Newcastle Dodge a Bullet in Derby Game

Newcastle dodged a bullet yesterday and came out of the Tyne-Wear derby game with a creditable 1-1 draw.

But Sunderland had to score before Newcastle woke up and raised their game, and that was the disappointment with Newcastle’s performance yesterday.

But after the last two defeats, yesterday’s game had some good points for Newcastle and to get a draw out of the game, when they were second best for long periods, is a credit to the side.


Abdoulaye Faye – played great game at the back for Newcastle yesterday

We thought Abdoulaye Faye had an outstanding game, especially in the first half and Steven Taylor is again showing the guts and determination that will one day make him into a great center-half at Newcastle.

Sunderland drew first blood when the defense was caught short by Sunderland after 52 minutes. The home side took a short corner quickly, and the following cross was well headed home by Danny Higginbotham, with the Newcastle defense still trying to sort themselves out. It was Danny’s first ever goal for Sunderland, what a time to score that one.

Newcastle responded well to the goal, and increased the pace of their game, because a defeat yesterday would have been just terrible (and that’s an understatement) and no doubt would have brought a press storm against Big Sam, because it would have meant 3 defeats in a row.

But Newcastle picked up their game, and then young James Milner out on the left leveled after 65 minutes. His hard-hit cross went in off the far post. Exactly where Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon was during this is a big question, and it was a bad goal for Sunderland to concede, when they were one up with just 25 minutes to go.

Then after 82 minutes Sunderland almost snatched the winner, when Newcastle-born Michael Chopra headed against the under-side of the cross bar, and Steven Taylor somehow cleared the danger. The ball rebounded off the cross bar down onto the line and it could so easily have been nudged in.

After Newcastle’s equalizer it was anybody’s game, and it was a very exciting last 25 minutes for both sets of fans. Either side could have won it, but on the overall balance of play we have to say Sunderland were the better side on the day. Newcastle fans will be pleased with the point. After all, it was an away point, and the team played so much better than in the horror show against Portsmouth last week.

After the game both managers had good comments to make that we think reflected well on the game.

Sunderland boss Roy Keane said:

“We didn’t have that bit of luck today and we can talk all day about being unlucky but we keep getting these lessons in the Premier League and you have to take your chances.

“We had chances to win the game and these things come back to haunt you.” ” But if we keep performing like that, we’ll be okay.

“In terms of work-rate and performance we were different class.” ” We worked extremely hard and I thought our performance was outstanding.”

Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce seemed fairly pleased with the result:

“The response after we conceded was very pleasing but I wanted to see that kind of performance before we went a goal down.

“When we scored I thought we might have gone on to win the match.”

“Sunderland out-muscled us and we could not get our passing game going. But a draw was a fair result and we are happy with a point away from home.”

Overall, it was an excellent derby game and a very good game to watch. For Newcastle fans we have to hope that this result will propel us further, although our next game at home to Liverpool will be a huge test. For Sunderland it was a good point, but this is not the first game they might have come away with all 3 points and didn’t. A couple of top players in January should make a big difference and we hope they will say up this season. We think they will.

Comments welcome.

32 comments so far

  • indian toon

    Nov 11, 2007 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #1

    WE PLAY LIKE BOLTON.. cmon sam, we need to play attacking football and we want players to play in their regular positions and in which they are comfortable with.. not a winger playin at leftback or a striker playin at midfield.. cmon we hav attackin player’s all round the team ‘ so why play like bolton..!!!?

  • Steeley

    Nov 11, 2007 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #2

    I thought it was shocking that we had to go a goal down before we started to play a game! I’m becoming more and more disillusioned with BSAs tactics as the games go on, because if we cant go away to a club who are languishing towards the bottom of the league and hope to get nothing more than a 0-0 draw then quite frankly I’m not sure that I want that kind of manager!

    I thought the midfield was pants yesterday, and I really dont know why Zog was in at left back leaving Milner on the wrong wing AGAIN!! We had absolutely no right wing yesterday and it hurt us bad.

