Butt's tackle on Halmosi in the box was deemed a penalty and Marlon King
stepped up to force the ball past Given 0-1
Half time: Newcastle 0 Hull 1
55 mins Halmosi was involved again, threading a diagonal pass into the
Newcastle half for King to stride onto in acres of space before rifling home
a low effort
82 mins N'Zogbia's low effort from the edge of the area came back off a
post and Xisco converted the rebound from close range at the
Gallowgate End. 1-0
Our headline summed it up: "That was
the wake that was...."
Disasters off the pitch were
mirrored by events on it, as a team thumped 5-0 by Wigan in their last Premier
League game, left Tyneside with all three points.
Pre-match demos on an unprecedented scale had seen fans gather in their
thousands outside Milburn Reception, while others took their protests onto the
T-shirts and banners were the order of the day, with Ashley and Wise the focus
of the vocal discontent. Inside the stadium though it was a different matter,
with Hull's grey kit as sombre as the mood amongst home fans.
Buoyant Tigers followers
meanwhile ended up celebrating their first-ever top-flight away victory and
rubbed it in with chants directed at miserable home fans, including "you
should've stayed outside" and "are you Grimsby in
Hull boss Phil Brown also entered into the spirit of things, obeying requests
from his fans to give them a wave - which inevitably led to requests for
Keegan to comply...
And for their mackem-supporting manager it was a double revenge mission, not
only putting one over on the club whose followers allegedly gave him a kicking
in his youth, but striking a blow for his big pal Sam Allardyce.
But it could have been a very different result as Guthrie, Owen and Xisco all
missed excellent first half chances to give us the lead - on a day when a goal
was desperately needed to lift the solemn mood.
That was before we conceded a third penalty in as many games, Butt following
Taylor and N'Zogbia's recent handball transgressions with a challenge on the
Given had saved from Nolan at the same (Gallowgate) end in the last home game,
but although the 'keeper went the right way and got hand to it, Marlon King's
effort went in via the upright.
Half time news that Titus Bramble had put through his own net to give the
mackems the lead merely added to the gloom, but rather than improving after
the break we conceded and lost any shape or cohesion.
far the most visible protest in ground was a "Cockney Mafia OUT" banner, carried by four fans
from the East Stand via the Leazes End to the Milburn Stand and back again.
That expedition was unimpeded by stewards and to the accompaniment of
loud applause and a partial standing ovation - with this, the merchandise/food
boycott and sporadic anti-Ashley, anti-Wise and pro-Keegan chants the main
response from the "silent majority" who stayed away from the Milburn
Reception demo etc.
Unfortunately its appearance coincided with Hull's crucial second goal - King racing away
in acres of space and checking back from N'Zogbia and Edgar to fire home.
That prompted mass grumbling from Milburn Stand occupants
directed towards Managing Director Derek Llambias, sitting in splendid
isolation on the row usually occupied by the rest of his cohorts.
With the game draining away to nothing and home fans drifting towards the
exits, there was a late outbreak of football when N'Zogbia struck a post and
Xisco tucked away the rebound on his debut.
That finally stirred fans into some positive support, but no
equaliser ever looked like coming and City hung on through five minutes of
added time that included an idiotic and senseless tackle by Guthrie, rightly red-carded -the last thing
a squad already way
past the bare bones stage needed.
The problems that precipitated the departure of Kevin Keegan from the club
were there for all to see, with a midfield crushingly short of creativity when
deprived of the injured Gutierrez and not-replaced Milner.
And although N'Zogbia was belatedly pushed into midfield, his reluctant
occupancy of the left back spot in the absence of the injured Enrique spoke
volumes - that's the position Keegan asked in vain for the club to strengthen.
For the two debutants, it was a strange introduction to the Premier League,
with Xisco failing to impress but being in the right place to tuck away his
Slightly more impressive was Gonzalez, who came off the bench for his first
appearance in Europe just hours after belatedly arriving in Newcastle - we're
not sure whether he was stuck in the Channel Tunnel, on an XL flight or
affected by the flooding on the Metro airport section.
Aside from the current ownership and administration of the club, the bile of
the crowd was reserved for Ameobi's withdrawal, with the usual lax non-display
greeted by fierce booing.
Scarcely any better though was Edgar, who struggled to cover for the absent
Beye at right back and whose limitations were shown every time the ball
arrived at his feet - initial overlapping attempts giving way to just humping
it upfield to nobody in particular.
Sneaking on almost unnoticed for the visitors in the closing stages meanwhile
was defender Kamil Zayatte, who had briefly on trial at Newcastle last month.
We may only be in September but
the evidence of this encounter is that we lost a relegation six-pointer,
unless something is done very quickly to halt the slide.
In just two and a half weeks
the club has gone from hope to utter despair and it's difficult to see any way
forward for Ashley that doesn't involve him selling up and leaving.
Prior to Saturday, we believed that he could salvage something from this by
discarding the despised Wise - but now we're not convinced even that would
And the unconvincing denials of Paul Ince
after Blackburn Rovers were thumped 4-0 at home by Arsenal hardly did anything to
improve the collective mood.
When will this nightmare end...?