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FT: Birmingham 1 Newcastle 1 – Magpies Fight Back!

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This was a game of two halves with Birmingham the better and more decisive team in the first period, and they were good value for their 1-0 interval lead.

But whatever Keegan said to the team at the break certainly had the desired effect as the team came back from the dead in the second period to equalize with a good opportunist goal from Michael Owen.


Michael Owen – captain’s vital goal keeps Newcastle alive

Newcastle came storming back in the second half and not only equalized but will probably count themselves unlucky not to have taken all 3 points, given their fighting and gutsy performance after the beak.

It was nail biting stuff, that’s for sure.

Newcastle looked very tentative in the first half and it was Birmingham. who had the better of the early chances. In fact in the first half Newcastle didn’t really carve out a real chance although Owen fired over from about 30 yards.

Newcastle once again gave away a sloppy goal, as Abdoulaye Faye was far too easily beaten when James McFadden got the ball from the left wing, and easily beat Faye, about 10 yards out, to fire home easily past the helpless Steve Harper.

Harper looked furious that Newcastle had given away yet another poor goal. In the first half McFadden was giving Newcastle, and Faye in particular, a torrid time and he looked a match winner in the first 45 minutes. McFadden is a very improved player this season.

In the first half Newcastle were playing some nice football but still looked as fragile as they looked against Liverpool. And they continue to make a habit of giving away sloppy goals.

Given that our team has scored just 4 goals in 9 games under Kevin Keegan (Owen has 3 of those), it’s hard for our team to win if we concede just one goal.

Newcastle trudged off at half time, and things were not looking good, to say the least.

But Newcastle came back from the dead and played with some spirit in the second half.  What was also noticeable was that they looked very fit, as they piled the pressure on Birmingham.  Against Fulham we must keep a clean sheet through the first 45 minutes and then maybe we can push for a good win.

In the 56th minute Oba Martins and Michael Owen were working well together inside the penalty box and the ball ran loose to Oba, who put in a beautiful low drive on the turn that Taylor parried to his right. Michael Owen was in like a shot to put the ball in the back of the net. In the process Michael beat two Birmingham defenders to the ball.

If anybody doubts Owen’s speed off the mark look ate this replay where he gives 2 years on the Birmingham defenders and still pokes the ball in the net.

After 81 minutes Keegan made a strange substitution bringing on N’Zogbia for …. Oba Martins. That was a little weird since Oba looked Newcastle’s most dangerous player in the second. Why not take off Viduka, who was making his first appearance for several weeks?

Oba to us is looking to be the odd man out at Newcastle, and we shouldn’t surprised if he sees th writing on the wall and leaves Newcastle in the summer. He was not happy at being brought off and we don’t blame him one little bit, because he probably thought he could get the winner for Newcastle tonight.

But make no mistake about it, this was a crucial point for Newcastle, and to their credit in the second half showed fight, spirit and skill and this match should provide them with confidence for the visit of Fulham on Saturday.

We must say that a defeat tonight would have wrecked the team, not to mention the supporters. This is a game in which we dodged a bullet. A defeat would have put Birmingham ahead of us in the league, but we now remain above them and are now 4 points from the the drop zone.

Comments welcome.

81 comments so far

  • ObaFan2

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:20 PM

    Comment #1

    Ed, 110 yards out, he he what a goal that’d be 🙂

  • Mson

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:21 PM

    Comment #2

    Well match died after we had them in their keepers knees when martis was subed :((. Should have taken all points today…

    harper – 6
    enrique – 7
    taylor – 4
    faye – 5
    beye – 6
    barton – 4
    butt – 4
    geremi – 5
    martins – 8
    owen – 6
    viduka – 5

  • Jack

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:21 PM

    Comment #3

    I think 2 wins will be enough to stay up. Hopefully against Fulham and Reading.

  • Howie

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:21 PM

    Comment #4

    owen is still a class act. that 3 prolonged attack was ok. martins displayed something which i was worried he didnt have. a footballing brain. he was quality. midfield not great but geremi vastly improved and butt and barton fought hard. enrique was good tonight aswell. overall a lot more positives than negatives imo.

  • Howie

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:22 PM

    Comment #5

    ed macfaddens good but not that good

  • ScottyT

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:24 PM

    Comment #6

    agree with that first half we were dire awful pathetic and we didnt look like scoring but second half was like a different team as i said on my earlier posts shame we couldnt have nicked it.

    faye had a very poor first half imo kept getting skinned by mcfadden way too easily and yh he was clearly at fault for the goal. jose was poor 1st half as well but livened up 2nd half. also agree bout owen he was behind 3 or 4 b’ham players nd still got there before them.

    wouldnt have taken martins off mind he looked lively second half. barton geremi and butt no creativity there though butt played decent. barton shite as usual and geremi wernt great specially with crosses.

    all in all a decent point i spose but just makes the fulham game on satday even more important. (btw anyone know why duff wasnt in the squad)


  • IanG

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:24 PM

    Comment #7

    Great to watch in the second – Martins was great in the 2nd half and clearly unhappy at being subbed but a good second half performance and high work rate from the team. Felt Barton was a yard too slow though and Geremi’s corners and general supply was poor but I think if we can play like that for the full 90 we should be home and dry.

