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Season 2018-19
Cardiff City (h) Premier League


Saturday 19th January 2019, 3.00pm

 St. James' Park

Conditions: Prolific

Newcastle United

Cardiff City

3 - 0




24 mins Issac Hayden found Fabian Schar wide on the right flank just inside the Cardiff half and he pushed forward before heading for goal as the visiting defence stood and admired his progress. The defender didn't panic and after seeing a shooting chance open up, guided a low, looping left footer perfectly inside the far post and beyond the diving Etheridge. 1-0

Half time: Magpies 1 Bluebirds 0

63 mins Matt Ritchie's corner from the right flank was flicked on by Jamaal Lascelles and diverted into the net towards the back post by Fabian Schar using his thigh from a few yards out. 2-0

90+3 mins United broke out of defence through Christian Atsu, who quickly played the ball forward towards the onrushing Sean Longstaff. Salomon Rondon reached it first and made for the left side of the box as Longstaff continued his run and occupied a retreating defender.

United's number 9 teased full back Joe Bennett with a few stepovers before slipping a low ball across the edge of the six yard, to where Ayoze Perez had nipped in front of the flat-footed Joe Ralls to side foot home from close range. The fingers in ears celebration followed.

Full time: Magpies 3 Bluebirds 0

We Said


Rafa Benitez:

"We played extra-time in the FA Cup and scored four goals - that gave everyone confidence today.

"We could see from the first minute our team wanted to get three points against a rival. We did really well. Everyone has to be pleased.

"My message to the fans was to stay calm and support the team - the players did well and the fans enjoyed every minute.

"We did good. We scored three goals so everyone has to be happy.

"The main thing is the commitment of the players and then it was about trying to manage the game against a tough team, a physical team.

"Fabian Schar has quality on the ball. It (the first goal) was a great goal. The team were giving everything and this kind of game you know you have to work hard.

"I said before we would still have to win a lot of games to stay up.

"If I seem happier and more positive it is because we have won and have taken three points.

On the alleged return of Dennis Wise:

"I have no idea. Someone was telling me about this.

"Yesterday I was talking to Lee Charnley and Steve Nickson about the transfer window.

"I cannot control the money but at least I can talk - I can say yes or no
(to the identity of any player involved in a proposed transfer deal).”

Wise tweeted on Sunday to deny that he was currently acting in any advisory capacity at NUFC).

On the prospect of meeting the owner: 

"It could be good if he comes. I certainly don't think it is a bad thing. I don't have any problems (speaking to him), I'm open to any good ideas.'

PS: Rafa and Ashley did reportedly speak after the game, apparently their first face to face contact since the Ponteland pizza night in October 2018. It's not known what was said, but you'd not rule out something along the lines of "you'd better lose that cup tie next week..." 

They Said


Colin commented: 

"I thought Rondon was the difference today. He led the line really well.

"I didn't think it was a 3-0 game. 

"I couldn't see them breaking through until the first goal which was poor from our point of view. We started the second half well and were dangerous and then conceded the second that killed us. We didn't have anything drop for us and they were better than us in the final third.

"Nine of the lads that played today were in the Championship last year*. While we are disappointed it is not the end of the world. We looked a half decent side. I didn't think in the last third we did enough.

"There was some great defending but we could have picked a better pass out at times in the second half.

* we had six in our starting XI who played for us in the second tier during 2016/17.

About Everton loanee Niasse starting the game:

"It's hard doing that but it was better than him sitting on the bench and coming on.

"He worked hard up there and did alright. But it is a long way from match fitness when you've only been training for six months. It takes some time getting up to speed in the Premier League."



Fabian Schar netted his first and second goals for Newcastle, becoming the 141st player to have scored for the club in Premier League games.

He became the third Swiss-born player to score for United in the PL, following on from Marc Hottiger and Siem De Jong (the latter born in Switzerland but playing internationally for Holland - like his brother Luuk, who failed to find the net for us).

Schar's brace made him the first Toon defender to score more than once in a Premier League game since Philippe Albert hit two in a 3-3 draw against Manchester City at Maine Road in February 1996. 

(For completeness, John Beresford managed to do it in the Champions League against Croatia Zagreb at SJP in August 1997, while playing in a left wing back role. He then repeated the feat away to Dynamo Kiev two months later, although UEFA records give one of his as an OG).

NUFC goal number 38 for Ayoze Perez was his fourth of the season in all competitions and the 24th in the Premier League. 

Newcastle scored three times in 69 minutes today - having managed that many goals in their previous five PL home games combined.

