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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

  • richie

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:13 PM

    Comment #41

    dragoner wat did u think of geremi tonight?i thought he brought something to the midfield..he should start against fulham

  • GP

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:13 PM

    Comment #42

    riche – You can’t seriously think Barton played well. Honestly, you have to be taking the piss.

  • Cheeses

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:13 PM

    Comment #43

    Guys, agreed it was a shame Martins was taken off, but the way I saw it Kev was actually quite clever. Oba was drifting more and more forwards (and off to the right wing), and KK seemed to think reverting to a mid 4 would help. Zoggy certainly knows how to hold a left wing position. Granted Viduka could have been replaced, but he was producing some great hold-up play on occasion and a full match will do wonders for his fitness.

    So long as Martins has a big part in our remaining matches, I’m happy with the change – it meant we didn’t do another blackburn.

  • Dirk

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:14 PM

    Comment #44

    Team for fulham
    subs:forster, cacapa, geremi, smith, barton

  • Davies

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:17 PM

    Comment #45

    An unreserved apology to:

    Nicky Butt

    Tonight you used all of the abilities you have learned over the years for the first time this season. Though I had predicted your foul on Larrsen the minute he pushed you over, you played like the footballer you were at Man Utd for all those years. For the time being, I will stop referring to you as Licky Butt and hope you retain the composure and skill you showed tonight. Good work, well done.

    To Joey Barton

    As with Nicky Butt, tonight you looked like a player who desperately wanted to win the match. Stop getting pissed and having scraps and be what you were on the pitch tonight. Determined.

    To Kevin Keegan

    I will remain sceptical about your ability to take my team forward until you have proven yourself with silverware, however, whatever you said at half time made a the difference between a 2-0 loss and a 1-1 draw. Your man management skills may have just started to work. Well done.

    A final comment:

    The second half of this evening’s match was like watching Newcastle United play as a team for the first match in a long time. You were brilliant, but please don’t get carried away. You forced a draw with Birmingham City, you did not beat Man Utd 5-0.

    With the points required to ensure that you are a premier league team next season, you will need to double the efforts you put in in that second half.

    I don’t think that Alan Smith is a shit striker, and his level of work is unquestionable. Tonight, however, he sat the game out and things changed. Maybe he will have a brighter day in black and white when he finds his form, maybe he won’t. Keegan’s decision not to use him may have earned Newcastle a point tonight, maybe it cost us two. Who knows?

    The decision was made and at long last we scored and we didn’t lose.

    I hope that decisions come from the head in future, instead of from the heart, as there is a notable consequence of doing so. Let’s see Oba, clearly our most gifted striker, up there at the start of every game.

    In the biggest fight I have seen my club enter in my time as a supporter, I am going to need to see guts and determination to prove that you are still worthy of my support, though you will always have it if you wear the strip.

    Consider only this: When you have been sold to another club, like so much cattle, or have retired in black and white, you will no longer be a part of Newcastle United. I will still be a supporter. Earn your place in the memories of all of us who will be there long after you are.

    Thank you and goodnight. Davies (after lots of booze – sorry!)

  • daiv

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:17 PM

    Comment #46

    Great result.
    B rum away is very difficult and we showed durability.
    No Smith was a big positive.
    Barton must go against Fulham and Nzog brought in. Barton is going to jail in any case. We will and must beat Fulham. Fulham is much bigger than Brum. Brum result was important in terms of confidence.

  • GP

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:18 PM

    Comment #47

    Blackburn would have been alright it Enrique had just dived into Derbyshire. Yes he would have gotten sent off but it would have gotten us a point. He was selfish there.

  • richie

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:18 PM

    Comment #48

    he showed alot of fight and got on the ball,,im looking for positives to take..and as iv said before i think midfield is our biggest problem baron butt and geremi should satrt against fulham

    also smith can stay on the bench for rest of season

  • Tom_Toon

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:20 PM

    Comment #49

    Barton, Taylor and suprisingly Faye were the only down sides tonight Oh and Geremi’s delivery.