  • Howie

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:25 PM

    Comment #8

    mson i think your being harsh there. harper 7, beye 8, taylor 6. faye 5, enrique 8, butt 7, barton 6, geremi 6 ( would have given a 7 but for poor crosses), martins 8, owen 7, viduka 6.

  • ObaFan2

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:25 PM

    Comment #9

    mson, though Taylor had one of his better games and Faye one of his worst.

    Barton terrible, Butt a little better.

    Geremi bad and Duke off the pace and his touch bad but still held onto the ball occasionally.

    Martins always a danger and Owen two great chances and scored one.

    Beye MOTM imo and Enrique getting better all the time.

  • Simon P

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:26 PM

    Comment #10

    Faye, Barton and Geremi were shockingly poor.
    Why was Martins subbed…?

    We were rubbish and I am very very worried…

  • richie

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:26 PM

    Comment #11

    prob should have won, good man owen on the goal, doesn suprise me one bit, he;s a proven goalscorer

    martins very good,id go 4 3 3 at home and go at fulham from the start as if our lives depended on it ,,

  • marcus owen

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:28 PM

    Comment #12

    Why sub Martin instead of Viduka or Barton? I thought Martin is the most effective player on the field. We should have all 3 points tonight.

  • ToonKing

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:29 PM

    Comment #13

    The team was decent tonight, so was the gameplay. Nothing to spot there.
    Owen was impressive, i don’t care what anybody says about him, you can see that he cares about us and fought for everything today.
    Martins was also a positive, he played good.
    Even Geremi and Butt pleased me today.

    On the downside, Barton was tits, Faye had an unusually shaky game, Taylor was clowning again.
    But the biggest let down for me today was KK. Subbing Oba was and inadmissive act in my eyes. I didn’t want him, but was happy when he came, but with every game he’s just loosing the plot more and more. Today the players got the draw.
    I really hope he can get his act together.

  • JJ

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:30 PM

    Comment #14

    Common Mson, Harper was fantastic!

    Harper – 8
    Enrique – 8
    Taylor – 6
    Faye – 5
    Barton -5
    Butt – 6
    Geremi – 6 (only cos his corners were crap)
    Owen – 7.5
    Martin – 8.5
    Viduka – 6

  • JJ

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:30 PM

    Comment #15

    left out Beye – 7

  • Eamonn

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:31 PM

    Comment #16

    Enrique’s best game for us? Great to see him getting forward , wouldn’t have been doing that under Sam!

  • ObaFan2

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:31 PM

    Comment #17

    I’m as disappointed as anyone having Oba subbed but it didn’t cost us 3 points, maybe look at it that it saved us the one point!!!!!!

    10 minutes to go and a fresh pair of legs but Birmingham pushed us right to the final whistle.

    Would have loved all 3 points but happy with a draw and a point so stop whining 😀 .

  • piman

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:32 PM

    Comment #18

    richie – our lives do depend on it!

    come on saturday…

  • ToonRich

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:33 PM

    Comment #19

    I would have taken a 1-1 result before the game, but seeing a different performance from the lads in the 2nd half I was a little disappointed we didnt manage to nick a 2nd goal – Duke showed why he should play, held the ball well when he did get it to feet, but pretty slow to make a pass. I’d have liked to have seen charlie on earlier, i think we’d have killed them off putting him on earlier for Barton and kept Martins on.

    Yeah ok MO missed a very good chance, but least he was there to put in his goal! He and Oba seemed to gel well when attacking at pace together.
    I agree with Howie on the player ratings 🙂

  • Spyro a.k.a Dragoner

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:34 PM

    Comment #20

    the difference between barton, geremi and the rest of the team is that those two had their f****n ipods switched on at half time, both were poor throughout. Enrique was class second half and he really showed what he is worth.

  • Ile

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:39 PM

    Comment #21

    I think Barton’s display was terrible and I was bit amazed that he wasn’t replaced by N’Zogbia. Also Viduka was poor.

  • Darryl

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:39 PM

    Comment #22

    Worst players on the pitch were Faye, barton and viduka. Barton.. what the hell is he doing? I think hes playing in the black and white stripes.. to see how he looks before he goes to jail.

  • ToonKing

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:40 PM

    Comment #23

    Saturday 22nd of March 2008, Fulham home, Judgment Day

  • Ausgeordie

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:43 PM

    Comment #24

    Geremi looked crap in the first half but got going eventually Owen should have gone off with Martins staying on and Zogbia providing the crosses. Faye is not as good as everyone is saying.

  • James

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:46 PM

    Comment #25

    McLeish just gave an interview to say the difference between the two sides was Owen. He said his defenders told him after the game they couldn’t pick him up cause one minute he was behind them, the next going deep. He described him as a handful.

    I must say in the second half Owen led by example. He really got the team going. A terrific captain’s display and excellent goal (beating 5 defenders to the ball even though he started his run behind all of them).