Bluebirds in Toon -all time:

2018/19 won 3-0 Schar 2, Perez
won 2-1 Atsu, Gouffran
2013/14 won 3-0 Sh.Ameobi, Remy, S.Taylor
2013/14 lost 1-2 Cisse (FAC)
2009/10 won 5-1 Carroll 2, og, Lovenkrands 2
1983/84 won 3-1 Waddle, Keegan 2
1981/82 won 2-1 Varadi, Trewick
1980/81 won 2-1 Clarke, Shoulder
1979/80 won 1-0 Shoulder
1978/79 won 3-0 Connolly, Withe, Robinson
1964/65 won 2-0 Hilley, Anderson
1963/64 lost 0-4
1962/63 won 2-1 Fell 2
1960/61 won 5-0 Luke 2, White 2, Mitchell
1956/57 won 1-0 Keeble
1955/56 won 4-0 Milburn 2, Keeble, Crowe
1954/55 won 3-0 Hannah 2, McMichael
1953/54 won 4-0 Broadis 2, Hannah, Milburn
1952/53 won 3-0 Foulkes 2, Mitchell
1947/48 won 4-1 Milburn 2, Shackleton, Stobbart
1938/39 won 4-1 Clifton, Gordon, Mooney, Park (FAC)
1928/29 drew 1-1 Gallacher
1927/28 won 2-0 McKay, Wilkinson
1926/27 won 5-0 McDonald 3, Gallacher 2
1925/26 lost 0-1
1924/25 lost 1-2 Cowan
1923/24 drew 1-1 McDonald
1922/23 won 3-1 Harris, McDonald, Seymour
1921/22 drew 0-0




Schar: I got two babe!

"I can't wait to get out of it, if I'm honest. I think we'll be far better out of the bloody thing. In every aspect. Football-wise as well, absolutely. To hell with the rest of the world."

Given the poorness of Cardiff today it was tempting to wonder whether Neil Warnock actually meant the Premier League when he said "better out of the bloody thing" during a recent pro-Brexit rant.

We'd labelled the Bluebirds as relegation certainties after their weak attempt at dealing with us in Wales last August and little seems to have changed since, despite a handful of performances and results that had some pundits acclaiming him as miracle worker.

Hopefully Warnock's mood had darkened further by full time, after our French, Swiss, Spanish, Ghanaian, American, Slovakian and Venezuelan players highlighted Cardiff's lack of a back stop.   

Two moments of Swiss precision put Newcastle on the road to a timely home victory, Fabian Schar getting off the mark for his side as they won for the first time in six Premier League outings. 

Ayoze Perez then added a late third to extend City's awful record on Tyneside to ten successive league defeats and put the seal on United's most emphatic victory of the season. 

Following his midweek FA Cup posting in midfield, Schar took up a more familiar position as part of a back five - replacing Ciaran Clark in the only change to the team that was beaten 1-2 at Chelsea.

Kicking towards the Gallowgate End, a bright start by the hosts saw Ayoze Perez's header tipped over at the expense of a corner on 13 minutes. The visitors then survived a massive penalty appeal for a handball five minutes later, but fell behind after 24 minutes when Schar dribbled into the box before curling a low effort into the corner of the net. 

Referee Stuart Attwell came in for abuse from home followers for the penalty refusal and further angered them by taking a lenient view of Sol Bamba's tight man-to-man marking duty on Salomon Rondon and various other refusals to grant what looked uncomplicated decisions regarding holding and general foul play. Today was another day when linesmen contributed absolutely nothing.  

Perez came close to doubling United's lead just before the hour when he saw his shot blocked in the six yard box, but the much-prized second home goal arrived within five minutes as Matt Ritchie's flag kick was helped on by Jamaal Lascelles for Schar to bundle home and double his tally for the club.

Further chances then came and went for Newcastle to improve their goal difference before a belated upturn in effort from City saw them look to threaten our goal - although Martin Dubravka was seldom in any danger of surrendering his clean sheet as defenders made crucial blocks.

Five additional minutes were signalled at the end of normal time and halfway through that, the home side broke upfield and Perez had a simple finish from Rondon's low ball across the box from the left - his second goal in a week doubling this season's output and hopefully marking a return to the sort of form that he demonstrated in the closing weeks of last season as we navigated clear of trouble.

In addition to his scoring exploits, Schar also proved his worth at the back with some timely blocks. The same can be said of Florian Lejeune, who completed a third 90 minutes in as many weeks and looks like he's never been away - although he shared some collective guilt early on as the defence invited pressure with risky and avoidable sideways passes. Other sides will punish that.

Mention too for Sean Longstaff, who shows a good blend of confidence and competence - with the vision to see and hit decent passes, and be undaunted if they don't come off. Rondon meanwhile was a colossus; admirably leading the line and keeping his cool despite ample opportunity to plant deserved elbows in the face of his marker (in contrast to predecessor Mitro, who had an opponent in a headlock 24 hours later, days after tales about fighting team mates surfaced in the media).   

The three points saw Rafa's side swap places with Cardiff and climb out of the bottom three to seventeenth, two points ahead of the Bluebirds. Given that our next three league games see us host the reigning champions before visiting Spurs and Wolves, this was an absolutely priceless victory.

Newcastle's first home success in five attempts rounded off a week when on-field matters provided a welcome distraction from the ongoing horror show off it. Having returned to Gallowgate and seen them win again though, it's easy to imagine the owner and his cronies believing that all is well and there's no reason to invest on anything other than the latest failing High Street retail chain.

Time will tell whether he's proved right or gambles unsuccessfully for the third time in a decade. For increasing numbers though, getting to May and staying in this league just isn't enough any more. 

Defeat today was unthinkable, victory essential, the reason for being in this state still unfathomable.


Dedicated to the memory of NUFC fan Dave Smith
who passed away just after full time on Saturday

Page last updated 24 January, 2019