Newcastle were beaten by Reading 2-1 at the Madejski stadium this afternoon and the home side thoroughly deserved their win and it could, and probably should have been by a bigger margin. This was because Reading missed multiple chances, and certainly not because Newcastle defended well. They didn’t.
In fact the Newcastle defending was abysmal again – just when we thought our defense was improving they remind us again they are still hopeless – it really was that bad. And we are not going to pull any punches on this performance.
Reading created enough chances in the first half to have been comfortably ahead but the break came with the teams level at 0-0. However, after just 8 minutes into the second half Reading finally went ahead when Kitson hit a beautiful left foot shot high over Given into his left hand corner, giving the Irishman no chance.
Allardyce then tried to change the game and brought on Smith for Martins and Nâ€™Zogbia for Butt after 58 minutes, and Newcastle started to come back into the game. Milner was brought on for Faye, who had been given a yellow card and then James did really well on the right hand corner to win a free kick after 74 minutes.
Emre took the resulting free kick and curved the ball beautifully into the goal. Michael Duberry then amazingly chested the ball into his own net. After being outplayed for most of the game Newcastle found themselves all square with just 15 minutes to go. This in itself was amazing.
Newcastle had somehow put themselves into a position to even steal all 3 points and at least get a draw – which they hadn’t deserved. But then some absolutely disgraceful defending gave a goal away. Reading brought on Shane Long with just 8 minutes to go and within 30 seconds of being on he had put Reading ahead.
A high ball was played into the Newcastle penalty area and amazingly it wasnâ€™t cleared with several Newcastle players attempting to play the ball. Shane Long, with his first kick of the game, put the ball past Given. It was a terrible goal to give away and can be used in the future as a perfect demonstration of how not to play a high ball into the box. It was that bad.
Manager Sam Allardyce has to be furious with the defending by his team today, because it cost Newcastle the game. With a bit of luck, which away teams often get when the home teams squirms so many chances, Newcastle could have stolen all 3 points. They didn’t deserve any but they were 1-1 with 6 minutes to play and had no reason to be even level.
But this display was as bad as the Derby and Manchester City defeats, and puts the Newcastle defense back into the limelight – and it’s back to the drawing board. Sam will have to change the defense around and David Rozehnal has to be fancied to force his way back into the team for the next game against Portsmouth at St. Jamesâ€™ Park next Saturday. A win then now becomes even more important with our away form being so terrible.
This display has to be disappointing to all those involved with the Newcastle club, since Reading were the better team from the off and outplayed and even out-fought Newcastle. It looked more on the day that Reading were the Sam Allardyce team on the field. Reading of course deserve great credit but Newcastle did nothing to thwart them.
Lack of communication at the back is costing Newcastle too many goals and too many points and it has to be stopped and stopped quickly. With points like these thrown away our defense just has to come together more if Sam is going to take Newcastle into Europe next year. A TV shot of Sam Allardyce just before the end told it all – as Sam had his hands in his head – and even looked like he could do with a good cry.
Everything Sam has said this week about defending better and not letting our guard down seems to have gone completely unheeded by the defense, who have cost Newcastle goals and points again in this away fixture. This is not good.
On looking at the other results today and trying to find something positive to cheer us up, we’ll just mention that Manchester City were hammered 6-0 at Chelsea. They may have worse problems in defense than even Newcastle. There – we feel better about things now.
There is one good thing to finally end on though – it cannot get much worse than this- before it just has to get better.
Reading (4-4-2): Hahnemann; Murty (c), Shorey, Duberry, Sonko; Gunnarsson, Harper, Doyle, Hunt; Kitsonm Lita
Subs: Federici, Ingimarsson, Rosenior, Convey, Long
Newcastle (4-4-2): Given, Beye, Enrique, Cacapa, Faye; Barton, Butt, Geremi (c) Emre; Martins, Owen
Subs: Harper, Rozehnal, Milner, N’Zogbia, Smith
Ref: P Dowd