    On somthing completely different, it was bloody great to see Ashley in with the crowd yesterday – he really is showing us a man who’s genuinely interested in the club! I cant ever remember “the clubs biggest fan” (Shephard) in the crowd…can you!?

  • indian toon

    Nov 11, 2007 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #3

    play the god damned 4-4-2.. liverpool will tear us apart if we play like shit..

  • Brisbane Mag

    Nov 11, 2007 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #4

    Sunderland out played us yesterday although we escaped with a point. Player for player, we should have won quite easy against Sunderland, but in a derby game, you need commitment and Sunderland were up for the fight for the entire game.

    On a brighter note, Barton is improving every game, Emre’s commitment, work rate and passing very commendable, and the defense looked better despite being under pressure.

    We’ve got very difficult games coming up and will need to show more commitment and composure against Liverpool, Blackburn and Arsenal to avoid three losses……

    We often play much better against the top sides, so bring them on and see how good or bad we really are!

  • Jerry

    Nov 11, 2007 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #5

    All the chaps on this site and elsewhere who have been rooting for Big Sam will come to rue their support!

    Now NUFC see a draw with Sunderland as a good result! and talk about the football being played!!! This manager wont last beyond the summer.

  • adam

    Nov 11, 2007 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #6

    i agree. sam isnt good enought. the players that gave a good account of themselves were faye, harps, milners, emre and owen. i normally think owen is past his best but yesterday he proved me wrong. he was brilliant, getting stuck into a few challenges too. smith was pathetic, hes smiply not a midfielder because he cant make a goal, he cant score em, doesnt move well from mid, and can hardly call him a ball winner when he lunges into everythning and gives away free kick after free kick.

    sam…….the doors that way –>

  • indian toon

    Nov 11, 2007 at 12:25 PM

    Comment #7

    hey .. lets call his head after jan k.. lets see how we are placed in jan and then call for his head.. until then let the man do his job..!!

  • ToonKing

    Nov 11, 2007 at 12:30 PM

    Comment #8

    Some of u guys here amaze me, and i’m tired of reading all this crap.
    You say we went for a draw and the usual bla bla bla ignorant crap.
    Why on hell would Sam play Zog at LB ??? CAUSE HE WANTS HIM TO GO FORWARD AND ATTACK. he’s not wasted there, he gives excellent support to the attack and is the extra man in midfield when attacking. We didn’t go for a freaking draw. Barton, Zog, Milner, Emre, Smith, Owen, Viduka. That was a very attacking lineup, but the scum were very physical and closed us down well.
    Draw was a good result at this moment in time.

    Some of you should really think before writing. (oh and writing the same shit every day too………)

  • adam

    Nov 11, 2007 at 12:31 PM

    Comment #9

    indian toon i agree, im gona give him until the summer to look after the job until then when we can get a proper guy into do it. after jan we wouldv lost some players to african cup, AND played the good teams which are in the top 4 or challenging for it.

  • Alex

    Nov 11, 2007 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #10

    Brisbane Mag is right we always play beter against the top sides and we now have a couple of weeks to work things out in training before the liverpool game.Barton certainly looked a lot fitter yesterday i also thought it was smiths best performance of the season.Emre also had a good game, its the midfield that is the problem, if sam could get the midfield right then i think the goals will start to fly in also the defence will be under a lot less pressure and will stop giving soft goals away.Although Sunderland did out muscle us yesterday in the first half i think 2nd half after the equaliser we were the beter side .There was more positives to be taken out of yesterdays game than in the previous 2 games .Dont forget we wont encounter a more hostile atmosphere than yesterdays in the rest of the season. I wonder how they will cope when they come to the toon.

  • Alex

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #11

    ToonKing is also right it was the most attacking lineup that sam has picked all season.Owen yesterday worked harder than i have ever seen him do before he cant be blamed if there was few chances created.

