The biggest play of the first half was when a brilliant through ball to Robinho had Styles giving a penalty against Habib Beye and sending the Senegal player off – but on the TV replay is was definitely not a penalty and therefore not a sending off.
The slow motion replay showed Habib in fact made a good clearance and deflected the ball away from Robinho before he then brought the player down with his momentum.
So it was not a foul and it should not have been a red card. But that’s Newcastle’s luck and Robinho easily dispatched the penalty past a helpless Given.
Newcastle had been holding the talented City side until this time with Coloccini having a solid game at the back and Shola Ameobi making himself an Emile Heskey type player up front, giving the two City center backs a very hard time of it.
The penalty and red card were a terrible blow to this Newcastle side but that’s how it goes when you’re having no luck. Newcastle were able to hold the City side, even thought they were a man down, with Martins going to the left wing and Ameobi up front.
Newcastle had a chance after 35 minutes, when Duff had a chance from just 8 yards out, but his weak finish was saved easily by Hart – and Kinnear had his head in his hands and Damien should have done better – and he knew it.
And then after 43 minutes the incredible happened as a nice cross ball from Martins found Ameobi with the ball with two City players a round him. But somehow Shola managed to get the ball in the net for his first goal for the club in almost two years.
It was a good opportunist goal from Shola and finished off a very good first-half display from the 26 year-old.
But the second half promises to be a battle with Newcastle still in this game – and there’s time for some heroes in this Newcastle side tonight.