In what was another very good display from Newcastle United this afternoon on the south coast they met an in-form team in Portsmouth and the Magpies’ win streak came to an end, but they were fully worth the draw.
The game was very good to watch in front of a sold out crowd of 20,506 – some 218 over their official capacity of 20,288 – well they did make the FA Cup Finals. 😀
The good thing for the crowd is they got a good display from their side, but an equally good display from this newly revitalized Newcastle side under new boss Kevin Keegan.
The game was very open, as we expected, and if last week we were at 80% we were better this week and maybe at 90% of our very best. But that last pass just wasn’t good enough this afternoon, although Newcastle had chances to win the game in the last 20 minutes.
A Geremi free kick after just 5 minutes was well taken by goalkeeper James, in front of the watching England manager Fabio Capello – and the first 15 minutes was a good start by the Magpies, who were passing the ball around well.
On 23 minutes Harper was quick off his line to cut off a fine through pass by Kranjcar, who was causing Newcastle some trouble on the left wing.
Then on 29 minutes Viduka was through on the right, with Martins in oceans of room in the center. But Markâ€™s cross come shot was between Martins and James and went through for a goal kick. It was an excellent chance lost.
At the half time whistle the game was delicately balanced and either side could win this game.
But the best chance of the whole game went to Michael Owen who seemed to balloon the ball over the bar.
After 71 minutes the ball somehow came back to Owen who had an open goal from 5 yards out and he hit the ball on the volley, and it somehow hit James and went for a corner.
But it was a gilt edged chance for Newcastle to take all 3 points and Michael should really have scored, although it all happened in an instant. But Michael was there and it was instinct and with any luck he could have broke the net, but it wasn’t to be.
But don’t get us wrong Owen had another fine game just behind the front two strikers, and we think he would have impressed the watching Capello. He worked his socks off yet again for the team, and is a fine example as captain.
But Portsmouth could also have won the game and they let some chances go begging too. After 45 minutes Defoe should really have scored when he met a cross that somehow eluded the Newcastle defenders but he put the ball wide of the far post, when it looked easier to score.
Then after 63 minutes Defoe again hit a shot which came off a Newcastle defender and was going in Harper’s right hand corner before Steve got a right hand to it, to deflect it for a corner. Then Harper took the corner safely under challenge, and just 3 yards from goal.
Near the end Oba Martins, who was threatening throughout the game, had a chance to win it but his angled shot was off target.
Both teams played open and attacking football and the the game was delicately balanced. It would have been a shame had either side lost, but don’t tell that to the teams, who were going for the winner right until the end.
This is how the game was meant to be played and credit to both teams for a good entertaining game.
This was another top display from a Newcastle side who are looking so much better in defense with their 3rd clean sheet in a row.
Steve Harper had another fine game in front of the watching England coach Capello, and Faye was again dominant in the air, against the tall Portsmouth strikers. He had another excellent game at the back for Newcastle – what a buy he has been for the club.
Steven Taylor was very solid and the midfield played well yet again, with Geremi threatening with his corners and free kicks, which almost produced the winner.
Geremi had a great shot himself after 72 minutes that David James did well to save low to his left. Geremi is now looking twice the player he looked early in the season and doesn’t give the ball away much at all, and his passing looks so much better these days.
Another good all around team effort from the boys and a well deserved point, which could so easily have been three with any luck, but this Portsmouth team are also a very good side and in-form.
All in all – a fair result and a very good game to watch.
Portsmouth: David James, Glen Johnson, Herman Hreidarsson, Sol Campbell (c), Sylvain Distin, Papa Bouba Diop, Sean Davis, Sulley Muntari, Niko Kranjcar, Nwanko Kanu, Jermain Defoe
Subs: Lauren, David Nugent, Richard Hughes, Pedro Mendes, Asmir Begovic
Newcastle United: Steve Harper, Habib Beye, Jose Enrique, Abdoulaye Faye, Steven Taylor, Nicky Butt, Geremi, Joey Barton, Oba Martins, Michael Owen (c), Mark Viduka
Subs: Fraser Forster, Damien Duff, Alan Smith, David Edgar, Andy Carroll
Referee: Phil Dowd
Comments very welcome.