    Man of the match was without question Enrique who was simply immense. One of the best displays by any player all season.

    Bring on Fulham!

  • GP

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:47 PM

    Comment #26

    Owen did very well, if you disagree you are wrong. Viduka should have come off because he can’t last an entire game and I think Carroll could have gotten a goal or at least made one.

  • Spyro a.k.a Dragoner

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:50 PM

    Comment #27

    Faye is good, he has jus been off of it lately, on his day he is immense

  • Bobby Ollox

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:51 PM

    Comment #28

    The first half was just awful, but as people keep saying, it is all about confidence, and they have none.

    Now see what happened when we got our tails up after scoring – the pace stepped up a gear, there were more completed passes , players moving into space, more fighting for the ball.

    Now if we had scored in that 15 minutes after equalising, we would have gone on to walk the match, and I think it would have spilled over into the rest of the season. As it is, the confidence will have taken a knock again.

    It was still awful, nowhere near good enough…

  • Spyro a.k.a Dragoner

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:51 PM

    Comment #29

    agree 100% James

  • Darryl

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:52 PM

    Comment #30

    Yeah agree, Carroll should have been given 10minutes. The few minutes he was on against manu, showed what a great touch he has. Viduka just seemed to have the touch of a brick wall for most of the game, nothing was going for him.

  • m.

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:52 PM

    Comment #31

    great to see that KK discovered that Smith can’t trap a bag of sand.

  • thelongshanks

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:52 PM

    Comment #32

    I didnt think id admit it but butt was very good 2nite,shows alot about smith haha.If he gets back into the team i will cry.Martins was class but understand him taking of a striker.It was between owen and martins cuz viduka was holding the ball to run down the clock.A point is a good result away from home and birmingham were playin well last few games.3 points at fulham or else this draw is wasted.

  • roscoe

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:59 PM

    Comment #33

    harper – 7
    beye – 7
    enrique – 7.5
    faye – 5
    taylor -5
    geremi – 6.5
    martins – 8.5
    butt – 7
    barton – 6
    owen – 8
    viduka – 6
    nzog – 7

    game on sat-
    beye faye cacapa enrique
    geremi butt emre nzog
    owen oba

    howay the lads….
    3 points at st James’s

  • richie

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:59 PM

    Comment #34

    butt was outstanding, and to a lessor extent i think barton and enrique played well

    i think confidence is an issue,,,players looked like diff. players 2nd half

  • Yeomsta

    Mar 17, 2008 at 10:59 PM

    Comment #35

    Good result, bring on Fulham!

    But on a side note; Martin’s deserves better, I like him as a player and for the sake of his career he needs to put in a transfer request and go somewhere he will be appreciated. I’m genuinley p*ssed off at the way he’s been treated by BSA and KK this season.

  • Spyro a.k.a Dragoner

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:01 PM

    Comment #36

    the way the media are talking about todays result is really disappointing. Even though birmingham are below us and closer to relegation they still say stuff like “Newcastle claimed a vital point in their desperate struggle to avoid relegation”…no mention of birmingham . I really do not know why people down here want The Toon to fail

  • James

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:02 PM

    Comment #37

    Above all other things, let’s remember this day as the one that KK FINALLY DROPPED SMITH! Never thought it would happen, and we looked so better for it.

    Bringing off Martins was the right thing to do because one of the defenders was trying to hack him constantly and I feared an injury coming on. He was also drifting inside when he needed to hold onto the ball. Charlie was the right option.

    And there was no way you could take Owen off. He was the reason we got back into the game, and the reason we nearly won it. A very Shearer like performance from him. Same again on Sat and his goals will send Fulham packing

  • Spyro a.k.a Dragoner

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:06 PM

    Comment #38

    Can some one please check out the setanta ratings and stats and explain to me how the stats show we were the better team overall, yet birmingham players have the better ratings? How does that make sense?!


  • Spyro a.k.a Dragoner

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:07 PM

    Comment #39

    Bolton have the most HORRIFIC fixtures left and they will go down. Fulham are the only risk now, we beat them this saturday and i think they are done for, COME ON LADS!


    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:12 PM

    Comment #40

    KK left owen on because he was looking dangerous and is our safe bet for a goal and Viduka was left on to keep the ball if the side were under pressure.

    Barton was kept on to make a 442 with geremi and zog on the wings, as brum had us on the back foot at the time and we were too open.

    You say KK doesnt know tactics well i thought that was good tactics take the 1 point and not risk going with nothing like we did against blackburn by pushing on too much.

    It was a good point, one i would have taken prior to kick off and some of the players Butt included played very well, Same again against fulham and we will win and against Reading and sunderland and we stay up simple really…

    Dragoner go back to your normal name, you sound like a camp, purple, little ponce.

    And some of the ratings are bizarre:

    Harper 7
    Beye 7
    Taylor 6
    Faye 5
    Enrique 7
    Geremi 6
    Butt 7
    Barton 3
    Martins 7
    Owen 7
    Viduka 4


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