Newcastle looked hopeless in the first half yesterday, and gave away a gift goal after just 11 minutes to bottom-placed Peterborough, before they woke up in the second half following the introduction of Wayne Routledge and looked more the part.
Joey Barton – celebrating with Colin Calderwood after his goal
And manager Chris Hughton has admitted there’s some relief in the squad now that promotion has been achieved, even if it’s still mathematically possible if Nottingham Forest win their last 5 games by massive amounts and Newcastle lose their last 6 games – which is all nonsense of course.
Chris said after the game:
“There’s a sense of relief in the dressing room and I also think a bit of anticipation.”“It will be fitting to do it in front of our own fans. A lot of people would like to do it at St James’ Park.”
“To have had the outstanding support that we have had, we just all hope we can finish off the job.”
Newcastle finally got into the game immediately after half time, but that wasn’t before the completely ineffective Fabrice Pancrate was replaced by the energetic Wayne Routledge to add some thrust down the wing.
It doesn’t look good for Pancrate to get a new contract this summer because he’s just too inconsistent and unreliable, and he blew a major opportunity yesterday.
Kevin Nolan had equalized just before half time and Newcastle got two goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half with a great free-kick from Joey Barton and a 10th goal in 10 starts from Shola Ameobi, who looks once again in terrific goal-scoring form.
Barton looked what he was in the first half – a player who hadn’t played since last September – but he got into his rhythm in the second half and was too much for Peterborough, even though the defense leaked another goal after 76 minutes to Liam Dickinson.
We cannot start so slowly in games next season, because we’ll be punished severely.
Chris said he was only concentrating on the game yesterday and had no idea how Nottingham Forest were faring at Bristol City:
“I didn’t know what was going on at Bristol, but I was aware a pocket of our supporters looked in joyful mood at one point,”
“But both we just had to concentrate on our job, which was challenging enough today.” “It was a very difficult pitch, and they dealt with it better than us in the first half today.”
“But although we let them have too much possession, they didn’t threaten us too often, and the fact that we were able to get the goal just before half time made a big difference.”
“I told them at half-time that we needed to press the ball more and be a threat more in the final third.” “After how things went early on, there’s a big relief that we go the result today – it was a game which could have gone either way.”
“But all season we have shown our resilience, and we did it again here.” “Now it’s in our hands back at St James’, which might put a couple of thousand extra on the gate, and we are all looking forward to that.”
Peterborough boss Jim Gannon is the first to say that Newcastle will need to strengthen significantly in the summer, if they are to hold their own in England’s top league next season.
After the game Jim said:
“Everyone knows how hard it is for teams to go up,” “So I’m sure Newcastle are making contingencies for strengthening Chris’ options this summer.”
“I’m sure they will learn lessons from when they were last there, and in a manger like Chris, they have stability.”
We’re sure Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood, in communication with chief scout Graham Carr, know who their targets are already, and it wouldn’t surprise us if Newcastle sign their first new player before May is out.
Howay The Lads!!