39 mins Amid strong protests, City's
Surman took a disputed corner and Andrew Crofts' header was
eventually deflected into the net off Wes Hoolahan as Simpson attempted to
45 mins It's that Mag Again: Demba Ba got into double figures for the
season when he latched onto Cabaye's perfect chip and dispatched the ball past
Ruddy from close range.
Half time: City 1 United 1
59 mins Fox crossed from the right and Krul parried
an unopposed header from striker Grant Holt, only to see it rebound to the
former Carlisle front man to head home via the crossbar.
Post-match opinion was divided as to whether the goalkeeper should have
come further off his line 1-2
63 mins Dan Gosling's personal
nightmare began with an inexplicable pass from midfield behind him and to his
left. Seized upon by Crofts his right-wing centre was
easily headed in by Steve Morison, who had the freedom of Norfolk.
71 mins Making his comeback from injury, Zak Whitbread lost out to Shola
Ameobi just inside the City half as our number 23 nicked the ball and
then played a measured pass to the onrushing Demba Ba. He cut inside before thumping the ball
into the corner of the goal. Game on. 2-3
82 mins Grant Holt got his second of the game with yet
another header, from Bradley Johnson's free kick. Game over.
Full time: City 4 United 2
Alan Pardew said:
"We went down to 10 men and we were
still in the game, so it would be very harsh to suggest that the bubble has
burst. Every game is a big one for us. We are in a situation where we have
got a nice points tally, but we have come into a run against the top teams
and lost players to injury. We are just having one of those little injury
runs and that is affecting us.
"To have three first-team centre
halves out is unusual. We did well apart from the set-plays. We canít
concede from three set-plays and expect to win the game but any team would
struggle with the injuries we've got in central defence.
"We were stretched to the limit
today, but we hope to have one or two players back next week. We don't need
any more blows, particularly injury-wise. We have to keep our spirit about
us and we showed that today. We want to stay in the top seven or eight if we
"We created chances all day and we looked like we were going to score.
We accepted that we weren't going to keep a clean sheet and that we had to
"We did very well other than the
set-plays - Morison and Holt are a handful and so was Hoolahan in behind.
They gave us some tough times. Iím not going to offer any excuses, but
(for the first goal) Tim caught the ball where it was. If it was out then it
was out when he caught it.Ē
"I have just reviewed it (the
Gosling dismissal) and I donít think heís gone to hurt the player, but
heís late for sure. So heís put himself in the ballpark to be sent off
and thatís disappointing."
Two-goal Demba Ba added:
"I just enjoy doing my work and
enjoy playing football. I expect myself to do well, because I always prepare
for that. I was prepared for all 38 battles and Iím happy when I see all
the work Iím doing is paying off.
"Itís difficult to get in the top four ó the teams, they are
unbelievable. So if we can make it in the top half we will be happy I think.
I'm pretty sure next week we're going to win. We'll do everything to win the
game because we need a win. We have the squad here to cope.
"We have (Mike) Williamson, who's on his way back from injury, (Fabricio)
Coloccini is hopefully going to be fit for next week as well and (Cheick)
Tiote too, so if we have our full squad I think we'll be okay.
"It was difficult for Danny Simpson
to compete against Holt or against Morison. If we had our centre-backs, who
are big, muscular and can head the ball, it would have been different. We
were playing with a brand new defence and it was very difficult."
"Iím delighted. I thought we deserved to win the game. Newcastle
are a good side, you can see theyíve been doing very well in the league. Theyíve
got a threat up front and threats in support, but I thought we played very well.
"They were a handful, the Newcastle
lads, theyíre big and strong. Russell Martin and Zak I thought were very, very
good. Ian and I discussed it during the week, what we thought, and we went with
that team and that system and it worked.
"We donít practise them (crosses
into the box). If the ballís there to be won, the boys have got a great
desire to go and put their head on it. Itís not rocket science. But if the
ball goes into the box youíve got Morison who wants to go and head it, Holt
wants to go and head it so if youíve got two lads like that in the box youíre
just hoping one of them might get on the end.
"Everybody knows David Fox can deliver
a ball and Andrew Surman can deliver, but itís important if you do have that
delivery that the lads can try to get on the end of it and thankfully thatís
"Grant (Holt) is every bit as
important as he was two years ago when I joined. Heís done that for two and a
half years. Heís been a handful. I think he and Morison were excellent today.
"I think the only thing he (Santon)
never did was catch it. I saw it on the tape and it was a penalty but the
linesman for some reason never saw it. But some you get, some you donít. Footballís
like that; you get them for you and you get them against you (referring to
the incorrect corner call that preceded Norwich's first goal).
"We move on to the next one. You donít
get time to breathe, let alone anything else. Before you know it, youíre bang
at it again. Up at Everton next week is another really tough game, so Iíll let
it go and then Iíll concentrate on the next one.Ē
Canaries fan Stephen Fry commented via Twitter:
(at 1-1) Nail chewing time
(at 2-3) Oh heavens Ö
(at 2-4) Beginning to breathe a little more easilyÖ all the sameÖ itís
never over till the fat whistle blows
(post match) Ariel
power? We won because of our brand of washing powder? Oh, you mean aerial...
have now scored 21 goals in the Premier League this season and Demba
Ba has 11 to his name. Away from home he's grabbed six of our 10
Dan Gosling marked his first Premier League start for Newcastle
with the first red card of his senior career. There was also a first
PL start for Davide Santon.
