It was a game of two halves last night, with Newcastle looking abysmal in the first half, tentative and without much spirit either, but after a rollicking in the dressing room at half time from Alan Pardew, which our players had thoroughly deserved – Newcastle came back with an excellent show in that second half with two Demba Ba goals, but we also had luck on our side.
Demba Ba – after scoring Newcastle’s second goal
In the 79th minute Everton had seemed to score through Anichebe, but once again the officials got it wrong, and for games being televised live around the world , some of these decisions are becoming a bit of a laughing stock, and the sooner FIFA introduces goal line technology the better.
For whatever reason UEFA Present Michel Platini opposes the technology, even after Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal against Germany in the World Cup, which was about six yards over the line.
And it wasn’t only the Anichebe header where Everton were on the wrong end of decisions last night, but Fellaini also had a goal disallowed for offside, but it looked like he was level, and it should have counted – but the referee assistants nearly always give the doubt to the defenses, and hardly ever not flag if the forward is level.
But that’s not the rules – although that’s how it used to be in the olden days.
So yes Newcastle had some luck last night, but to leave it there would be taking away an excellent second half performance from Newcastle, when the introduction of a lively Demba Ba made all the difference.
Ba had been surprisingly left on the subs bench at the start of the game, as Newcastle played in a defensive 4-5-1 formation with only Papiss Cisse up front.
And just after the Anichebe incident Ben Arfa was roaring through the middle of the field when Steven Pienaar fouled him, but Ben Arfa kept his balance and continued to move forward, only for the referee to stop play and bring the ball back for a free kick to Newcastle – woeful refereeing and it could have cost Newcastle a goal.
Newcastle were back somewhere near their best in that second half last night, and although it may sound a bit daft to say this – we could also have won the game as Cisse had two chances he missed and Ben Arfa was clear through in the inside left position with only Tim Howard to beat, but the American goalkeeper made a dent double save.
But the fighting performance in that second half is just what we needed, and that will bring more confidence back into the side, which seemed to be lacking in that pitiful first half performance.
Now we need to beat Maritimo on Thursday night in Madeira, and then get all three points at home on Sunday afternoon against Chris Hughton’s Norwich City.
If we can do that, things will look a whole lot better on Tyneside.