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This Season 
 Match Report 2000-01 - Charlton Athletic (h)
Newcastle United 0 Charlton Athletic 1

Date: Saturday 23rd September 2000 3.00pm.

Venue: St.James' Park. 

Conditions: Pleasant, although the redness of your correspondent's face at the final whistle was not due to the effects of the sun (or drink, I hasten to add...)

Crowd:  50,866.

Referee: Andy D'Urso (Billericay)


NUFC (normal home): Given, Griffin, Goma, Hughes, Charvet (Domi 65 mins), Dyer, Shearer, Speed, Solano (Lua Lua 65 mins), Cort, Cordone (Lee 65 mins.) 
Subs Not Used:
Karelse, Gallacher.
Speed, 68 mins, disputing the "goal" scored by Cort that the referee ruled was offside.
Sent off:

CAFC (normal home): Kiely, Powell, Stuart (Todd 87 mins), Rufus, Kinsella, Hunt (MacDonald 89 mins), Robinson, Brown, Konchesky, Jensen, Johansson (Newton 74 mins).
Subs Not Used:
Ilic, Shields.
Stuart, Robinson.
Sent off:


8 mins. Charlton were able to knock a dangerous ball into the United area after Robinson had time to steady himself on the left flank before picking out the head of Johansson. The Finn glanced a header towards goal, and Graham Stuart reacted first to nod past Given from inside the six yard box at the Gallowgate end, Goma and Hughes spectating. 0-1

Halftime: NUFC 0 CAFC 1

Full time: NUFC 0 CAFC 1

Match facts:

Our lowest
League crowd of the season....unless you read .cock.
We equalled
the three game run of home clean sheets last set in Sep 1998 v Hull , but couldn't stretch it into four.
Debut for Lomana Tresor Lua Lua

We said:  Uncle Bobby
, smarting from the defeat, commented:

''I'm disappointed because we absolutely wasted 45 minutes of football,' I just can't understand it. I thought we'd learned our lesson after Southampton. We've dropped eight points out of nine in our last three games, two of which have been at home.

We defended very poorly. We had a bad start with a poor appetite for some foolish, unknown reason which I'm angry about. But we were much better in the second half and at the end of the day, we deserved at least a draw from the game. We were encamped in their half in the second-half, but it was one of those days when nothing was going to fall for us. Little crucial decisions didn't quite go our way and we didn't get a little bounce of the ball.

We kept them in the dressing room for half an hour after the game and what I said to the players will have hurt them, but they have to expect that when they don't perform."

''I've said enough to hurt them and damage them, but I've got to keep my cool. I've got to pick people up for Tuesday night.''

When asked about the debut of Lua Lua, Bobby brightened slightly as he said:

"He was the one bright spark, he was lively, he didn't give the ball away and he played in one great cross. I was delighted with him, but it was a very bad day for us. We didn't get the bounce and one or two crucial decisions went against us."

They said: a naturally overjoyed Alan Curbishley said: 

''Over the last four or five seasons when we've come up here, we've fared pretty well and we just felt if we could dig in and put Newcastle on the back foot in the first half, we'd have some joy, and that's exactly what happened.

The only disappointing thing from the first half is that we didn't come in two up because I knew in the second-half that Bobby would start to change things and put us under pressure. We're in the top six and it's fantastic - but there's only seven games gone. If there were only seven games left, I'd be quite delighted.

'Two years ago when we were in the Premiership, they had tee-shirts made up because we were top of the league. This year, we went top for one week and they had new tee-shirts made up. ''It's great that we're where we are. Sunderland did it last year and stayed in the top six for a long, long time, and if we can stay in those regions, we can make our club a lot stronger."

Addicks coach Keith Peacock (Gavin's Dad) continued:

"Coming to St James's is either going to intimidate or inspire teams. Fortunately it inspired us. The players walked into the stadium before the match and we could see them looking around and see how great it was.