Magpies @ Canaries - post WWII:
2011/12 lost 2-4 Ba 2
2010/11 lost 1-2 Shola Ameobi (FR)
2006/07 won 2-1 Ramage, N'Zogbia (FR)
2004/05 lost 1-2 Kluivert
1994/95 lost 1-2 Fox (pen)
1993/94 won 2-1 Beardsley, Cole
1988/89 won 2-0 Mirandinha, O'Brien
1987/88 drew 1-1 P.Jackson
1986/87 lost 0-2
1984/85 drew 0-0
1981/82 lost 1-2 Waddle
1977/78 lost 1-2 T.Craig
1976/77 lost 2-3 T.Craig (pen), Gowling
1975/76 won 2-1 Nulty 2
1973/74 drew 1-1 Cassidy
1972/73 won 1-0 Macdonald
1964/65 drew 1-1 Robson
1963/64 lost 1-3 McGarry
1962/63 lost 0-5 (FAC)
1962/63 won 2-1 McGarry, McKinney
1961/62 drew 0-0
Full record against Norwich:
It wasn't the seemingly endless journey to get here, the staggering £45
admission price nor even the awful tinny samba tune that blared out of the
tannoy after each Canaries goal.
No, the single most irritating/frustrating aspect
of this Saturday was the total bloody predictability of it all.
Beginning his second year in charge, injuries meant that Alan Pardew's 18
squad lacked a single recognised centre half and that almost inevitably proved
to be our undoing, all four
goals conceded by a painfully makeshift defence that had previously been
unchanged in fourteen league games.
Coming after games against the "big three" of Chelsea and the two
Manchester sides, our visit to Carrow Road may have been deemed easier by some.
At a ground where happy memories are few and far between though, what always looked like a tricky trip ended up with unpleasant echoes of
Bolton and West Brom last season as we imploded.
With injured pair Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor replaced by Danny
Simpson and James Perch, Davide Santon and Ryan Taylor played at left and right
back respectively. However that proved to be a lethal cocktail as City's twin
strikers took full advantage of our soft centre and enjoyed total aerial
superiority in the United box thanks to our self-imposed no-fly zone.
(By the way, if there's a less fitting fancy dress costume for James Perch to
don than Superman then we're yet to see it, managing to beat even Nile Ranger's
recent convict garb. You'll believe a Mag can fly? In contrast though, we can
look forward to choruses of "If Spongebob scores, we're on the
pitch" at future games as a result of Sammy's costume choice for the
player's festive bash).
To pick out Perch - or Simpson for that matter - is less than fair though, as
they were by no means the only players found wanting as Norwich used their
heads, and we lost ours. An ill-advised pass may have set City away for another
goal, but quite what possessed Dan Gosling to later lunge into Russell Martin
and pick up a straight red card remains a mystery (perhaps the Joker may have
been a better choice than the Batman costume he plumped for in Glasgow later
Just six of the starting XI against Chelsea
kept their places, with our two centre halves joined in the treatment room by
Danny Guthrie (jostling for space with long stay residents messrs Williamson,
Tiote and Marveaux). Hatem Ben Arfa and Peter Lovenkrands were dropped to the
bench meanwhile, while Tamas Kadar wasn't even in the matchday 18 despite
belatedly regaining a squad number.
An entertaining first half had looked destined
to end goalless, as referee Martin Atkinson ignored a penalty appeal after
Naughton's centre from the Norwich right clearly struck Santon somewhere around
the elbow. As people who get paid inordinate amounts of money on TV would say,
i've seen them given.
Down at the other end, our best chance had been a deflected shot from Cabaye
that had 'keeper John Ruddy scrambling to turn the ball away,
before berating the referee for missing a late tackle by United's stand-in
captain Jonas Gutierrez earlier in the move.
However a controversial decision five minutes before the break led to City's
opener when the linesman awarded the home side a corner after Tim Krul looked to have kept a
cross from the left in play. At worst, it should have been a goal kick unless
the cross was deflected (which it clearly wasn't), although why Tim didn't leave the ball
behind is something only he can answer.
Situated in the corner of the side stand across from where the incident took
place, most of the away contingent had a good view of that piece of ill-fortune
and of the goal that almost inevitably followed. Ba's smartly taken equaliser
though left the mood reasonably bright in there at half time.
Flattering to deceive after the interval, the visitors created and spurned a
trio of opportunities - Demba Ba coming closest when grazing the City crossbar
with a fierce, rising effort.
Simpson then survived another optimistic appeal for handball (provoking further
ironic shouts from the travelling support) before Obertan
sprinted clear and looked set to play in the unmarked Ba, before electing to cut inside
and promptly losing possession.
A nightmarish seven minute period then saw
Norwich net twice and Gosling dismissed, before Ba's stylish second made it 2-3
and gave renewed hope to those in black and white on and off the field.
Obertan shot straight at Ruddy before giving way to Sammy Ameobi, but almost
immediately any hopes of salvaging a point were ended by a fourth City goal,
condemning us to a third league loss.
Having been dreading the new year and its associated transfer chicanery, we now
find ourselves almost counting the days down before central defensive cover can
be brought in to provide a viable alternative to Coloccini and Williamson rather
than our present square pegs/round holes scenario.
If the thought of selling Colo was unpalatable before though Steven Taylor's
season-ending achilles problem, then it would now be nothing short of suicidal,
with the goalkeeping situation on a par with that if Krul were to be flogged. At
least when Carroll went in January, Best and Shola were fit and available as
cover of a sort.
On a book-balancing basis though, with striker Maiga on the way in, back line
strengthening now even more imperative (and doubts over Simpson's situation
remaining), the chances of Tiote coming back from the Nations Cup to wear our
colours seem to be shrinking by the day.
After collecting one point from a possible 12, the arrival of Swansea and West
Brom to SJP plus the trip to Bolton take on an added significance if we're to
maintain the clear water beneath us and the lower positions in the league. And
it's not just about the defence: we'll soon be having to manage without our
Senegalese goal getter due to international duties; it's high time others
starting making their mark up front.