    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:20 PM

    Comment #50

    Any way continuing last nights discussion on summer signings:


    Is that a side or what totally unrealistic but some side.

  • richie

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:20 PM

    Comment #51

    davies i 100percent agree wit that

  • GP

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:21 PM

    Comment #52

    Carrick will only leave Man Utd if they don’t want him anymore.

  • Tom_Toon

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:22 PM

    Comment #53

    Alves Kompany Mexes Chivu
    Muntari Xavi
    Ribery van der Vaart

    With Chermiti as super sub.

  • scott9

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:23 PM

    Comment #54

    i thought we played well in the second half and desereved all three points why matins was taken of i dont now he should be the first name on the team sheat he looked class in the second half .
    i thought barton did ok and i also thought butt had a ok game although his passing was awful as usual .


    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:24 PM

    Comment #55

    Tom_Toon taylor was a more positive influence than Viduka

  • Tom_Toon

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:25 PM

    Comment #56

    Taylor was poor again, but only in a positional sense this time.


    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:25 PM

    Comment #57

    GP if Man Utd buy Veloso then Carrick will leave in my opinion.

  • islander

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:26 PM

    Comment #58

    At last KK picked up a team, that could be a winning team. Hope he stays to this team and lets them work together in the next matches and at practic. Maybe he should use N´Zogbia instead of Barton. In 2 half they worked well together as a team
    – better than I have seen for a long time. Don’t subs Martins !!


    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:28 PM

    Comment #59

    Vidukas hold up play is vital in these sort of away matches when like the first half when we were under the cosh which is why martins was subbed and viduka stayed on

    But he is so much better than that and if he starts against fulham he will score.

  • Gordon d

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:28 PM

    Comment #60

    Depending on results this weekend a win against fulham should be enough to keep us up .I am pretty sure KEEGAN (7) will get the result we need . Personally i’m 100% behind Keegan to do a good job given time he will get his own team and hopefully jump up the league into a European place.TOON TILL I DIE.

  • Steve Mills

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:31 PM

    Comment #61

    I thought we did ok, Showed good fight. and could have nicked it.
    We were dreadful in the 1st half, both centre backs were shocking. Midfield couldn’t keep possesion, Barton looked rusty, no creatviity and the front three looked all over the place. We were lucky at 1-0. Another dreadful mistake for the goal. But 2nd half we showed some fight, midfield three won the ball and owen dropped deeper. All of a sudden they were all over the place and we deservedly equalised. After that only 1 team looked like winning it. I thought bringing zog on was a good move, it meant we didn’t concede, unlike blackburn and took a point away from home. I’m pleased martins was pissed off, show some fight. If we carry on battling like that we’ll stay up.


    Good play from both fullbacks. enrique gets better and beye is no nonsense right back.
    Barton, Butt and geremi had good 2nd halves ( although set plays were dreadful)
    Martins, owen and viduka looked like they could actually play together.
    The players showed some fight and came back to rescue a point.

    Still no win
    bad defending again
    Clueless 1st half

  • GP

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:35 PM

    Comment #62

    Yeah that’s what I was thinking, wonder how much they’d want for him though…

  • Gordon d

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:38 PM

    Comment #63

    Tom Toon as much as i like your team grow up and smell the coffee.

  • richie

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:42 PM

    Comment #64

    carrick would b ideal for our midfield lets hope utd do sign 1 or 2 more mid so hes available

  • Tom_Toon

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:42 PM

    Comment #65

    who said it was realistic.

  • Toooooooooooooooooon

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:45 PM

    Comment #66

    -the whole first half
    -geremi’s corner
    -we can win the match if we work a bit harder
    -still concede like usual, steven taylor look like the one who will make mistakes

    -the whole second half
    -Owen get the ball more often, its like he is playing as and AMC
    -Martin definitely the key to our relegation battle this yr.
    -Butt,Barton i see some improvement and get the ball more…

    OVERALL i m glad we get a point but its sad that we CAN win – well we can win all the matches we ended up as a DRAW

  • Spyro

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:48 PM

    Comment #67

    rafinha vanden borre kompany marcelo
    nasri biglia gago taraabt
    aguerro vela

    subs: Bentley, Lennon, Pato, Taylor,Kameni

    what a great young first 11 that would be:

    french wingers, mexican strikers, argentinian central midfielders, centre backs from belgium and brazilian fullbacks and a russian keeper.

