20th August 2011, Noon
(not shown on live UK TV)
Venue: stadium of plight
0 - 1
Half time: clowns 0 Newcastle 0
The forward progress of Jonas Gutierrez was illegally halted by Lee
Cattermole down the United left just outside the box. Ryan Taylor's
powerfully-hoisted right-footed free kick was enough to elude the
badly-placed Mignolet line, with Steven Taylor lurking at the far post as
the net bulged but not getting a touch. I fancy Ryan Taylor over the wall,
as someone never said - until now. 1-0
Full time: clowns 0 Newcastle 1
"Ryan's right foot can be a superior weapon in those situations. It
was a superb strike.
"We are trying to bring in another left-back, but he will have to be a
good one to take Ryan out of the team. We've had some great wins but to get
your first away win against your biggest rivals it doesn't get much better
than that when you start the season, so we are really pleased.
"In the second half we started creating and started causing them
problems and got our goal and in all honesty I thought we were worthy
"Sunderland's two strikers were brilliant today - they were really up
for it. So Steve and Colo can look back on the game with a lot of
satisfaction. They are developing a top-class partnership.
"That decision changed the course of the game to a degree. By the
players' reactions you could tell it was a penalty. He has handled the ball
and he has to go off. They were two big decisions.
"I knew by the way Howard Webb was looking he hadn't seen it so that
was out of the window, and I knew he was relying on the linesman - and he
hadn't seen it either. Perhaps he should have been sent off, but we aren't
going to bleat about that. Webb is a fantastic referee and he refereed the
game really well.
"So we had two blows there and it affected us because we went on to the
back foot for about 10 minutes and it was Sunderland's best period of the
game. But we stuck with our system, although we changed a couple of things,
and it worked for us. We started to create opportunities and we scored from
"Monday to Friday, we beat ourselves up at Newcastle, itís tradition.
But Saturday is about the game, and you canít argue with the two games.
You look at the fixture list we had Ė Arsenal at home, Sunderland away Ė
some may have said, ĎIf they get a point out of that, they will have done
wellí, a neutral or an expert back in the office.
ďBut to get four points out of those two games is a real tick in the box.
The thing we answered today, which I said to the players afterwards, the
spirit is still there.
"We were applauded for our spirit last year and quite rightly so. We
have got new players, but we havenít lost that spirit, and that was
evident today because there were times during the game that we had
difficulties and your spirit needs to pull you through them.
"It brings everybody together. My staff are looking forward to going
into town on Saturday and sharing that with the fans, and thatís what itís
about. I will join them for a couple and I will enjoy it too.
"Football is about that winning mentality and sometimes, you can have
that winning mentality and not win, but you can be pushing and pushing, and
thatís what we have got to do all season.
"Thatís the type of club we are. Even when we lose, we have got to
really be pushing to try to retrieve the situation at the end, and that
spirit was evident today. We have got that in the dressing room and that
bodes well. When we are 2-1 down away from home or losing at home, we have
got to get something out of it. Itís a very important trait for a football
High & Mighty's #1 catalogue model disconsolately muttered:
getting the best of results (against Newcastle). Lets hope I'm here for a
few more years to come and it starts turning it around. "We've been beaten
in a derby game again so in a lot of peoples' eyes that is unforgivable and I
can associate with that too.
"That's what football is. Like the
last time, we have got some making-up to do with the public, but I couldn't be
more pleased with the way we played in the first half. We have got to take it on
the chin, the abuse that comes our way. It's part and parcel of it and if it
creates a pressure, then we have got to be big enough to handle it.
"We are disappointed with the goal. You
look at that and I would expect my goalkeeper to save that. I think he was in
the wrong position."
just one defeat in our last 15 visits to wearyside. And in nine
outings to this particular shed now, only one defeat, with the home
side are yet to stop us from scoring at least once on every visit.
Goals for: 13 Goals against: 8.
In 19 Premier League meetings home
and away, we've collected maximum points nine times, settled for a
point on six occasions and lost just three times. We
last failed to put at least one in the mackem net either at home or
away during the infamous 1989/90 playoff semi-finals - a record now
extended to 23 games.
Sylvain Marveaux was
named on the bench for the first time but didn't get on for his debut.
In addition to the matchday 18, the pre-match warm-up session included
both Haris Vuckic and Mehdi Abeid - the latter now
wearing squad number 13.
Dan Gosling made
a second competitive appearance for United - on the same ground that
his first came at, back in January of this year. Introduced as an 89th
minute sub last season, he made it on four minutes earlier this time.
