Monday 17th September 2007, 8pm
Live on Setanta
Venue: Pride Park
Admission: Ł29 (reduced from the original
when the game was moved)
1 - 0
Bywater's long clearance fell to Miller who thumped a swerving effort
beyond Harper into the top corner for what proved to be the winner. First
impressions that the 'keeper had failed to react and mistakenly thought the
shot was going over were substantiated by replays 0-1
Half time: Derby 1 Newcastle 0
Full time: Derby 1 Newcastle 0
"We didn't score when
we should have done. If you don't convert chances when you get them, it means
life can be difficult.
"We knew it was going to be a bit of a scrap because Derby were going to
fight for everything at home.
"It wasn't going to be a pretty game, and it wasn't, but when your chances come you've got to convert them.
"In the end, the opposition scored a wonder goal out of nothing- you won't see a better strike in the Premiership this
season and it's flown in the back of the net.
"Then it's got a bit frantic in the second half. Because they had
something to hang on to, we found it difficult to break them down and create
ourselves chances to get back into the game.
"Even though we had lots of pressure and possession, we didn't find the
quality to bring us an equaliser and hence, we ended up with a very
"Credit to Derby for great fighting spirit and a wonder goal, but from
our point of view, we didn't have enough quality to break the opposition down,
particularly in the second half.
"However, we'll take it on the chin, learn from it and hopefully come
Sunday, we'll be a lot better against West Ham.
"It might have been a fourth booking (for Smith), but it certainly
shouldn't have been.
"However, Alan has to calm down in terms of slide tackles, because even a
good slide tackle now seems to result in a booking these days.
"It was right in front of me – it wasn't from the side or behind. It
was straight in front and straight through the ball. You can't not hit the man
when you play the ball, but referees seem to think those are yellow cards
today, or they're told to give a yellow card, which is pretty sad.
"If he deserved to get booked for a rash tackle, then fine. But I didn't
think it was.
“We think we should have
had a penalty just prior to them scoring because Leacock hauled down David
Rozehnal at a corner.
"The referee was right in line and didn’t give it, then they went down
the field and won it with a wonder goal. There’s nothing you can do about
someone who strikes a ball like that.
"The really disappointing thing for me was we got a bit too frantic in
the second half and tried to push forward too quickly. We should have been a
little more patient in terms of trying to break Derby down, but didn’t
create the kind of chances in the second half that might have got us back into
always going to be a scrap against Derby. They were always going to be fired
up after waiting for the game to come around following their Liverpool defeat.
I always thought they would spend a lot of their energy closing us down and
that’s what they did. To beat that you have to score when your chances come.
Our best two chances came early on for David Rozehnal and Shola Ameobi and
they didn’t even hit the target.”
"He (Owen) felt his groin at
half-time. I gave him the opportunity to go back on because he wanted to but I
didn't want to risk him for longer than five or 10 minutes and we took him off
as a precaution.
"We need him to to be fit because we
have too many injured as it is. We need to get our whole squad together.
need the Mark Vidukas, the Joey Bartons, the Damien Duffs, the Jose Enriques,
even the Celestine Babayaros.
"Michael was one of 14
players away on international duty last week and none of them have performed
like they did before they left. I don’t suppose Billy Davies had too many
international players away (he actually had eight), certainly not as may as we had. If you had got two
weeks to work at things, it has to be an advantage.
to seek that advantage in the early stages of my time at Bolton. When bigger
teams came to play us in the week following an international break we always
fancied our chances. Our players didn’t hit their best and suffered the
consequences. It was a wonder goal that beat them, but we were not pleased in
"We have a six-day, three-game
week coming up. We've been dealt a blow by the Premier League because of the
Carling Cup match.
"We've been told we have to play on
Tuesday night after playing West Ham on Sunday so it's my turn to moan now
rather than the big boys.
"We have a very difficult week ahead
of us and I just hope we have enough men to cope."
Nicky Butt spoke about this
game and our next fixture:
"It's going to be a test of our character on Sunday, although we can't
dwell on losing this game for too long. We have to move on and show how good
we are at the weekend. I'm sure all the former Newcastle boys will be
desperate to prove a point. When you return to your old team, you always want
to prove people wrong, I'm sure they'll want to do that but we have enough
quality in our team and hopefully this will be the kick up the backside we
need. Teams lose games. Obviously we're disappointed but we have to put things
right against West Ham. They have a few lads that we know well.
