? We think the pair will threaten any defense but why play Charles on the right wing and Milner on the left? Am I missing something?
- No clean sheet again which is understandably worrying to manager Allardyce. The first goal was a bad one to give away and let Everton right back into the game â€“ shades of last week. Weâ€™ll put the second one down to a fluke but it took the shine off the win. 3-1 sounds a lot better than 3-2.
- Finally, the lads went through a lot of adversity yesterday, some of it their own doing. But they persevered and came through it all with a good win. And it was truly a team win with our two subs helping out wonderfully. That’s the beauty of having a closely knit squad.
Comments always welcome – please keep them civil to each other and decent – many thanks.