  • Big AL

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #12

    remember guys when bobby robson took over we finished in the bottom half in his first season, fair do’s we had 1 point from 7 games, but give big Sam a chance, most of our players are new, it took him more than a few years to pull bolton from relegation fodder up to top 8 regulars. and it will take a while before we are up where we want to be 2.

    Never before have we had such a change of player presonel and when you do that it takes time for people to get to know each other, but im convinced we will improve and still think top 6 is possible but we do need to start improving and soon.

  • Owen

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:08 PM

    Comment #13

    Decent result from a sub par performance.

    What we gotta remember is that the SMB’s played as good as they can, they were at home and still only took a point.

    We were/are on a poor run, we haven’t had any time for the team to play together, our players only played ok and we still managed to nick the point and could have won it in the end.

    We have to give BSA time, it’s a whole new frickin squad for christsakes. Give them time to gel, give him time to work on his tactics.

    Oh and if a real world class manager is available in summer then I would think about a swap if things haven’t improved, but untill then we simply have to stick with BSA and give him time.

  • Leo

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:10 PM

    Comment #14

    has anyone read keanes comments about barton, to be fair to him, he is saying the right things to make it harder for the FA disaplinary board to ban the lad.

    good on you

    if he had been sent off during the match we would have lost for sure… im licking my wounds once more after watching a sub par proformance.

  • indian toon

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:10 PM

    Comment #15

    it looked attacking on paper.. whats the point in havin attackin players playin outta thier positions.. they look hopeless . thats what happens.. no point in havin galacticos in the squad.. should play as a team.. for that we need players playin in their usual positions..

  • Jerry

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:35 PM

    Comment #16

    Toon King –

    Am sorry but you are a BIG FOOL!!! A draw against Sunderland is a good result?? What are you and what is your level of ambition? I bet you would say we ve done OK if we get relegated!!!!!


  • ToonKing

    Nov 11, 2007 at 1:53 PM

    Comment #17

    Yes Jerry, considering our away form and that’s it’s a huge derby a draw was a good result.

    My level of ambition is high, but it is also realistic. Considering the last 4 years and the level of change that went on in the summer i would be content with a top 10 finish, top 8 would be great and anything more would be incredible.

    Were far from being a top 4 side and i can say with a big level of optimism that were top 6. This season we must take whatever we can get (in decent boundaries of course), but i’m confident we will be in a good position come March -April.

    Next season however we must start performing. That’s why imo is essential that we give Sam this season and given a decent finish then next season too.
    If we sack him than were back to where we started .

    It is you who should get a grip friend and start living on earth instead in your imaginary world where the Toon is undisputed champion.

  • Jerry

    Nov 11, 2007 at 2:09 PM

    Comment #18

    I am really surprised at the lack of ambition of some Toon fans. NUFC one of a handle of clubs to ever play in the CL, outside the current top 4 excluding the top 4 we have spent the most!, the level and base of our support is massive! Why we should be content with mid table finishes i ll never know.

    I am not saying we should be wining the league or even any trophy. But in the very least we should demand a top 6 finish, or even top 5. It is because of our slack attitude that led to Glenn Roeder and Graeme Souness staying too long in the job. Am sorry but if Allardyce doesnt finish top 6, he should be shown the door. How come we are the only fans who have to wait and wiat and wait. I AM SICK OF IT!!!!

  • B&W

    Nov 11, 2007 at 2:18 PM

    Comment #19

    are you blind or is it that you cant read properly?
    the guy said a draw was a good result AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME,
    and he’s absolutely spot on, cos the fact is we’re playin shite atm.
    yes, we should be lookin for 3 pts at sunderland, just as we should have been lookin for 3 pts at places like derby & reading, but we didnt get them there either did we?
    and ffs the rest of you, stop sayin how great faye is.
    he cost us the 2nd goal against portsmouth last week, at an important time in the game when he stood 10yards in front of the rest of the back 4 & passed the ball straight to bouba diop, who promptly knocked it over the top for benjani (a strong pacy striker) to chase, leavin granpa cacapa horribly exposed. then yesterday, he dithered on the ball on the halfway line before knockin a short ball in the general direction of rosenthal when he had the time & space to put it anywhere on the pitch, ultimately costing us the goal.
    playin well for the majority of a game, then ruining your performance with a stupid mistake is not the mark of a good defender, its the mark of titus bramble & he needs to cut it out of his game asafp imo.

