This is a game Newcastle started with two of their defense missing – went one goal down at the half, survived a missed Doncaster penalty after 75 minutes and Kevin Nolan scored the winner two minutes into injury time – another blase 3 points from Newcastle this wasn’t.
However, it could be the most important 3 points of our season so far.
And to add further to our problems in defense, center-back Khizanishvili was given a red card with 5 minutes to go, but exactly why is a good question for the referee.
Zurab seemed to be trying to separate the players, but was flashed a red card , which Newcastle will surely appeal.
The game started with the shock that bioth Colccini and Simpson would miss the game tyhrough injury and young Tamas Kadar was drafted in at center0back and Ryan Taylor moved to right back.
Newcastle started the game rather sloppily and were giving the ball away tooe asuily and would you beleive it after 18 minutes Doncaster took the lead.
Kadar could only half clear from the left full-back position and the ball went to Billy Sharp, and the winger moved nicely before pulling the ball back to Dean Shiels, who slotted the ball easily into an empty net.
A defeat today would have been a crucifying blow for Newcastle, but we were still one nil down at the half, but not before Jose Enrique had put in a good cross that Andy Carroll’s header from 12 yards out, flashed just inches wide.
After 60 minutes Nile Ranger came on for the hapless Marlon Harewood, and Nile immediately started to make a difference and was a live wire up front.
After some pressure from Newcastle it was Andy Carroll who got the all important equalizer on 68 minutes, with a thumping first-time volley from Danny Guthrie’s inch-perfect chip, and that was certainly tremendous finish from the big Gateshead lad!
But then on 75 minutes referee Deadman (what a name!) gave a penalty to Doncaster, when Dean Shiels’ header crashed into the arm of Ryan Taylor.
Doncaster captain Martin Woods stepped up but hit his left-footed shot wide of Steve Harper’s goal and Newcastle were given a massive let-off – and maybe – just maybe – this was going to be our day after all.
The 90 minutes came and the referee added 5 minutes additional time, but it was that wonder-man Kevin Nolan again, who after just 2 minutes of injury time hit a a perfect curler into the net from 20 yards out for his 8th goal of the season.
But it was Andy Carroll who made the goal because he hassled the Rovers defense incessantly until he got possession, and then rolled the ball into the path of the Liverpudlian – who did the rest – and there was complete uproar from the Newcastle fans.
WBA could only draw so Newcastle are one point ahead of Cardiff City at the top of the league. Cardiff won a 4-3 thriller at Sheffield United, with a hat-trick from Peter Whittingham.
Middlesbrough drew 2-2 at Preston with Bille Jones equlaizing for the home side in injury time, so both teams dropped 2 points also.
Bramall Lane and Sheffield United is our next port of call a week on Monday.
We dodged a bullet in this game today – no doubt about it – but a win is a win – and we needed these 3 points really badly.
We will have to hope that both Coloccini and Steven Taylor are fit by the game at Sheffiled United, then so we can back playing some good football again.