13 mins: A scarcely believable catalogue of
errors: Taylor's back pass to Given was intercepted by Radzinski. He found
Boa Morte and the former Toon target turned the ball across goal.
As both Bramble and
Boumsong slipped, McBride had the simple task of knocking the ball into the empty Gallowgate
Half time: Newcastle 0 Fulham 1
78 mins: Owen trickery on the right hand side
of the box saw him waltz round two visiting players and flick the ball to
Boa Morte's left, while taking the opposite route and tumbling over.
Substitute N'Zogbia curled a superb free kick high into the top left
hand corner of the net and over the helpless Warner. 1-1
Full time: Newcastle 1 Fulham 1
Graeme Souness commented:
"I would have preferred to have
played Michael's first game away from home - the occasion maybe got to us a
little bit with all the hype that was going on.
us until the second half to get going. They were better than us in the first
half - they were first to everything.
second, we managed to exert some pressure on them, but we seem to be taking one
step forward and one back - or even two back - at the moment.
referring to Luque, who has done yet another hamstring. He's got what Bob
Paisley used to call `a six-weeker'."
didn't really get any real supply to Michael (Owen) today.
them getting the goal - not a good goal to concede on our part - they defended
quite deep, and that's not best suited to Michael.
players are disappointed - they wanted to win today. Disappointed because we
have not played particularly well and disappointed because we did not get three
On the sending off:
have been in to see the referee and told him that Claus Jensen
has said he wasn't pulled back and we will have to wait to see
how he (Wiley) views it now.
has said what he has said and Scott Parker has said that, when
he realised he had a hand on him, he lifted it up in the air
but didn't pull him."
Michael Owen commented:
was a great occasion - but while you dream of a great start,
with a goal and a win, it wasn't meant to be.
sure there will be plenty of those to come though. It was one
of those games when you get encouragement but then something
goes against you.
got back into the game and were ready to have a go at them
late on with the crowd behind us but then got a man sent off.
But we didn't do badly to get a point considering we had 10
men at the end."
Fulham chief Chris Coleman
"We were making chances and if we got
the second goal we could have gone on and scored three or four like last year."
"We've got to build on that. We had a good performance against Everton,
we've come here and taken a point but we've gained more than a point in my eyes
- it was a fantastic performance
"Last year were didn't deserve to come here and win 4-1, Newcastle were by
far the better team. Today we deserved to win, we were the better team but
sometimes you don't get what you deserve. I thought it was a great performance
by us and I'm delighted with the players.
"You know what the crowd are like here, if they'd have scored early doors
we could have been in a bit of trouble but I thought our centre backs were
outstanding, they kept Michael and Alan very quite the whole game. When the ball
did get to them, we defended very well.
"We can't compete in the transfer market with Newcastle
but we can on the pitch when our players put up a performance
like that in their backyard.
"It was another wonder strike that beat us and you can't do anything about
them. Tony Warner's a bit disappointed because he thought it was going over the
"We missed a few chances but to be fair to the guys, they're getting in
there now. Our midfield boys are gambling more, they're pushing forward and not
holding back. We look more dangerous overall and we played some lovely
Our first Premiership goal of the season
arrived after 438 minutes of trying.
Premiership debut for Michael Owen, who becomes the 118th
player to appear for us in that competition.
Souness @ NUFC Premiership record: P38, W9, D14, L15
@ SJP, Premiership
01/02 drew 1-1 Dyer
02/03 won 2-0 Solano, Bellamy
03/04 won 3-1 O'Brien, Speed, Robert
04/05 lost 1-4 Bellamy
We've now gone 7 home games since a home victory (2
losses, 5 draws, 2 goals).
And so the big
Amid an avalanche of publicity and expectation, the signing that had propelled
us back to public prominence started work in his new job.
Of course we'd
seen it all before, from Malcolm to Kevin to Alan - and always with a golden
beginning, if not the much-craved happy ending. Not this time though.
Having played his first game of the season in what will in years to come be an
infamous night at Windsor Park, Michael Owen was anxious to impress but as he
admitted himself, lacking in match fitness.
And although he was too polite to say so publicly (unlike the previous incumbent
in the Newcastle number ten shirt), even a £16m man couldn't work miracles with
some of the tools he was handed to work with.