  • Spyro

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:49 PM

    Comment #68

    yes i know it will never happen

  • James

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:50 PM

    Comment #69

    Carrick will cost £18 million, and KK will pay it. He’s supposed to be very high on the shopping list.

  • Tom_Toon

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:54 PM

    Comment #70

    Spyro // Mar 17, 2008 at 23:48

    rafinha vanden borre kompany marcelo
    nasri biglia gago taraabt
    aguerro vela

    what a young team that would be

    french wingers, mexican strikers, argentinian central midfielders, centre backs from belgium and brazilian fullbacks


    Drags, ive got to burn your team. Vela is much better on the wing IMO. Vanden Borre is a liability at RB and him at CB?!?! Madness 😉
    Gago and Marcelo are good but no way would they be in a squad of mine.

  • CJ

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:54 PM

    Comment #71

    Aguerro is from Argentina and what is so good about Cbs from Belgium, Belgium are shit shitter than England.

  • Spyro

    Mar 17, 2008 at 11:58 PM

    Comment #72

    oh shit das right, he is argentinian, to tom toon, all i say is, they are young and if i were manager i would make them all adapt to where i put them 😉

    by the way borre is like beye and can play cb aswell

  • Spyro

    Mar 18, 2008 at 12:00 AM

    Comment #73

    CJ i just meant cb’s from belgium to stress that they are from the same country and would have a good understanding with each other, less confusion


    Mar 18, 2008 at 12:03 AM

    Comment #74

    GP I think that carrick would cost about 15million.

    KK has 50m to spend.

    If we get about 15million from sales :

    4 for smith from mackems

    1m from boro for shola

    3 for Roz from Lazio

    pompey want Viduka for 1m

    N’Zogbia if he wants to go still then we could get about 8-9m for him.

    get rid of the other losers for nowt if we cant get anything.

    Bring in :

    Cahill (if Bolton go down)
    McFadden (If brum Go down)
    Mexes (never going to happen)

    would be a great side with loads of creativity and goals from all areas.


    My wet dream tonight anyway, watching that side run out at SJP next season with local hero booming out and KK, Aurthur, Steve Round and Chris Hughton joined by Shearer and Beardsley on the bench and Pavel the ECO warrier as a goalkeeping coach.

  • CJ

    Mar 18, 2008 at 12:12 AM

    Comment #75

    I have just said Belgian cbs are shite but Phillipe Phillipe Albert is Belgian wouldn’t mind a similiar type player to him.

  • Tom_Toon

    Mar 18, 2008 at 12:15 AM

    Comment #76

    Kompany is the closest player you’ll get to Albert.

  • Leo Kompany for the Toon

    Mar 18, 2008 at 1:07 AM

    Comment #78

    well done lads, for tonight im sure you will sleep tonight with the knowlegde that you didnt give up

  • Whitt

    Mar 18, 2008 at 4:23 AM

    Comment #79

    anyone remember that time Barton won every tackle in midfield? Oh yeah, that was the 2nd half tonight.


  • hanzemre

    Mar 18, 2008 at 6:45 AM

    Comment #80

    Though Faye was bad in the 1st half on 2 or 3 occasions especially with his passings around to his mates, Taylor was poor too with his positional sense & clearance headers just that it was somehow luckily unpunished. KK must gave them some good words (or tactics?) in the dressing room but he shouldn’t sub Martins, Carroll should went in for Viduka after 60 mins. N’Zogbia for Barton as well. Even Lua Lua/Smith for Geremi after 70 mins. BTW it was better than nothing with better luck & confidence we’ll start collecting points soon.


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