  • indian toon

    Nov 11, 2007 at 2:53 PM

    Comment #20

    yes.. we’ve waited too long for a trophy.. we can be dissapointed now… damn ! am so desperate…

  • Bill f

    Nov 11, 2007 at 2:56 PM

    Comment #21

    Jerry, Ditto

  • Alex

    Nov 11, 2007 at 3:00 PM

    Comment #22

    Jerry you have just pinpointed one of our big mistakes over the last decade .spending money ,we have spent far to much instead of having a long term plan and bring on home grown talent.Fat Freddie wasted tens of millions on players that were sub standard and apart from sir Bobby managers that were clueless remember gullit and Souness ?we now have a sucessful man at the top Ashely and a chairman that seems to have good sense and a manager that has long term plans .The fact is to build a top team takes time and although we are a massive club ,we are a long way off being a op side .Lets start to get off Big Sams back we have more points than this time last season therefore sam has took us futher already and dont forget the dismal run in last season, there is no way that will happen again so we will end up with more points and a higher finish. In the end with a long term plan success may take a while to come but when it comes it will be long lasting.

  • Sinead

    Nov 11, 2007 at 3:24 PM

    Comment #23

    This is reminding me alot of Stan before he got sacked from the Irish job, well his career there. It started off with so much promise, but question marks in the backround, (like why the hell he got the job). It started off great and then it went bad and from bad to worse and then just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse it did. And half way through he panicked. The fans were turnign. He played players out of position, and sometimes it worked, by fluke. The players did all they could to keep him in the job, but in the end he just wasn’t good enough and so came then night of the long knives after a country wide call for his head. He was eventually fired. And everyone’s sick of it, these rinky dink managers, who couldn’t get the job done. It just reminds me alot of this situation. Stan made alot of bad decisions, some worked out for him but others were unexplainable, playing a right back in left back when he’d no left boot, and then playing someone who had and can and does play left back in right back. There was no logic behind it. This is what the situation in Newcastle is reminding me off. I don’t want to see it get to that point in Newcastle. We had some bad preformances but it wasn’t the players fault, it was 100% the managers fault because they played with heart and gave it everything and they weren’t to be blamed.

    It’s the same with Newcastle Sam is being rightly blamed for a lot of this. He’s brought it on himself. His tactics are like, well I’m not sure what they are. We’ve seen teams go out and play defensively, and negatively against Man U and Arsenal etc..but like when Sunderland went out against Man U, they played like they’d nothing to loose, and like Sam is saying that all things considered, seeing as it was a derby, and it was a massive game, it was a fair result. Not in a million years would you hear Keane saying that. I’ve a lot of respect for that man alot more then I do for Sam. Ya there was pressure on him for the lads to preform but I’m just trying to think of how hard it most have been for Keane to bring his team to Old Trafford, not only was it against the champions but his champions, that most have been pressure that Sam could never of felt. He was United’s general for 12 years. Alot of what United are now, is cause he made them that way, and they may not have left with a point, but they deserved one.

    Now Newcastle have Liverpool next, I want to see the lads go out and play like there’s no tomorow, like there’s nothing to loose, the pressure will be on Liverpool to preform. I’ll be really annoyed if we go out and play against Liverpool defensivley, this negative horrible football. If they go out and give it one hell of a lash and loose to Liverpool then so be it but I’m sick of this long ball, defensive tactic, it ridiculous and clearly it’s not working.

