Match Report 2000-01 - Blackburn Rovers (h)
Premier Reserve League - North
23mins. Interplay between Cordone and Green on the United right eventually saw the ball arrive at the feet of LuaLua, heading away from the Rovers goal towards the left. In an unprecedented development, he passed the ball almost immediately, infield to where a waiting Brian Kerr cracked a fine shot into the bottom right hand corner of the Rovers net 1-0
27 mins. More good work from LuaLua, as his sharp reactions allowed him to latch on to an attempted backpass from Douglas, round keeper Kelly and fire the ball into an empty net from point blank range. 2-0
Half time: Newcastle 2 Blackburn 0
53mins. Green was harshly penalised for a raised foot in a central position outside the United penalty area, and with the defensive wall looking more than the requisite 10 yards back, Kenna stepped up to reduce the arrears with a with placed free kick from 20 yards. 2-1
61 mins. United tried to break forward through Green on the right side of midfield, but his long ball to Cordone was cut out and Johnson stepped forward from his own half with the ball. Although tracked back by McClen, he was allowed to continue before striking from distance past Karelse 2-2
75 mins. Rovers took advantage of a static United defence to score what became the winner, when Johnson found space on the Blackburn right to drop a cross towards the front of the Newcastle six yard area. Richards reacted first to rifle the ball home, leaving the startled Karelse and Gary Caldwell in his wake 2-3
Full time: Newcastle 2 Blackburn 3
Coach Tommy Craig said:
"'We're having a torrid time at home, we were impressive for 45 minutes and well on top of the game, then the referee brought them back into the game, it was a strange decision. We then lost the initiative and they then got another goal. From then it was anybody's game and they got a scrappy third goal.
We had a few half chances at the end but never really looked liked getting another goal. That's now twice we've let a two goal lead slip at home.''
9 mins The first meaningful contribution from LuaLua was a typical run that beat three defenders before he made a mess of his shot and screwed it high and wide of the Rovers goal.
20 mins United score (see above.)
23 mins With
the Rovers defence looking less than solid, Cordone sent a free kick
whistling narrowly past an upright.
48 mins Jamie McClen and Green combined for the latter to cut back inside a defender and shoot on goal. The goalkeeper half-stopped the effort, but in the absence of toon attackers was able to clutch the ball at the second attempt.
50 mins Almost an embarassment for Karelse, who came to his near post to collect a cross from O'Brien on the left, but allowed the ball through his hands to bounce on his chest. Fortunately no Blackburn player was close enough to profit, and the 'keeper reclaimed the ball.
53 mins Rovers score (see above)
57 mins Another melee featuring Gillespie, who felt the benefit of attention from both LuaLua and Bernard after another failed United attack. The referee conveniently had his back turned during this brief spot of martial arts.
58 mins Cordone
made progress towards the visitors goal before trying a shot that was
deflected for a corner. Again however, the incoming cross was weak and
easily dealt with by a defender.
75 mins Rovers score (see above)
83 mins Increasingly
frantic efforts to score from United led a scramble in the Rovers box,
Caldwell's effort being blocked by what looked like an arm, and Cordone
hammering the rebound well over the bar. Appeals for a penalty were
ignored by the referee.
87 mins Newcastle fashioned one more meaningful opportunity to level, but the seemingly goalbound shot of Cordone was hoofed clear by O'Brien before it got near the empty Rovers goal.
Quick report - we were cruising at
2-0 when half time came, Rovers seized the initiative thereafter and we
were unable to rouse ourselves.
Resisting the temptation for knee-jerk
reactions of the tabloid nature ("Crisis At United" etc.) there
are a couple of common threads running through all three games that may
have at least some significance:
Assuming that a comparatively small percentage of their week is taken up by playing against bona fide opponents, the rest of it consists of drills and practice against club colleagues. Now that Ferguson and Robinson are history, McMahon is away at Darlo and Shearer/Cort are sidelined, the most significant physical forward presence is Shola Ameobi. He has made his mark on the senior side, but a lad who until recently seemed to be closing his eyes when heading the ball is no Peter Withe or Les Ferdinand.
Elsewhere we have the waif-like Offiong
& Chopra in the Academy, the similarly diminutive Coppinger and
McMenamin in the stiffs and the vertically challenged LuaLua and Gallacher
in the big lads, with emergency forward Dyer hardly tipping the scales.
Add the Ladyboyish tendencies of Cordone and there isn't an awful lot for
the Newcastle stoppers to have to overcome when they defend corners and
crosses on the practice field.