| If the Kids are United
Part 28- Appeared in the Mag, February 2004
narrow 3-2 victory in the following game at home to Derby did improve the mood
in the camp, but losing a two goal lead for the second successive match
against a struggling side weakened by first-team callups then having to rely
on a dubious refereeing decision not to give the Rams a penalty for an obvious
handball was less than ideal…
days later we were back on Teesside and punished again for our defensive
shortcomings, when our FA Youth Cup dreams for another season were dashed by
last year’s losing finalists in the final minute of the game, although the
home side should have been well ahead before that.
a turgid performance from the Magpies in the first half in which the Potters
had the better of things and missed a couple of chances, things looked to be
proceeding in a similar fashion after the interval.
two incidents within a three minute period were to ultimately shape this tie,
as United replaced Daryl Smylie with striker Carl Finnigan coming on to add
some much-needed support to lone Newcastle front man Guy Bates.
when the linesman called over referee Harwood on 58 minutes following a
dispute over a throw in, Stoke winger Fisher received a straight red card,
presumably for abusing the flagwaver.
to that, the City front three of Fisher, Paterson and Palmer had caused
problems, with United 'keeper Bartlett forced into action on several
particular it was Shola Ameobi clone Palmer who provided the main threat,
tussling throughout the evening with his marker Steven Taylor.
once down to ten men and having harangued the referee en masse, the home side
lost their discipline and saw Jay Denny booked for a foul on Pattison within
moments as things threatened to get out of hand.
Palmer on his own up front for the home side, United began to spend more time
in the Stoke half and Bates left the City crossbar wobbling after striking
with a snap shot from fully thirty yards after Pattison had brought the ball
out of defence on the counter attack.
was Bates who made the decisive breakthrough with only four minutes of normal
time remaining, picking up a Pattison pass outside the City area and forcing
his way past a couple of challenges before shooting home via a deflection that
wrong-footed the City 'keeper.
knocked the stuffing out of the home side, who failed to test Bartlett in the
remaining time which included a shade over four minutes added on.
a classic by any means then, but the result was all that ultimately mattered
and there were enough incidents to hold the attention of the crowd, even if
the majority of them went home moaning bitterly about being mugged by the big
boys from the Premiership and their friendly officials.
went on to totally dominate the first half hour, our lads struggling badly
thanks to a litany of misplaced passes and mistimed tackles.
on our rare forward excursions, Pattison put two reasonable chances wide
before we then sneaked an equaliser on the stroke of half-time. Good work by
Webster and Bates allowed Finnigan to burst into the box and he coolly placed
his shot under home keeper Knight to the delight of those Newcastle fans in
second half was a more even contest, which crucially included five minutes of
injury time after United ‘keeper Bartlett took a kick to the head from
Craddock who was lucky just to get a yellow card, our lad soldiering on with a
big Terry Butcher-style bandage round his head.
looked like forcing extra-time until a sickening late winner for the home
side, when Steven Taylor was caught in possession in midfield and Craddock won
the race to round Bartlett and win the tie for the Boro.
after that heartache, a resumption of league duties the following weekend
provided no solace, as Nottingham Forest completed the double over us with a
5-3 victory on the banks of the Trent.
Newcastle Academy midfielders Ross Gardner and James Beaumont were in the
Forest side, who took a first minute lead and were three up by the half hour
improvement after the break saw Pattison reduce the arrears four minutes into
the second half but Hawkins got his second and
Forest's fourth, just before the hour mark.
United didn't buckle,
though, and Pattison grabbed another after 70 minutes and then Scott Marshall
won a one-on-one with the keeper to get it back to 4-3 with ten minutes
However, a dubious
refereeing decision killed off any hopes of a tremendous comeback four minutes
from time, as Weir-Daley emulated Nat Lofthouse in barging over keeper
Ben Smith, chesting the consequent loose ball into the back of the net to
confirm a victory for the home side.