Chris Hughton tried a brave experiment tonight by starting 6 teenagers and making a full 9 changes to the side that beat Plymouth on Saturday – but it was all to no avail, as the team went down 2-0 away to Peterborough.
The average age of the starting 11 was just over 20, so obviously Chris was forced in to taking some risks tonight, to give the seniors a well earned rest before the important trip to Ipswich on Saturday.
Peterborough started the better of the two sides and after just 10 minutes Newcastle somehow managed to escape from conceding a goal after a massive scramble in the Newcastle goalmouth. Things were not looking too good in defense at this point.
But then on 20 minutes Peterborough got the go-ahead goal when the young Newcastle defense failed to deal with a short corner, as Ryan Taylor’s attempted clearance, from Boyd’s cross, came back to Craig Mackail-Smith, who was on hand to head past a helpless Tim Krul from just six yards out.
The on 31 minutes Peterborough made it 2-0 after Tozer lost possession inside his own area while under pressure from three Peterborough
players, and it was Tom Williams who smashed past Tim Krul from a narrow angle. That showed Ben’s lack of experience at this level, and hopefully he will learn from the mistake.
Newcastle were struggling to somehow get back into the game, when something in the second half, which we really didn’t want to happen did, and Danny Guthrie was shown a red card, for a late lunge on Boyd midway inside Newcastle’s half.
That was Guthrie’s second yellow card and for the second time in his career at Newcastle, he was sent of and now will miss the crucial game at Ipswich on Saturday. When will they ever learn?
And with nothing to lose Hughton went for broke after 59 minutes, and made a triple change with Alan Smith, Geremi and Kevin Nolan replacing Haris Vuckic, Kazenga LuaLua and Ryan Donaldson.
Try as the did Newcastle were unable to get the goal that could have set up a dramatic finale, and so the team is out of the Carling Cup, and it was a fairly comfortable win for Posh.
In fact, but for goalkeeper Tim Krul, the scoreline could have been much worse.
The team should have probably been able to get through this tie, but it shows the lack of depth of the Newcastle squad, that when we go into the back-ups, the talent and experience is just not there.
If we had a decent owner he would let Chris sign some more loan players – but we don’t, and if he cannot or will not strengthen the squad, he should do the honorable thing and sell up and get himself out of Toon – and let someone in that is willing to strengthen the squad. But how many times in the last year have we said that?
Of course that means putting the club first, which is a foreign concept indeed to the clueless Mike Ashley and gang. But we are walking on egg shells right now with our tiny squad.
Chris attempted a courageous play tonight, but unfortunately the youngsters couldn’t get the job done. But Chris did the right thing – as he has to find a way of resting the senior players, so they don’t pick up long term injuries, because then we’ll really be screwed and can wave goodbye to promotion this season.
And we are certainly not going to blame the kids, they got a good run-out tonight, which will do them the world of good, but they’re just not up to it – not yet anyway.
Tim Krul was again outstanding, and showed he is the long-term number one goalkeeper in waiting, at the club, and Steve Harper will need to keep playing out of his skin to keep this lad out of the team.
And the coaches also know they have to be very careful with youngsters not to push them too early – or else when things go bad like tonight it can greatly affect their confidence.
So hey, the kids did their best tonight, and the reason we were beaten lies way above them in the Newcastle hierarchy, and above Chris Hughton too – in case people didn’t already know that.
Now we can concentrate on the real goal of this season, and ensure we get 3 points at Ipswich on Saturday night, although we have to say that Danny Guthrie has hardly helped that cause by getting himself sent off tonight.
For anybody who has two eyes and can see, Chris Hughton has shown in no uncertain way tonight, that we do not have a big enough squad and don’t have enough experienced players to make a real promotion challenge this season, so we’ll have to hope something is done about it.
However with the grossly incompetent Mike Ashley still at the helm, the chances of him doing that must be less that 10% – and those odds are erring on the positive side.
This was our second loss in just three games, so we had better get back on the winning track on Saturday at Ipswich Town.
Peterborough: Joe Lewis, Russell Martin (c), Tom Williams, Craig Morgan, Gabriel Zakuani, Paul Coutts, Lee Frecklington, Aaron McLean, George Boyd, Craig Mackail-Smith, Toumani Diagouraga
Subs: Dean Keates, James McKeown, Tommy Rowe, Krystian Pearce, Jamie Day, Chris Whelpdale, Shaun Batt
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, James Tavernier, Ben Tozer, Steven Taylor (c), Ryan Taylor, Peter Lovenkrands, Danny Guthrie, Ryan Donaldson, Kazenga LuaLua, Haris Vuckic, Nile Ranger
Subs: Kevin Nolan, Alan Smith, Geremi, Wesley Ngo Baheng, Ole Soderberg, Brad Inman, Shane Ferguson
Referee: Keith Stroud
Attendance: 10, 298