Newcastle put on an excellent display of attacking football this afternoon and were just too good for a previously in-form Blackpool side.
The Magpies won 4-1 at St. James’ Park, in front of an excellent crowd of 47, 010 passionate Geordies, who were still celebrating following Monday night’s promotion back to the Premiership.
Newcastle started the game with the same line-up as on Monday night, except that Tamas Kadar was at left-back for the sick Jose Enrique.
After just 12 minutes Newcastle took the lead when left-back Tamas Kadar gave the ball to Jonas Gutierrez down the left wing to set up the attack. The Argentine then beat two Blackpool defenders and the winger burst into the penalty area and hit the ball beautifully beyond goalkeeper Matt Gilks for the brilliant Argentine’s 4th goal this season for the Magpies.
And yes, the Geordie fans were given another treat of seeing that famous Spiderman mask from the Argentine, who was in scintilating form this afternoon for an attacking Magpies outfit.
Jonas is now starting to score the goals that manager Chris Hughton has asked of the popular Argentine – and what a player this lad looks right now.
And then on 36 minutes Newcastle went further ahead. Danny Guthrie was stupidly pushed in the back Taylor-Fletcher stupidly, on the left hand side of the penalty area, and from the free kick taken by Guthrie, the ball was helped home by big Andy Carroll, for the Gateshead-born striker’s 17th goal of the season. And yet another assist from Danny boy.
Then on 37 minutes Liverpudlian Ryan Taylor came on to replace the injured Tamas Kadar, who seemed to have a hamstring injury.
The score remained 2-0 at half time with Newcastle looking polished this afternoon.
Newcastle started the second half in confident fashion and after 62 minutes went further ahead with a goal from captain Kevin Nolan, for his 16th goal of the season.
And it was Argentine winger Gutierrez, who was having a field day down the left wing this afternoon, who set up the captain, as he provided the ball to Nolan on the edge of the area, and then Kevin went past two defenders and then rounded goalkeeper Matt Gilks before putting the ball into an empty net. Kevin looks as good a player right now as he did when at his best for Bolton Wanderers, his former club.
It was four four goals after 77 minutes when right winger Wayne Routledge went by two Blackpool defenders and headed into the area before hitting the ball beautifully into the bottom corner of the net for his second goal as a Magpie – another tremendous strike from the winger.
But it was not to be the 21st clean sheet of the season for Newcastle, which would have been the perfect result, as they again conceded a late goal after 85 minutes.
Steve Harper made a brilliant save to stop Stephen Dobie’s strike, but it was former Southampton striker Brett Ormerod who slotted the ball in from close range from the rebound.
Steve will be disappointed that another late goal robbed him of another clean sheet, and so will manager Chris Hughton, who is a bit of a perfectionist, and listen for Chris saying after the game he was disappointed to concede late in the game.
But it was a masterful show from the Magpies this afternoon, and now they are just 4 points away form the league title, but really only 3 in reality, since their goal difference is now 51 and so much better than second placed WBA who have a goal difference of 39.
It should be some consolation for Blackpool fans, that the team above them in the league, Swansea also lost this afternoon by 1-0 at Bristol City, so Blackpool remain just two points behind the Welsh side, but have a better goal difference, so there’s still hope for the playoffs..
Newcastle are now starting to completely dominate this league, late in the season, and their confidence is just sky high.
West Brom won 3-2 at Doncaster Rovers to remain 6 points behind Newcastle, who are now on 92 points and have a game hand on WBA.
A great show from the lads this afternoon, and one more home win against Ipswich, and we could see out first unbeaten home season for 103 years.