Match Report 2000-01 - Charlton (a)
37 mins. We had about half a dozen chances to get a firm challenge in to break down a Charlton build-up. By the time Powell sent in a cross from the left the writing was already on the wall and Bartlett nodded back for Svensson to ignore a half-hearted "challenge" from Marcelino to steer a left-footed shot into the corner. 0-1
43 mins. Build-up down the right saw the ball played past Aaron Hughes. The ball goes nowhere near Hughes' arm but the linesman flags for handball. Durkin plays the advantage and Barton fluffs a clearance that lands at Bartlett's feet and he crashes a volley through Given's legs. Schoolboy stuff as we don't play to the whistle. 0-2
Half time: Charlton 2 Newcastle 0
Full time: Charlton 2 Newcastle 0
Ahead of a trip to the sunshine in La Manga Uncle Bobby fumed:
"If they think it's about enjoying themselves for six days they have got it wrong in their heads, for Christ's sake,"
"They get a lot of money for what they have just given. We go to La Manga, and I don't want to go. I will see how I feel when I get to the airport, but the way I feel at the moment I'd rather go back to Newcastle."
"To be fair to the referee, he has the right to play on. We have to play to the whistle and we just didn't apply ourselves.
"I took Solano off after he pulled out of a tackle. We are poor away from home - absolutely dreadful.
"We lost the game in the period from the first goal until half-time because before that it was even stevens and we perhaps looked a bit better than they did.
"That was the period they won the match and they were much better than we were. We were pathetic in that period.
"I have come out of a scorching dressing room,"
"I'm concerned about our boys' attitude compared to a team that lost on Wednesday.
"We didn't play on Wednesday; we didn't even play last Sunday because of the weather and we should have been fresh.
"Charlton have taken six points off us this season, and good luck to them because they deserved it."
"I feel sorry for our supporters who have travelled from all over the country, paid good money and seen a dismal, pathetic first-half performance."
"I apologise to them."
"From the moment they scored their first goal until the end of the first half we were actually boys against men, and I told my players that.
"We had nothing up front; we were poor in midfield and disastrous at the back. How can we run a football team?
"It's not good enough. We're a big club - much bigger than Charlton Athletic, with respect. They had 20,000 here today; we have 52,000.
"We had big names and big reputations on paper today. But on the pitch their players were better than ours, and I don't accept that."
"It was a fantastic response from the players."
"I kept faith with the same 11 and asked for a performance I didn't get against Spurs.
"It was a psychological thing as well because if Newcastle had managed to come back and beat us from two goals down as happened in midweek it would have been two on the spin."
"I have been delighted with the attitude since the West Ham game and I have said to the players that despite everyone talking about 40 points I have seen teams tail off after they get to that total - I have been talking at length to stop that happening to us.
"Now we are maybe looking at something different with 11 games left and we want to pick up as many points as possible.
"If we can get to 50 points it will have been a great season, but the reason the teams are down at the bottom of the table is because they have not won for 11 games.
"People talk about point totals for survival, but we are not safe yet.
"We have worked ever so hard to get where we are and we are not going to let it go away lightly."
Once again we journeyed inside the M25 and promptly went belly up, revealing a sizeable yellow streak in the process. Nine league games have been played in London under Bobby Robson for a return of one solitary point, and a check back at the relevant NUFC.com match reports reveals possible over-use of the words "abject", "gutless" and "clueless." After Arsenal, Spurs, West Ham and Chelsea, add the name of Charlton to a list of average teams that we've made look like Real Madrid when we've come to visit. What perfect guests we are.
For your average toon nut travelling down from Newcastle, the cash expended in going to those nine games now starts to nudge toward four figures, discounting the use of holidays, bribery or judicious skiving to get time off for midweek games. In terms of the damage done in other ways however, the expectation level is now below sea level, and the support to the lads is dropping off markedly. The second half at Stamford Bridge saw a quiet away section and at the Valley, barely a voice was raised in anything other than anguish. Indeed, the final twenty minutes or so was eerily silent, as those who hadn't already sneaked out stood impassively with expressions of grim resignation.
There seems to be no middle ground for
United of late, either brilliant or awful, and the loss of Goma and Stevie
Caldwell before this game almost guaranteed that a clean sheet wouldn't be
recorded. This prediction was almost realised three times before the home
side went ahead, and our backline seemed in a constant state of panic, with
Barton popping up almost anywhere except in a right back role. Marcelino
however merely contented himself with a static position in front of Given's
goal, giving him a grandstand view of various Charlton players passing above
him to collect the ball.
If our formation had been unclear earlier on, the subsequent changes that brought Gallacher, Bassedas, and Lua Lua on to the field made us look even more dishevelled, if that were possible. Acuna chose to hide from the ball up front (a safe place as it turned out), Ameobi was forced to pull out wide to gain possession and Dyer reprised the latter part of Beardsley's first reign on Tyneside, dropping deeper and deeper. As for Solano, he may as well have brought his trumpet on to the field, as his footballing contribution was remarkably unentertaining. Hopefully Bobby stuck a boot behind him to speed him on his way to the dressing room when the Peruvian was substituted for cowardice.
Now we endure an enforced break in competition, and the chance to save a few pennies while the team swan around La Manga in their espadrilles, worrying whether the English papers have been delivered to their hotel.
It's odds on that we'll beat Manchester City, but assuming we do, what will that prove? That we can dispatch a team of second rate journeymen, almost certain to be playing in the Nationwide league come August. It'll take a wee bit more than that to stop the less committed of our 44,000 season ticket holders ripping their renewal forms up. Whisper it softly, but if a certain team down the road actually get into Europe, one or two of the undecided may swap black and white for red and white, especially if the disparity in ticket prices increases.
Those of us who are beyond help however,
merely stand, suffer, go home and do it again. Such is our fate.