"We did not know which way they would go but they had enough character to rise to the occasion and they responded to the atmosphere. Other teams could do the same.

Obviously there is always the worry that if Newcastle players start falling down around the area they could be given a penalty, but I thought the referee handled things quit well on Saturday.

Those players we did not rest on Wednesday night
(in the League cup defeat at Stoke) tired towards the end at St James's Park."


Two things I've never seen at a Newcastle match before: 

1. The keeper take a throw in - Given 88 mins.
2. Bats - circling round the North East corner of the ground.

One thing i've now seen three times in eight days at Newcastle matches:

1. The team claiming to represent Newcastle singularly fail to engage their collective brains or limbs.

If you went to the Southampton game or the Orient home match, then what i'm about to recount will come as absolutely no surprise....

Quite simply we were not Premiership class against Charlton, and for the third game running looked like a team of wasters, rather than the highly-paid international elite they think they are. On consecutive Saturdays, merely competent teams have out-thought and out-fought us, and we've lacked the guile to claw our way back once we've gone behind. 

Exactly what our brave boys thought they would achieve by flouncing around in the first half is unclear. However, when a team fails to organise properly after gaining corners and set pieces, when nobody shows themselves for a throw in, and when the ball is given to Charvet time and again in the expectation that he can provide the creative spark, then it's arse-kicking time. The fact Charlton had scored made things worse, but a 0-0 result in this game would still have given cause for concern.

The question has to be asked exactly what the team do to fill in their time at training, apart from ghost-writing facile columns for local newspapers and uttering empty pledges about "getting it right this time." Certainly shooting and crossing practice haven't been top of the agenda lately, presumably replaced by exercises aimed at making players invisible to their colleagues (top marks scored here by messrs Solano and Cordone.)

The only bright spark was provided by a brave treble substitution by Bobby, which almost turned into an act of folly within seconds as Dyer fell heavily after a challenge, and it looked as if the one goal deficit would have to be righted with only ten men. Domi tried to exploit the gap developing in front of him on United's left flank, and forced himself into a great position on the byline, only to inexplicably fire into the side netting. Lee brought some calmness and direction to the midfield that had been bypassed for great chunks of the game, while new boy Lua Lua moved menacingly forward, showing good close control. No doubt a few weeks of our training methods will see those traits ironed out however...

Carl Cort struggled manfully to make any impression, but the nagging doubts linger that he doesn't know where he's meant to be playing, and shares a tendency to drift wide with Shearer, meaning that at some stages clumps of United players appeared at the extremities of the pitch and the danger area inside the Charlton box was populated solely by red shirts.

The 50,000 plus who turned up mostly sat in stoic silence, save for rising to give Lua Lua a tremendous ovation (unless they were applauding Robson for taking Solano off), with only small pockets of support to enliven quiet passeges. Once or twice, the gradually increasing forward momentum of the home team inspired brief collective shouts, but in the main another large crowd didn't make their presence felt. 

Mention must be made of one chant from the North end of the East Stand, a self-explanatory "you used to sing in the Milburn", but equally any other section of the ground could have been mocked. Precisely what's wrong I don't know, but there seems to be a reluctance in people to have a good old-fashioned shout and sing, despite the increased attendances. On those rare occasions that people do support the team in unison, the effect is awesome, but for many it seems only to be appropriate at semi finals and finals. Perhaps it's the painted faces and funny hats that spur them on....

Criticism of the crowds' lack of singing however is no more than a side issue; the lack of anything to cheer is the major factor at present. At this early stage, the team seem to have lost their way, and lack the imagination to reproduce the form that they have shown they are well capable of. Nobody is playing particularly well at the moment - let's just hope that some semblance of form can be rediscovered in the next month or so. 

Once the dark nights come and the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and the mackems rear their ugly heads, points will need to be earned rather than merely collected. The faster Bobby can drum this in to his coasting squad the better for all of us....            



Page last updated 14 July, 2016