Owen may not have been as familiar with the script that unfurled itself as
100,000 black and white eyes watching, but from the halfway line he doubtless
had the same sinking feeling as the rest of us when Given picked the ball out of
the net before our new boy had touched the ball.
At least he now knows what he's come to and that there's no time to work on
fitness or form - the time is now, the pressure is on instantly. Welcome to
Tyneside, Michael, you'll earn your money with this lot.
As Robson was obsessed with Gus Poyet, so Souness seems to be similarly in
thrall to Luis Boa Morte - urging his employers on to purchase him and when that
failed, reshaping his side to counteract the surges down the left that cut us to
ribbons in this game last season.
The tactical solution was to push Carr forward and tuck Taylor in behind him,
bringing Bramble back in to partner Boumsong.
On paper this was a reasonable ploy, but
one which failed as it relied on Bramble being instantly up to speed after his
lay-off (he wasn't). It also moved Taylor from a position where he was just starting
to show some solidity - and show up big money Boumsong in the
Unfortunately Carr was unable to replicate the right midfield role that Jenas
had filled a year previously to cut out Southampton's Fernandes.
The defensive bit wasn't too bad, but when called upon to go forward, the role
was totally alien to him.
A similar comment could be made of Faye, who found himself in more advanced
positions than usual, but seemed daunted by the whole occasion.
Bought as a squad player, Faye simply adds nothing to our side and today we
would surely have been better off with either Clark or Bowyer grafting from the
first whistle, rather than coming to try and put things right retrospectively.
By contrast, Fulham's fluid movement caused us constant problems as they swarmed
forward in numbers, utilising that old-fashioned push and run trick.
Certainly the blueprint for beating us at home seems clear - simply play with
more than one up front and be able to commit players of sufficient mobility to
get forward and back. And make no mistake, Fulham should have won this game, in
contrast to last season's game when they somehow left with the points. There's
probably some sort of perverse justice there.
By contrast we seemed ponderous for much of the contest, unable to coherently
work the ball forward - two fluid passing moves from 90 minutes of action is
simply not sufficient.
seemingly going our way, Luque off on a stretcher and Taylor feeling the effects
of wrapping himself round a goalpost, we were perhaps relieved that the interval
arrived with us only one behind - as we had been at the same stage last season.
Certainly the crowd seemed as stunned as the team in the first half, with
Shearer again totally anonymous and looking as drained of energy and confidence
as any of his colleagues.
Despite the fact this game wasn't live on Sky, we seemed intent on playing the
ball in the air - perhaps the lack of communication between players is so acute
that some of our number think we actually signed Jan Koller on
Three words - Brain-dead football. Three more - not good enough.
So, one brief moment of joy in 450 minutes of toil thus far in 2005/06 - hardly
the stuff of dreams and more fodder for the anti-toon brigade in the media, who
doubtless took great delight in reporting the awfullness of the situation Owen
has come into.
The unpalatable reality for Souness is that when his first choice selection is
unavailable, he's been so far unable to fashion a side from the remainder of his
squad that is capable of creating goalscoring chances.
continued unavailability of those "big" players is due to bad buying
policy, bad luck, dodgy training methods or some other explanation is open to question - but
for this club to pay £16m for a player with a record of hamstring problems is a
disaster waiting to happen....
We now have to go Blackburn with a depleted midfield and attempt to gain our
first ever Premiership win at Ewood, with a certain Craig Bellamy doubtless
desperate to increase the discomfort of the manager who ended his career on
In more relaxed circumstances we'd be able to at least try and shore up the side
for a point, but even at this stage that option doesn't look open to us.
the pressure is no bad thing though, if it instills a sense of urgency and
focuses the wayward minds of our players. We need to put the bunting away and
just get on with it.
While the hype centred on our signing of Owen, at this point in time the second
coming of Solano looks to be as vital, as we desperately require some touch and
vision in midfield.
Someone has to galvanise whatever midfield we put out, if Shearer and Owen are not
to be totally redundant.
But for the whole lot of them playing the ball on the ground,
moving and passing to each other would be a start - that's not really too much
to ask for, regardless of who plays - is it?