"It's one of those games that we're
going to have to put behind us and move on. We didn't play anything like we
should have done, but hopefully it's just a blip and we can still move
forward. We put some pressure onto them but we weren't at the races from the
word go. The most important thing is that we don't make this worse. We'll have
to have a look at the video, analyse what we've done wrong and move on from
"We'll find out if it was one of
those nights or not when we play the next game, but hopefully it was. We
weren't at the races from the word go and we didn't do anything that we wanted
to. Hopefully, we can put it behind us and move on. It's all we can do really.
"I don't think you can say we
deserved to win. To be honest, I don't even think we deserved to get a point.
They came at us and tried to spoil is, we gave them something to hold onto and
they held onto it for the rest of the game. For us just to have one shot on
target is very disappointing given the talent that we've got.
"I think the game was a bit of an
embarrassment to be honest. No disrespect to Derby, but they're not one of the
top guns. We didn't prove ourselves against them though and we've only got
ourselves to blame for that. It's doubly disappointing because we started the
season well and we could have got ourselves up at the top of the table if we
had done well against Derby. It wasn't to be. We didn't play well enough to
get any points so we have to congratulate them.
"You would think we would have had
the players to have been able to cope with what Derby threw at us. We have
enough quality to be able to handle a team that works hard against us and
never lets up. We didn't do that though. I can't think of one player that
played anywhere near the level that they are used to."
Rams Boss Billy Davies commented:
"It was a special goal, a wonderful
strike from an instinctive striker.
“Kenny is an infectious character around
the training ground and on the pitch, and I am sure he is going to be a great
asset to this club.
“He scored a great goal but his
performance was about more than just the goal. He showed great passion and
“I was not concerned at all and I have
been saying it will take us time to find our feet.
“We have taken one or two punches in the
face to wake us up.
“How much belief will the win give us?
It is a great three points and a great performance against a team that was
unbeaten and will be challenging for a top-six finish.
“Newcastle have some extremely good
players but we caused them a lot of problems.
“We worked hard, played with pace and defended very well. We were good value
for the win. We could have scored four or five.
“I am delighted with the first win but
more importantly the way we played.
“Kenny is still struggling a bit for
match fitness. I said to him at half time he had to let us know how he was
because we did not want to push him too far but it was nice to get as much as
we did from him.
"He is what he is. He's an international striker and he's scored goals at
"He has the ability and the pace we
need. We identified plenty of other players and we are disappointed we haven't
got one or two more but that is for very different reasons.
"I'm certainly delighted to have
Ex-Mag Andy Griffin
"Derby got the result, but unfortunately it was against my old club,
"I'm not happy that I've got one over on my old club – far from it. I
have no animosity against Newcastle – I loved it up there and I couldn't
speak more highly of the people up there and the football club.
"I enjoyed it and I wish them good luck and I hope they bounce back.
"We knew it wouldn't be easy. You look at the team sheet, and then you
look at the bench, and you know they have quality throughout. Newcastle's
sides have always had quality players.
"Hopefully, the good times under Sam Allardyce can arrive at the club
again. It would be great to see them back in the top three or four.
"At this point in time, though, it's disappointing for them. Hopefully,
they'll bounce back, and I think they can do that with the quality they have
in the team."
Our first competitive defeat of the season came at the fourth time
of asking (fifth including the Carling Cup victory).
Toon @ Pride Park - Premiership Years:
2001/02 Won 3-2 Robert, Dyer, LuaLua
2000/01 Lost 0-2
1999/00 Drew 0-0
1998/99 Won 3-4 Speed 2, Ketsbaia, Solano
1997/98 Lost 0-1
1997/98 Won 1-0 Tomasson (LC)
1996/97 Won 1-0 Shearer
(96/97 fixture at The Baseball Ground)
Total record against Derby:
Two debutants - messrs Faye and
Beye, taking the total number of players to have appeared
for us in the Premiership to 136.
Three live Premiership games on Setanta so far this season and we're yet
to win one.
In equal parts predictable and frustrating, this Monday night torture left
Toon fans in the ground and watching on TV bemused, becalmed and more than a tad
peed off as our decent start to the season melted away.
