Three Late Great Saves By Harper Preserves All 3 Points


Chis Hughton this morning praised the magnificent play of goalkeeper Steve Harper last night, as the Magpies scraped together a second successive win to remain top of the Coca Cola Championship.

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Steve Harper – 3 great late saves

Chris also praised the spirit of his players, as they again stuck at it and came out of a tough game with all 3 points.

It was a deflected Ryan Taylor shot after 54 minutes that was enough to give Hughton his first win as permanent manager, and Newcastle’s first win on the road since we took Ipswich apart 4-0 some six games ago on 26th September.

But Newcastle still needed three excellent saves from Harper right at the end to preserve those 3 points – but where was the rest of the defense late in the game?

When Chris was asked if he though Newcastle were fortunate on the night he answered:

“ We were not fortunate. What we have had is Steve Harper has made a couple of fabulous saves. That’s the quality of the keeper. Over the 90 minutes we deserved it.”

“It’s nice to be back top. We knew it would be tough and they put us under pressure and asked us questions. I felt for large periods we were able to do that.”

“Steve is doing the business for me. There’s different aspects of Steve Harper. He is a Newcastle lad, been here for a long time and he is a calming influence around the place. He is a mature lad and a mature player. He’s been invaluable.”

But once again Newcastle didn’t start to play well until after half time and we just have to start turning up in the first 45 minutes of our games.

The good news is we kept another clean sheet – and that’s what we have to hope for in our future games:

wins plus clean sheets=promotion.

And with Steven Taylor, who is a massive influence when he plays for his home town club,  finally returning (hopefully) on Saturday when Newcastle play Peterborough at St. James’ Park, that should help us do that.

Coloccini is looking a much better player than he’s been  given credit for, and young Tamas Kadar showed last night why he’s such a promising teenager at the Tyneside club.

We pulled Coloccini apart during the summer, several times, but we are also very pleased that he seems to be proving us wrong, and becoming a key player this season for the Magpies.  Good for him – and good for the club!

Comments welcome.



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15 comments so far

  • lesh

    Nov 3, 2009 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #1

    Why on earth does Hughton start a game with only one striker then add firepower late in the second half?

    Sheffield were certainly up for it and more so when our defence was depleted and we sat too far back allowing them space to get up – Harper saved the game for us!

    Surely common sense says go for it from the start and if ahead, shut the shop.

    Nevertheless, 3pts in the bag and a good result against Peterborough (are they now without a manager? would help open up a healthy gap at the top.

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  • Fak_you_ashley

    Nov 3, 2009 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #2

    HARPER FOR ENGLAND!!!! 😀

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  • G

    Nov 3, 2009 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #3

    Harper was deffo MOM last night. 2nd half saves he made kept us in it, as frankly we were diabolical going forward. Every time Carroll looked like a threat Chris Morgan took him down. Ref should have shown him some coloured paper in my opinion. Colo & Kadar also seemed to work very well together, and anything that will prevent Zurab getting a game after his ban can only be a good thing.

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  • Bigbadbob

    Nov 3, 2009 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #4

    Steve Harper was excellent again without being flash, he has been and is an excellent professional footballer who had to put up with the sometimes petulant behaviour of Given who demanded to be no 1 and has never ever whinged.
    Perhaps now, he will get the recognition he deserves, he is brave, solid and steady and for me a better all round keeper than Given.

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  • Fak_you_ashley

    Nov 3, 2009 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #5

    He did keep about 6 clean sheets this season(I think) so i think he deserves to be in the England squad maybe for game or 2, but overall he is way better then David James and he is more experinced then Ben Foster so why not try him out for the England squad.

    HARPER FOR ENGLAND!!! 😀

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  • Bigbadbob

    Nov 3, 2009 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #6

    G, i agree, the referee was definately a homer ignoring foul after foul from Morgan who couldnt handle Andy Carrol, should have been sent off but as the game wore on i feared that one of ours was going to walk.