  • toon fan

    Nov 11, 2007 at 3:36 PM

    Comment #24

    Zogbia at LB is ok actually. He can run up and down the flank and combines well with Milner. But i don’t understand why there’s such a big gap between the midfield and attack or defence. It’s always like that. Besides, we should control the midfield instead of bypassing it. What’s the use of buy good midfielders and bypassing them in the game? Besides, Owen prefers to play the ball on the ground doesn’t he? Pumping long balls and inaccurate crosses would just waste his talents. Get control of the game and play the ball down instead!

  • carl

    Nov 11, 2007 at 4:37 PM

    Comment #25

    i think toonking is big sam lol

  • Stamford Toon

    Nov 11, 2007 at 5:44 PM

    Comment #26

    I don’t read any comments about Steve Harper’s part in the goal. OK we were caught out by a quickly taken corner but why did Harper not stand tall, he was virtually on the ground when the ball went over him. I also wonder why we do not take more advantage of quickly taken free kicks, throw ins and goal kicks. Why wait until the defenders are in position. Emre’s quickly taken free kick in a previous game led to a goal for us. There is a distinct lack of urgency epitomised by both our keepers who stroll around as though they were out walking the dog, even going to the other side of the area to take a g’kick when we are losing.

  • Hadrian

    Nov 11, 2007 at 5:52 PM

    Comment #27

    faye was to blame for the mackems goal …no?
    apart from THAT (and its a big that ) he had a good game .

  • Ed Harrison

    Nov 11, 2007 at 5:54 PM

    Comment #28

    Leo – yes – we covered Roy Keane’s comments today in another article. Good on Keane – and you’re right it should make it harder for them to do anything against Barton – we need to give the boy a chance – and we’ve been impressed by Keane – he talks a lot of sense these days.

  • Ed Harrison

    Nov 11, 2007 at 5:55 PM

    Comment #29

    If you also read Roy Keane’s comments before and after the game – looks to us like he respects Big Sam.

  • Ed Harrison

    Nov 11, 2007 at 5:56 PM

    Comment #30

    Hadrian – yes – we left that out about Faye being somewhat responsible for the goal – but he looked just so great in the first half. Thought Taylor also looked good.

  • Hadrian

    Nov 11, 2007 at 6:14 PM

    Comment #31

    i agree ed , cant be holding things like that over faye after the game he had , he fought and fought in that match ,
    i think this has been our problem , we shoulda stuck with faye and tayls from the start ,and then added rozzy and cacapa in over time , faye and tayls have loads of prem experience and i think it stands out .
    p.s . i think rozzys ars are to long , he loves to whack the ball with them .

  • Eve

    Nov 11, 2007 at 7:40 PM

    Comment #32

    Stamford Toon..I don’t read any comments about Steve Harper’s part in the goal”

    That’s probally because neither Sinead or Johann have been on today..that I know of.

    I think that Harper had an average game in goal, nothing amazing like, nothing to knock Shay outta it, but Sam will probally use it as an excuse to keep Harper in, I think it’s obvious that he prefers Harper. Even though Given’s the better keeper IMO.

    Sam’s mind games are really annoying though, Given was injured at the start of the season, he then says Steve’s his number 1. He then puts Shay in goal after a good display against Arsenal and with Ireland, and that was kinda outta the blue, cause of his comments and if you saw Given after the Arsenal game he didn’t look like someone who was thinking he’d be playing again but Sam put him in. Now Shay misses one game, and he’s saying that Harper’s in as long as he doesn’t make a mistake, I can’t remember his direct quote but it was something like that. But on that display alone I can’t see how he can play Harper ahead of Shay (which he probally will) and now he’s just after turning around saying that Foster’s contesting for it. Would he make up his mind, stop playing these stupid mind games. Cause switching and swoping might be good for outfield players but not keepers, it’s not fair on either of them.

    IMO I think that Given is the better keeper and should be our no. 1 but we’ve seen Sam play players he prefers over who should actually be on the pitch with Owen and Martins, and I think Sam might use this oppurtunity to keep Harper in goal.
    Whatever he does would he just make up his mind.


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