Newcastle United 0 Charlton
Saturday 23rd September 2000 3.00pm.
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...)
(normal home): Given, Griffin, Goma, Hughes, Charvet (Domi
65 mins), Dyer, Shearer, Speed, Solano (Lua Lua 65 mins), Cort, Cordone (Lee 65
Subs Not Used: Karelse, Gallacher.
Speed, 68 mins,
disputing the "goal" scored by Cort that the referee ruled was
Sent off: None.
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.
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
''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
Halftime: NUFC 0 CAFC 1
Full time: NUFC 0 CAFC 1
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:
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
''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
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
1. The keeper take a throw in - Given 88 mins.
2. Bats - circling round the North East corner of the
One thing i've now seen three times in eight days at
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
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