We’ve said that if Newcastle are to have a good season and possibly come straight back up then we need to see some of our youngsters to show through and one of them today, goalkeeper Tim Krul was Newcastle’s star in a 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns.
The lads claimed a hard fought point tonight after coming from behind in today’s opener at WBA.
Time Krul was the hero as the 21 year-old Dutch U21 International came on for the injured Steve Harper after the break and then managed to pull off a string of fine saves as Newcastle claimed a 1-1 draw.
A point away after the summer the lads have had, and against one of the favorites to be promoted, has to go down as a satisfying result for the Geordie faithful, who have put up with hell and high water over the summer months.
Shelton Martis gave WBA a first-half lead, but Damien Duff scored 10 minutes into the second half, after being set up by Kevin Nolan, and Krul’s heroics then ensured Chris Hughton’s men took a point back to Tyneside.
The next game is next Saturday at home to reading with another tea time kick off.
Of course Joey Barton’s absence from the starting eleven had added some drama to the game, as if we needed any more, after a training ground incident involving Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez yesterday.
However, Barton did manage to come on to replace Shola Ameobi after 75 minutes after Chris had decided to name him as a substitute.
Before the game when Barton came to warm up he seemed to warm up on his own (although we may be making too much of it) and some discipline measures for Joey may have to be taken following the game.
But with Barton missing the start it meant young Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi led the line for Newcastle, and Kevin Nolan, dropped back to midfield.
Before kick off, there was a minute’s applause for Sir Bobby Robson.
And once the game started it took just 6 minutes before Alan Shearer’s name was first chanted by the 2,700 traveling Newcastle fans.
Duff had Newcastle’s first chance and shot wide with his right foot after being well set up by Carroll, and Shola Ameobi blazed high and wide in the 13th minute.
WBA players appealed for a penalty when Steven Taylor challenged Luke Moore in the penalty box but the TV replays showed the striker’s tumble had nothing to do with local boy Taylor.
WBA started to get the upper hand as the game wore on and Joey Barton was even cheered by the away end as he began to warm up.
Then on 27 minutes a terrific free kick from Ryan Taylor clipped the top of the crossbar and that was a close one.
Newcastle were rallying rallied towards the end of the half, but they then conceded in the 39th minute when Albion took the lead through Martis.
Harper could only parry Jonathan Greening’s free kick to Moore, whose shot struck team-mate Jonas Olsson before falling nicley for Martis, who couldn’t miss.
Steve Harper needed treatment after getting kicked in the face by his own player, Ameobi, as he attempted to save Martis’s shot.
The hal;f time whistle blew with Newcastle trailing and then Krul came on to replace the injured Harper.
This was not Krul’s debut but it was his league debut after playing way back against Palermo in November 2006, where he again in that game was man of the match.
But it was all one-way traffic immediately after the break, with Newcastle pressing forward for the equalizer, and Smith had a shot deflected wide in the 54th minute.
And then after 54 ninutes the scores were level as Ameobi found Kevin Nolan with his back to goal, and the Liverpudlian played in Duff, who put a nice shot across Carson and into the bottom left hand corner with his right foot. He’ll be proud of that one.
But Krul had to be at his best after this to keep the scores levelr, denying Koren for a second time with another great one-handed save, prompting a chant of Krul from our travelling fans.
From then on, Hughton’s side were in the ascendancy, though Krul denied Moore in the 73rd minute, and Newcastle have top thank the young goalkeeper for an excellent second half display in which he kept a clean sheet.
Nile Ranger made his debut for the team with a couple of minutes to go.
In injury time WBA had a goal disallowed, as Olsson headed home Greening’s free-kick but the linesman flagged for offside, and then Damien Duff at the other end was denied a winner when his half volley from 20 yards out was saved by goalkeeper Carson.
All in all it was a well deserved point for the lads, with stand-in captain Alan Smith having a stellar game in midfield for the Magpies.
WBA: Carson, Olsson, Cech, Koren (Dorrans, 73), Greening, Brunt, Wood (Cox, 81), Moore, Mulumbu, Zuiverloon, Martis. Subs not used: Kiely, Barnett, Beattie, Reid, Teixeira.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Harper (Krul, 46)r R Taylor, S Taylor, Coloccini, Enrique; Gutierrez, Nolan, Smith, Duff; Ameobi, Carroll (Barton, 75). Subs not used: Kadar, Geremi, LuaLua, Xisco, Ranger.
Goals: Martis 39, Duff 55
Bookings: Coloccini 45, Nolan 85
Referee: Mike Dean (The Wirral)