Newcastle limped to the end of the season at Everton today and were well beaten 3-1 by a better Everton side. Newcastle ended their season on just 43 points, which equals last season’s worst ever points total in the Premier League. 🙁
In fact in 3 of the last 4 seasons Newcastle have recorded their worst points totals with 44 points in 2005, when Graeme Souness was manager.
No wonder Newcastle fans are so fed up.
It was only the brilliance again of our goalkeeper Steve Harper, that prevented Newcastle suffering a much worse defeat today, and our 2 defeats in our last 2 league games, illustrate the gulf there is between Newcastle, and the teams above us.
The combined scoreline of 5-1 suggests we have a lot of improvement to make.
However, we must reduce this gap, and sign several good players in the summer, and it’s good that we have publicly stated that 5th place is the target for next season.
Kevin Keegan gave Smith, Carroll, Duff and N’Zogbia a start today, and we knew this wasn’t our best side, but Kevin had to give some of the fringe players a chance.
We’re not sure exactly why Smith started up front, since he hasn’t scored a single goal all season, so he can hardly call himself a striker. Am I missing something here?
It wouldn’t surprise us at all if Smith leaves in the summer.
It was fairly even in the first half and young Charles N’Zogbia was prominent. Andy Carroll had a shot from 25 yards that Howard had to save smartly, and then after 29 minutes Everton went ahead with a poor goal from Newcastle’s viewpoint.
After 27 minutes, Newcastle missed a great opportunity to go ahead. N’Zogbia managed to get in an excellent cross, but not one Newcastle player was anywhere near the ball.
Then, as if to rub that miss in, Everton went ahead on 29 minutes.
Duff received a yellow card for his foul on Pienaar and from the free kick, which Pienaar took, Yakubu rose above everybody, to easily head the ball home, giving Harper no chance.
Yakubu was unmarked and just 8 yards from goal, so there has to be lots of questions about our defensive marking, but it was an extremely poor goal to give away.
It looked like young Andy Carroll was at fault, as he couldn’t get near the ball, and was supposed to be talking care of his opposite number Yakubu .
After 36 minutes Anichebe played a nice back-heel to Fernandes, which put him through, and his swerving shot was well saved by Steve Harper, who was at full stretch.
After 2 minutes of added time, the half time whistle went and Everton lead 1-0 at the break.
Everton were well on top in the last 15 minutes of the half, and Newcastle were rather lucky to go in only one goal in arrears.
Cacapa replaced the injured Abdoulaye Faye for the second half.
But straight after the break, Newcastle were right back in the game as N’Zogbia made another excellent run into the box, and was summarily upended by Nigerian Yobo.
Captain Michael Owen then hit his second successful penalty in a row, firing under American goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Newcastle were right back in the game and Michael Owen took his goal tally to 13 for the season, and Newcastle’s leading goalscorer.
Then Harper had to pull off yet another fine save just nine minutes into the second half. A Fernandes free-kick was going in, but Harper managed to tip the ball over the cross-bar.
Newcastle were trying to hang on, but with 20 minutes left Everton regained the lead as Steven Taylor could only divert Fernandesâ€™ dead ball right into the path of Joleon Lescott.
Lescott side footed the ball in and only just sufficiently to beat Harper, into the bottom corner of the goal. It was a well taken goal by Lescott, his 10th goal of the season, and from another Everton set play.
There were question marks again over our defense for this goal.
But Harper was still keeping Everton at bay and he denied Anichebe, who was straight through on goal, but Harper brilliantly turned his effort wide of the post.
Newcastle were seemingly starting to fall apart, and Keegan couldn’t have been happy with a lot of the performances from his players in the last 30 minutes of the season.
On 77 minutes 17 year-old Lua Lua was brought on to replace Jose Enrique.
On 82 minutes Leon Osman made a good run into the box but was unceremoniously brought down by Taylor, and the referee awarded the obvious penalty.
Yakubu stepped up and sent Harper the wrong way for his second goal of the game to make it 3-1.
Peter Ramage, who may join QPR in the summer, was brought on in added time for his final appearance in a black and white shirt.
We wish Peter all the very best, as he’s got black and white blood, and always gave his best for his home town club.
But this was a disappointing display from the lads, and it shows that we haven’t got too much strength in depth.
It could well be that Ramage, Smith and N’Zogbia were all making their farewell appearance for the club, but it’s not a good way to end the season, our joint worst ever in the Premier League.
It was a disappointing day for the Tynesdie club, and we hope we’ll do much much better next season.
Hope springs eternal.
Everton: Tim Howard, Joseph Yobo, Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka, Phil Neville (c), Steven Pienaar, Leon Osman, Yakubu, Manuel Fernandes, Lee Carsley, Victor Anichebe
Subs: Leighton Baines, Thomas Gravesen, Daniel Gosling, Stefan Wessels, Jack Rodwell
Newcastle United: Steve Harper, Habib Beye, Jose Enrique, Steve Taylor, Abdoulaye Faye, Nicky Butt, Charles N’Zogbia, Damien Duff, Alan Smith, Michael Owen (c), Alan Smith, Andy Carroll
Subs: Fraser Forster, Claudio Cacapa, Peter Ramage, Ben Tozer, Kazenga LuaLua
Referee: Peter Walton