Taylor registered his seventh competitive
goal for Newcastle but the first in the Premier League. His previous
six top-flight strikes came for Wigan Athletic - no less than four
during games against United.
He becomes the third Taylor to score
for us in this fixture, after Ernie (1950) and Colin (1963).
Howay Steven man, get your act together....
The Magpies have never previously
started a Premier League season with a pair of clean sheets,
last achieving that feat back in 1990/91 (2-0 home win over
Plymouth Argyle, 1-0 away win at Blackburn Rovers). And in terms of
kicking off a top-flight campaign with back to back clean sheets, one
has to go back to 1951/52 (6-0 home win over Stoke, 0-0 draw at
Days out at the dark place - last
2010/11 drew 1-1 Nolan
2008/09 lost 1-2 Ameobi
2007/08 drew 1-1 Milner
2005/06 won 4-1 Chopra, Shearer(pen), N'Zogbia, Luque
2002/03 won 1-0 Solano
2001/02 won 1-0 Dabizas
2000/01 drew 1-1 A.O'Brien
1999/00 drew 2-2 Domi, Helder
1996/97 won 2-1 Beardsley, Ferdinand
1992/93 won 2-1 og(Owers), L.O'Brien
1991/92 drew 1-1 L.O'Brien
1989/90 drew 0-0 (playoffs)
1989/90 drew 0-0
1984/85 drew 0-0
1979/80 lost 0-1
1979/80 drew 2-2 Davies, Cartwright (LC)
1978/79 drew 1-1 Withe
1976/77 drew 2-2 Cannell, T.Craig
1969/70 drew 1-1 Smith
All Time Tyne-wear stats:
* We're including the Newcastle
East End FA3QR game at Newcastle Road in 1888.
Opening Days - Premier
United's first away fixture of the
season in the Premier League has resulted eight defeats, five draws
and five victories as follows (final league position in brackets):
1993/94 Coventry City lost 1-2
1994/95 Leicester City won 3-1 (6th)
1995/96 Bolton won 3-1 (2nd)
1996/97 Everton lost 0-2 (2nd)
1997/98 West Ham won 1-0 (13th)
1998/99 Chelsea drew 1-1 (13th)
1999/00 Spurs lost 1-3 (11th)
2000/01 Man United lost 0-2 (11th)
2001/02 Chelsea drew 1-1 (4th)
2002/03 Man City lost 0-1 (3rd)
2003/04 Leeds United drew 2-2 (5th)
2004/05 smoggies drew 2-2 (14th)
2005/06 Arsenal lost 0-2 (7th)
2006/07 Aston Villa lost 0-2 (13th)
2007/08 Bolton won 3-1 (12th)
2008/09 Man United drew 1-1 (18th)
2010/11 Man United lost 0-3 (12th)
2011/12 mackems won 1-0 (5th)
The song remains the same for so-sick Steve, once again tragically denied the
opportunity to serenade his increasingly dissenting flock with the platters
that matter to him.
And adding insult to injury, the winner came from a player he managed when at
Wigan, discarded in haste for Magpie malcontent Charles N'Zogbia. Knowing his
onions though (fried, on cheeseburgers), Brucey commented back in 2009 that
Ryan Taylor was "a superb striker of the ball". He still is, it's
just the running around stuff in between that he doesn't always prosper at....
For Alan Pardew though, the satisfaction of achieving what every man,
woman and child with a NE postcode he encountered last week had demanded of him
was evident. Under pressure from sceptical punters for his parsimonious
transfer dealings, the importance of this success was probably on a par with
the home victory over Liverpool that began his SJP reign last
The Merseyside influence on this match loomed large, with Kevin Nolan's four
derby goals last season removed from the equation. Genuine concerns also
Joey Barton's ability to keep himself on the straight and narrow in the face of
the expected extreme provocation.
In the event though it was Ryan Taylor who conjured up a belated birthday
present for himself, having kept his place in the starting XI due to the
absence of a bona fide left back. Had we signed one, would we have actually had
someone on the field who could have cracked home the free kick? No matter, he's
assured of his place in folklore, along with the likes of Dabizas and the
Clearly fired up for the occasion but looking both disjointed and hesitant,
Steve Bruce's reshaped side were on trial despite their opening day
point at Anfield and the noise levels from home areas reflected that
uncertainty. An early goal would doubtless have done wonders
for mackem fans, players and manager but it never really looked likely, Tim
Krul making a couple of stops that were noteworthy without being spectacular.
