Andy Carroll saved Newcastle’s blushes yesterday afternoon, when he put away an 87th minute equalizer, from a good cross from new-boy Leon Best.
Andy Carroll – 9th goal of the season
That point was just enough to take us back to the top over WBA, who drew their FA Cup 5th round tie at 3rd bottom placed Reading.
But chances were at a minimum for the Newcastle strikers in this game, as Newcastle again packed the midfield, after their experiment of actually attacking away from home didn’t exactly pay off at Derby County.
Chris Hughton, who has a job to do to prise awake most of his Newcastle players, from the slumber they seem to have slipped into, was nevertheless pleased with Andy’s goal, as were the very grateful Newcastle supporters.
Chris said after the game:
“It was a difficult game for Andy and the service could have been better,”
“He put in a shift for the team and he would have been hoping for that one chance.”
“When it came I was delighted for him and it was a very good finish from a very good cross from Leon Best.”
“We challenged him to add goals to his game and he has certainly done that of late.”
But it seemed to us that Chris was out-coached again by the up-and-coming Paulo Sousa, who has Swansea playing some excellent football this season. That’s the type of football we’d love to see at Newcastle, to be sure.
And to say Andy didn’t have much service was only because that’s the way Newcastle elected to play this game, packing the midfield, so it was Chris’ tactics that almost guaranteed Andy would have a tough afternoon, which he did.
But we picked up a point away from home, against a very good looking side, so we have to be satisfied with the result, if not the performance.
And that’s especially true since later in the afternoon Nottingham Forest managed to be beaten again, this time at Doncaster Rovers.
That’s three of the last four league games Forest have lost, and if they had won those games they would have been on 64 points, so Newcastle are lucky that their dip in form has been more than matched by the 3rd placed side.
And with WBA drawing at Reading they will be guaranteed at least one, and maybe two more games, at least in the FA Cup, which will add to the gamnes they need to play in the next vital 10 weeks.
Remember the last league games in the Championship are on Sunday, May 2nd, much earlier than the Premier League ends.
But it’s up to Newcastle to earn their promotion, and not rely on the poor performances of other sides for keeping them in the promotion race this season.
There will be no excuses for not attacking in the eight remaining home games – none at all. We will have to attack in every one of those games and try to get all three points.
24 points are up for grabs at home, and if we are get promotion it looks like we’ll need to get the vast majority of those points, given our rather wimpy performances away from home.
Chris would do well to remember that fortune favors the brave, and we don’t want to get promoted by struggling against those teams we should be able to beat, and beat easily.
That’s where mental strength comes into the equation – so let’s not make it any harder than it really is.
We’ll see how things shape up next on Wednesday night, against a beatable Coventry City side at St. James’ Park. Coventry won 1-0 at home to QPR yesterday – so they are due a defeat. 😀
Most of the Championship games will take place on the Tuesday evening, so we will know how WBA and Nottingham Forest have done, before we even start Wednesday’s game.