Alex McLeish Happy with Newcastle Point

It was a good game last night, and we thought the play showed both Birmingham and Newcastle to be two teams who can avoid the drop this season.


Alex McLeish – quite happy with point

Birmingham are a hard team to play against, especially at St. Andrew’s, and we have great respect for the management capabilities of their new Scottish manager Alex McLeish.

At half time last night it looked ominous for Newcastle as Birmingham had taken a 1-0 lead through impressive James McFadden. But Keegan did motivate the boys at half time, when all seemed lost, and Newcastle came out looking a different and much improved team in the second half. Newcastle captain Michael Owen’s opportunist goal gave them a well deserved point.

Michael could so easily have had another after 50 minutes, when he was clean through, but for a great save by Northern Ireland goalkeeper Maik Taylor. And one pleasing aspect of the second half was how Owen and Martins both looked very menacing to the Birmingham defense.

After the game this is what Alex had to say:

“I think Newcastle deserved something for their second-half performance after the first half had belonged to us. We couldn’t get the second goal that would have given us some breathing space.”

“Newcastle have many influential players and they caused us problems in the second half, but we are continuing to pick up points. At the end of the season, points like this might be like gold dust and we are difficult to beat at home.”

While Newcastle may have just possibly squeaked the win with their second half performance, we think overall a draw was a fair result and both teams moved up one place in the league table.  It broke a 4 game losing streak for Newcastle, thank goodness!

Now for Fulham at home this Saturday, and we cannot have any let downs, after our second half performance last night. We expect an all-out attacking display from the lads, and hopefully Keegan’s first win in his second coming as manager at Newcastle. 😀

Comments welcome.

3 comments so far

  • Callum

    Mar 18, 2008 at 6:45 AM

    Comment #1

    I’m feeling a bit more confident about our chances of avoiding relegation after yesterdays performance and the team showed it can fight back from going a goal behind.

    I just hope KK sticks to the same team for Fulham or at least the same system and just swap like for like and not go back to 4-4-2 or something different each week.

  • Rob

    Mar 18, 2008 at 7:48 AM

    Comment #2

    Harper no. 1.

  • phoonCK

    Mar 18, 2008 at 8:38 AM

    Comment #3

    Ratings for Newcastle players, with starting points at 5.

    Harper: 6
    safe pair of hands and looked more commanding in handling crosses than Given.

    Beye: 6
    reliable and hard working with occassional over lapping runs.

    Taylor: 6
    partly to blame for the goal conceded. could have challenged for header instead of ball watching. should have done better with his header at goal unchallenged, when M.Taylor hesitated with the cross.

    Faye: 5
    the main culprit for the goal conceded. poor positioning and poor timing of his jumps for most of 1st half, but improved gradually in the 2nd. have to improve or risks being replaced by Cacapa or Diatta.

    Enrique: 7
    just gets better and better for this highly-rated spaniard. one of his best performances for us. strong in challenges and showed he’s no push-over. linked up with the attack well and had a Riise-like shot only to be saved brilliantly by M.Taylor.

    Geremi: 6
    lack of pace and was poor with his deliveries at set-pieces. had one delightfully weighted cross though, only for Faye to mis-time his jump. needs to be more penetrative with his supplies or we can see Milner straight back into the side when he’s back.

    Butt: 7
    impressive especially in 2nd half, showed what he has learnt all this years at Man United. kept the ball well and distribution was good, for the 2nd time this season.

    Barton: 5
    lost the ball far too often. should have been more adventurous and try from outside of the box. a far cry from his Man City days. liked his committed never-say-die attitude though, but that’s just like Smith, isn’t it?

    Martins: 8
    most of our threats came from this little Nigerian. by far our most dangerous player on the field. linked up well with Owen, and played an important role in that equaliser with his sheer determination and that was a tremendous leap for a tiny guy. was surprised with the substitution, tactical reasons maybe. certainly my MOTM (and most of you who polled).

    Owen: 7
    though lost a yard of pace, looked lost when receiving the ball deep and easily robbed of possession by stronger defenders, he still had that striker instinct in him and positioning is great. unlucky not to have scored on the 50th min but was lightning quick to have pounced onto the lose ball with 2 defenders ahead of him. i wasn’t too impressed with him though for wanting to impress too much with Capello watching wtih one instance in the 2nd half where he should have squared the ball back to Martins who was better positioned. nice to see him apologised afterwards.

    Viduka: 7
    showed tremendous ability at holding the ball up and good foot skills, but was guilty with not releasing the ball earlier when he was driving towards the oppositions’ box with 2 defenders breathing down his neck and 1 infront of him, when both Owen and Martins wide on either side of him unmarked. and when he did finally released the ball to Martins, it was too far ahead. seemed to be out of breath towards the end. need to up his match fitness and stay fit if he is to play a part in the relegation battle.

    N’Zogbia: 6
    not much to comment on with only about 10mins of play time. looked dangerous when in possession. preferred him to Geremi, but his desire to play is questionable. hope he’ll stay, he has the potential to be a big player for this club, but it seems he is turning out to be another Jenas, a wantaway player..

    Keegan: 7
    good starting XI, if not the best. at least he showed guts to drop ‘gold dust’ Smith and is probably spot-on at the Martins-N’Zogbia substitution, and its nice to see him walking up to Martins a 2nd time when he’s clearly unhappy. maybe its a telling-off? but i believe Keegan being Keegan, it”ll be more of an explanation of the change rather than a shout at him 🙂

    overall, a good improved 2nd half saw us fighting back to equalise in what many thought would have given up the fight again. no matter what Keegan had said to them in the dugout at half time, he certainly worked his magic as we saw a completely different side out there in the 2nd half, almost thought he had made a 10-men substitution change! 🙂

    Bring on Fulham
    Keep the Faith
    Howay the Lads


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