Our main outlet was Shola Ameobi, given the task of chasing down occasional
forward punts and trying to wriggle away from one, two or often three
defenders. That changed on the quarter hour though when Shola got ahead of
Mignolet to head Cabaye's corner goalward and Barton's close -range nod on
looked like a certain goal - only for Sebastian Larsson to swipe it clear with
A penalty award for United and a red-card for the former Birmingham City
midfielder looked like the only possible outcome, but Howard Webb refrained
from making a decision and consulted with his linesman, who also claimed to
have seen nothing. TV pictures later showed that Steven Taylor was blocking the
referee's view, but the flagwaver on the far side looked to have a perfect
Halftime was reached with some robust tackling from both sides and Yohan Cabaye finding
the target with a powerful effort that was saved. Ameobi placed his header wide
of the goal from an offside position, while Gyan grazed the crossbar when he
should really have netted. Talk at the break revolved around a second
Cheick Tiote had a wayward game in midfield and had black-and-white hearts in mouths with what
looked like a trip on Kieran Richardson but the mackem man got straight up without complaint
and Webb waved away appeals from his team mates - only he will know whether that was a
decision made in isolation or some "evening out" following the first
Tempers spilled over at times and there were players from both sides lucky to stay on
the pitch but Lee Cattermole and Phil Bardsley could have ended up in jail with some of
their assaults, the referee finally losing patience with the latter in the dying minutes and issuing a
In truth, it should have been a straight red and with Fabricio Coloccini's foot planted firmly when Bardsley made contact,
it's a miracle Colo's leg remained in one piece - handing us a small piece of good
fortune that we often seem to lack, given that he's started the season in great
form (with fellow countryman Jonas also catching the eye here today in the
Dan Gosling should then have wrapped up the points after just having the
'keeper to beat from close range, but was denied. As the jubilant away fans chanted after the 95th
minute final whistle, "We are top of the league" - by virtue
of kicking off so early. By Monday night we were seventh.
Alan Pardew is entitled to milk the moment, if for no other reason than it
gives him something positive to enthuse about for a change, rather than
shoulder the burden of publicly defending decisions that he doesn't always
agree with - or even play a significant part in (allegedly).
There's a slight danger though that the preceived importance of the two derby
games is over -emphasised and things are over-sold to mythical status, much
like the media claptrap of us preferring to lose 2-3 than win 1-0.
In reality, most folks see beyond the "occasion" (at least once they
sober up) and grasp that like Arsenal last week, the mackems face some fairly
substantial in-house issues. That's a mirror image of us losing here under JFK
in the relegation season, when we were using words like
Aside from the result and the points, another pleasing aspect of Saturday was
that there looked to be an element of unity among the players - a pertinent
factor given worries about the influx of French players and departure/absence
of others leading to dressing room cliques appearing. Under- played by the
media but also not to be underestimated as a positive factor was the player
bonus row that was recently settled - a genuine bone of contention
since Pardew's arrival.
There were two public displays of that collective mood on Saturday, beginning with the
squad ending their warm-up session by gathering round coach John Carver before
approaching the away section en masse and applauding them. If that was
calculated though, the repeat performance on full time was more instinctive,
with shirts thrown into the celebrating throng and much fist-clenching - hardly
the sinking ship Jose Enrique had spoken about last week from the safety
In highlighting these cameos, we're of course running the risk of over-egging
this particular pudding and joining other commentators in trotting out the
"smells like toon spirit" line yet again. From our own perspective,
genuine spirit will be evident when we're playing badly at home, ignore moaners
and flouncers in the stands and dig something out to salvage a point or three -
like that 4-4 draw.
And of course, whatever else may happen to this squad before the window closes will also be a test of their collective mettle - there wasn't
much spirit when we lost at Fulham in February after Carroll left, when Shola
promptly smashed his jaw and it all looked a bit too much for us to bear. Three
days later though (and at 0-4 down) something stirred....
In our darker moments, the prospect of our first two opponents this season
handing out score- settling spankings had been mentioned in terms of a reality
check/panic attack in order to unlock transfer funds before the window
Having avoided that with something to spare though, it's as well to recall that
a long and punishing season awaits most clubs and in our case, we normally
manage to find additional ways of leaving ourselves short-handed (selling
without replacing, buying tripe, prison sentences, split fingers etc).
Is a return of four points now enough for our renowned football thinkers to
rule that everything in the Gallowgate garden is rosy and we'll get the rest of the points we need to finish
17th with no further outlay? Offering the contents of the training room swear box for Charlton's
goalkeeper hardly inspires confidence....
Let's be right about this: if the current squad were a cricket team, it's fair
to say we'd have a long tail. And while keeping goals out is a pleasing new
habit, scoring them remains a genuine worry.
Not today though, the one we got was priceless. Who put the ball in the mackem
net? Oh, Ryan!