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  • Fak_you_ashley

    Nov 3, 2009 at 10:59 AM

    Comment #7

    @G // Nov 3, 2009 at 10:52 AM
    Colo & Kadar also seemed to work very well together, and anything that will prevent Zurab getting a game after his ban can only be a good thing.

    ———————————————————-
    I agree with you mate, but i really think Zuarb did well on his debut in that RB Slot, Maybe we should try him out again in that RB slot?.

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  • G

    Nov 3, 2009 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #8

    @Bigbadbob, I suspect thats why CH took Simpson (who was getting wound up being pushed off the ball), and Jonas off. Jonas in particular was getting a bit handy with his elbows and getting increasing frustrated with the SU defence. On a positive note from Jonas, looking at his reaction to being subbed, he did not look like a man wanting to leave the toon.

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  • Fak_you_ashley

    Nov 3, 2009 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #9

    Sorry Zurab not Zuarb. 😀

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  • G

    Nov 3, 2009 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #10

    @Fak – I would only keep Zurab as cover for the full back slot as frankly his defending is pap. Positionally he seems quite switched on, but cannot turn and gets pushed off posetion too easily. He simply isn’t physical enough. I can see why even Fat Sam (The man who signed Cacapa!) will not give him a game.

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  • Fak_you_ashley

    Nov 3, 2009 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #11

    That was a very shoddy performance by the team in general – Harper and Carroll being the exceptions. If we go up and there is no serious investment in the team then we’ll be straight back down. If Jonas wants away then his value must be decreasing exponentially with each match, and Butt could not get much worse if he played on one leg. Coloccini is just performing like an Argentinian international – well apart from being exceptionally dirty and was lucky to stay on the pitch.

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  • premier

    Nov 3, 2009 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #12

    where did the entertainers go? that was absolute pap!!

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  • sirjasontoon

    Nov 3, 2009 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #13

    Well done Harper….scraped by yesterday against a pub team missing 8 sunday regulars.

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  • Uchiha_Itachi

    Nov 3, 2009 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #14

    Despite the last five minutes or so I think we never really looked like conceding all game against a team that I personally had marked down as a very tricky one. Kadar barely put a foot wrong, Colo once again was outstanding both positionally and in the air and his return to the side really added stability. Enrique was a steam train and seems to get better every game. Simpson has had better games but to be fair to the lad he barely made an error himself…and we did look a little shaky when he came off.

    This game was an example of what the majority of these bloggers have been complaining about in the past few months. In the first half the tactic was simple, not to leak a goal and to punt it forward at every given opportunity. This was simply ineffective. During the opening 15 minutes of the second half we finally got the ball down and created more in that period than we did in the entire first half and were duly awarded with a goal (although if im being honest there may have been a foul during the buildup). If I didnt know any better id think CH is tricking opposition teams in the first half by making them think we are one dimensional cant play then catching the opposition unawares when we come out swinging in the second half.

    Not a perfect display but in considering the overall performance im going to leave major criticism at the door today and enjoy another good result against a very tricky side to go along with the results against Cardiff and West Brom away from home. Most importantly it seems the rough patch we are going through is over and hopefully long may it continue.

    Howay the Lads!

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  • neblexa

    Nov 3, 2009 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #15

    I agree, keeping zurab out of the team is best for all. He was not bad right back, awful centre back. I thought the second half was much more like the way we played at the start of the season. Not particularly that great but at least there were some workman like performances. I keep critisising caroll then he has a decent performance….I’m more than happy for players to prove me wrong.

    I agree the ref was very very biased towards sheff utd. I cant stand that Morgan, he’s a thug who happens to be able to play football. He clattered Carrol all over the pitch and where on earth did the ref find 5 mins!!! i joked that he would prob give 4 just becasue he seemed determined to give them a goal.

    All in all it sa win, nothing positive is happening off the pitch so we can only look at the healthy position of the table and hope we can push on.

    Why would you put 3 strikers on when you are defending a lead i’ll never know!!!!

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