The Newcastle defense again held out well on Saturday, especially in that first half, for their second clean sheet in a row.
The Taylors – Ryan congratulated by Steven after scoring
Good teams can stand up to the pressure which Newcastle endured almost continually during that first half, but with captain Fabricio Coloccini again supreme at the back for the Magpies, Newcastle held on.
And when half time came and Sunderland hadn’t made the break-through, many Newcastle fans would have thought (hoped) the lads were still in with a decent chance.
And so it proved to be, as Alan Pardew made the needed changes to the structure of the side, and Newcastle started to get the upper hand.
And of course it was a classic Ryan Taylor free-kick that floated beautifully into the top left hand corner of Mignolet’s goal, that gave Newcastle all 3 points.
Fans had wondered about the team spirit and the grit in this new Newcastle side before the game, but the lads proved on Saturday they can fight it out with the best of them, and that includes Sunderland.
Steven Taylor had another solid game alongside Coloccini, and only just failed to get his head onto Ryan’s free kick, but the ball lodged into the back of the net anyway, and the Newcastle players and fans erupted.
This is what Steven told the local Newcastle press after the game on Saturday:
“There is still a lot of spirit within this club,” “We have a small squad, but we stick together. We’re very closely knit and we’ll enjoy this result as a team.”
“In the past, that hasn’t always been the case, but we’re very close and we’ll enjoy this together. It’s going to be a fantastic night for us, just like it’s going to be for everyone in the city.
“The determination and the spirit was clear in the dressing-room beforehand. The lads knew what it was all about. If the French lads were in any doubt about what this game meant, I’m pretty sure it was knocked out of them in the warm-up. They knew what they were letting themselves in for.”
“I’ve had a few of these now and they’re still as enjoyable,” “There’s nothing better than beating Sunderland. I love playing in these games and they’re even better when you win.”
“I know what it means. It means as much to me as it does to the fans, that’s why before the game I made a point of running over to them – to make sure we were all getting into it together.”
“We know how to handle ourselves in this kind of game. We have players who know how to fight. We probably couldn’t have played any worse than we did in the first half, but they couldn’t score.”
“So we said at half-time, ‘Right, now it’s our turn to play’. We wanted to settle their crowd and we did. We got more of the ball to our attacking players and that made a difference.”
It was a very similar game to the Arsenal game the week before, with Newcastle clearly second best in that first half.
But the lads again turned it around, and gave Newcastle an unlikely victory, given that first half performance, and it’s just what the club needed to do for the fans.
Now to get at least two top players in before a week on Thursday, and we’ll be in good shape.
Howay The Lads!!