A non-performance that was an unwanted return to the flawed administrations of
messrs Souness and Roeder gave Allardyce plenty to chew over, as the team
selected misfired in a game that they had been widely tipped to
The ingredients were there - opponents who had failed to win a top-flight game
since their return and were coming off the back of a six goal howking. An old
boy (Andy Griffin) in the ranks and a self-confessed Magpie nut (Durham-born
For our part there was the nation's favourite striker fresh from his cantering
round Wembley and giving TV viewers a glimpse of his wonderful life the
previous day, as football writers fell over themselves to pen "back and
better than ever" missives.
And for the manager, there was a first taste of life at this club when things
don't go to plan - cue the expected "honeymoon over" lines.
In the event "Fred West" didn't maim anyone and the boyhood fan missed
two golden chances to get off the mark in the top flight and have something to
tell his bairns about in years to come.
But debutant Miller provided the difference between this being a scoreless draw
with a goal that, while not quite in the same class as his fellow Scot McFadden's
recent high-profile effort, was still a stonker.
While our stylistic shortcomings will be picked up by many, what will have
depressed Sam as much as his injury tribulations was the fact that his side
didn't want this as much as the Derby lads - all the fancy diets and
conditioning programmes in the world won't give players an appetite.
Those who labelled us as a Bolton clone this evening were off the mark, failing
to appreciate how disorganised we were - physically intimidated and inert from
Once the initial anger subsided though, a sense of proportion hopefully returned
ahead of the visit of West Ham and trips to Arsenal and Manchester City - a big
week in anyone's calendar, with an important Cup avenue and two of our supposed
rivals in the revivalist stakes. Not the time to go off-message.
Pride Park cometh before a fall then? From the South Stand that viewpoint seemed
to have some validity, certainly when considering the non-displays of Owen and
The booing that accompanied the departure of the latter from the field was more
an expression of frustration with Ameobi - Owen certainly wasn't at the
races, but Shola was bloody dreadful - more the performance of a man giving up
rather than straining to win a regular starting place.
Big man, little man may be his desired front pairing, but Sam has seen now first-hand that Ameobi
doesn't punch his weight. Frankly, we could have done better up front by going
four junctions down the M1 and taking Carl Cort from Leicester back for one
Things went from bad to worse when the second half brought no discernible
improvement and even less to worry Bywater in the Rams goal, with Martins no
better than what he replaced.
Bewildering substitutions seemed to confuse those brought on and left on in
equal measure, with alleged contract rebel Taylor uncomfortable when trying to
push forward from right back and the deeply concerning sight of Rozehnal trying
to make the plays.
So, a bad night at the office/races/dogs/whatever, but no more than that - and
hopefully a timely hoof in the derriere.
However, a quick refresher of our reports this season to date brings forth some
familiar issues that remain to be addressed.
The square peg/round hole scenario still applies to both N'Zogbia and Smith, the
former unable to provide an alternative to Milner's flank work and the latter
exhibiting his frustration at being moored in a no-man's land of a position by
launching into opponents to earn yellow cards.
The enforced Geremi/Butt pairing still echoes the Parker/Butt mismatch of last
season - with a handy reminder of the lack of current options in that area
coming in the shape of Pattison sitting on the bench, while defenders were
brought on to try and turn round a deficit.
Beye and Faye's first taste of life in Toon was nothing to savour, but at least
they've now started the process of integration with their new colleagues -
something that Enrique needs to do.
Still the earliest of early days then, with so much remaining to be done in
terms of moulding the raw material brought in at regular intervals up to
seventeen days before this game. It's fair to say that the cement is still wet.
Sunday promises to be very interesting - not so much for the easy lines of
returning ex-Magpies but more for the behaviour of the home fans if things don't
instantly come good.
The sweeping changes at this club were never going to instantly bring about the
success that we all crave - in the same way that the new eras at Villa, Man City
etc. have seen and will continue to see good and bad days.
In the bonkers world of the Premiership, three bad results next week would
see a welter of negative headlines about Allardyce, Ashley, Owen and all the
But just because over-paid clowns let loose on keyboards and microphones will
relish swiping at us, there's no reason for those who follow this club to go
along with the knockers.
For better to try and remain in positive mode - not giving underachievers and shirkers an easy ride,
but acknowledging effort and providing encouragement.
The clue is in the word - supporters.