Steve Harper was probably right when he said Newcastle would have lost the game two months ago, against West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday, after going 2-0 down after just 23 minutes.
Steve Harper – goalkeeper in magnificent form
Steve continued his excellent form in goal with a wonderful game saving save, after 80 minutes, when he turned a Dean Ashton blockbuster over the bar.
After the game, Harper spoke to the Evening Chronicle:
â€œWe were poor for the first half-hour, and a couple of months ago we would have caved in and lost the game.â€â€œBut we dug in and put right the wrongs, and went in at half time 2-2.â€
â€œAt 2-0 down after half-an-hour, it couldnâ€™t have been much worse, but Oba scored a great goal and Geremi scored the second, and at half-time it was probably daylight robbery.â€
â€œBut thatâ€™s what weâ€™ve got in this team â€“ goals. Before, where we would have been dead and buried, we got ourselves back into it.â€ â€œIt was just a shame we were poor for the first half-an-hour, because after that we did OK.â€
â€œI donâ€™t think weâ€™re used to the heat â€“ you can put it down to that!â€
Steve is nothing if not a brutally honest player and Steve has always told it as it is. Steve continued about the two goals the defense conceded after just 23 minutes into the game, after conceding just two goals in the previous 6 games:
â€œWe were disappointed at the two goals we conceded.â€ â€œFor the first goal there was no pressure on the cross, and no-one was near him in the box. It was a good finish.â€
â€œFor the second goal, Ashtonâ€™s a big, strong lad, and weâ€™ve let him turn.â€ â€œAt 2-0 down we were up against it, but weâ€™ve got goals in the team.â€
â€œAshtonâ€™s second-half shot was pretty central, and I was happy to get it over the bar.â€ â€œAs bad as we were for the first half-an-hour, it was important to come away having not lost the game. It was a positive.â€
That was a great save from Harper after 80 minutes and he did well to get the ball over the bar as the ball was moving like a bullet. But Steve seems to make at least one great save each game, to continue the magnificent form he has shown in Shay Givenâ€™s absence.
But it looks now as though Shay is over his groin problems so it will be a fight for the goalkeeperâ€™s jersey next season, not to mention youngsters Fraser Forster and Tim Krul.