Date: Tuesday 9th October 2001, 7.45pm.
Conditions: Mild, in stark contrast to some dirty nights we've endured
on this ground.
Half time: Barnsley 0 Newcastle 0
79 mins: Olivier Bernard and
linked up down the Newcastle left, with the latter controlling the ball and cutting
inside. His cross into the box found Craig Bellamy who finished from 10 yards.
time: Barnsley 0 Newcastle 1
Bellamy, whom he considered leaving out after his international
"I'm glad I
kept him in - he made things
difficult for Barnsley with his explosive pace and he's on fire at the
"When a player
is in form it's hard to leave him out and Craig didn't want to miss the
"He looked very
penetrative all night and he's done so well for us in the last few weeks.
"Even so, he's
not a big, strong striker in the Alan Shearer mould and I must admit I
thought about resting him after his exploits at the weekend."
About Andy O'Brien:
"I thought Andy
was superb. It's amazing
to think he has 10 years at this club and then some. I'm only worried
about the first 10 years because I probably won't be around after that!
"It was nice
for (Sylvain) Distin to be able to play alongside such an assured defender and I
thought Andy was terrific.
"It was his
best game in a black-and-white shirt but the true test will be whether he
can repeat that kind of performance against Henry and Bergkamp, or Rebrov
"As it is, I
have a very pleasant selection problem ahead of the Bolton game on
Saturday, with a rested Nikos Dabizas to come back and O'Brien and Distin
in such good form."
About man of the match,
going to be great for us. He's powerful,
quick and impressive in the air and I think we have unearthed a special
"I know Robbie
is desperate to play against his former club but Olivier has done his
chances no harm at all. I didn't think
this tie would be settled by a single goal before the game but as both
teams created and missed chances it looked more and more like it would
finish that way.
minutes I said to John Carver that one goal would win it, and I thought we
deserved to score that goal."
Barnsley boss Nigel Spackman was
"I wouldnt say it was
the best performance this season but it was a very good performance.
"We have now got to take it on into our next league game and if we can
show the same attitude and commitment and some of the football then we
will move away from the foot of the table.
"The players have set themselves a high standard today and they have to
maintain that but unfortunately the result was wrong for us and good luck
"I thought they played well and caused us some problems at times.
"The new players played very good football coming in against a Premiership
side and it is hard enough going into any game but to play against
Newcastle was very tough on them Peter Sand in the end found the pace
of the game a little too much for him and Chris Lumsdon did very well, he
got on he ball and organised things but tired towards the end which was
"Even for the rest of the players playing against quality players is a
step up and playing against the likes of Shearer is very difficult for
"I think we adapted well and put on a good performance.
"We could have gone in front early on and could have had the chance to win
"If that had gone in it would have given us a good chance of holding on
and going through but when Craig Bellamy scored in the 80th minute we
found it difficult to get back into the game.
"Overall I think Newcastle had the better chances and deserved it.
"Andy Marriott has played very well since he has come into the team and
tonight was no different.
"In the first half he made two or three very good saves and you think it
is just one of those night where you wont get beaten, but we got beat
late on and it was a good finish by Bellamy."
The first time Bobby didn't use any of
his five substitutes in 2001. The last time was against Leeds at
Gallowgate on Boxing Day, 2000. This could be a good sign in that he
didn't make changes for the sake of it, although he may have forgotten
that they were there at all....
Steve Harper claimed his first clean sheet of the year, his last coming
when we overcame Leyton Orient 2-0 at St.James' in the same competition
back in September 2000.
Bellamy's goal meant that he became the first toon player to register
goals in consecutive League Cup ties since Les Ferdinand in
1995/96 (Bristol City at home, Stoke away.)
Craig also moves into the
table of top scorers in this competition, his four goals putting him equal
fifth, along with Peter Beardsley, Alan Shearer, Mickey Burns and Paul
The record number of goals by a Newcastle player during one season of
League Cup competition is Alan Gowling's 7 in season 1975/76.
This was almost like old times for
Newcastle fans, a large contingent of away travellers having a comparatively short journey
and many opting to enjoy the delights of the local hostelries from the
With every white transit in the North East seemingly
bound for Yorkshire, all it needed to complete the illusion of days
previous was the Piranhas on the PA system and some chanting related to
the miners strike...
Even the admission prices were nearly
old-fashioned, with a fair few folk taking advantage of the rare chance to
pay on the gate for a first team game. Thankfully our hosts had
redeveloped their inhospitable away end and at
least some people took advantage of the seats installed.
appeared to have discovered inside toilets since we were last in these
What atmosphere there was to be had in Oakwell mostly came from the toon
fans, although the occasional shout from the home ranks would have
been more substantial had Olivier Bernard not been on hand to clear the
ball off the line in the opening moments of the first half.
After surviving that little heart-stopping moment, United then weren't
seriously tested before the break, and managed to slice open the Barnsley
rearguard twice, both Bellamy and Robert forcing saves from Marriott in
one on one's.
Robert also ruined some neat work by twisting into space
only to launch his shot high into the night sky, while Alan Shearer
claimed a penalty after both he and a defender tumbled inside the box. TV
replays later showed that his appeal was highly optimistic, but given that
he was booked later in the game for a late tackle, it's as well that the
referee ignored his foul-mouthed reaction to not being awarded the spot
At the back, our latest defensive pairing of Distin and O'Brien did
reasonably well against a willing but somewhat lack-lustre forward line.
The Frenchman earned the applause of the away fans in his first Newcastle
start for a handful of timely interceptions and hefty clearances, if not
for his variable passing.
From what he's shown so far, his heading ability
is a major part of his game, and for a big lad he has a fair turn of pace.
Purists would comment that he wasn't facing a very potent threat
and some of his best work was in clearing up scrapes he'd contributed to,
but it's so far so good as he adjusts to a new set of colleagues and the
pace and style of football in a foreign land.
Equally deserving of praise was his fellow countryman Olivier Bernard,
almost unrecognisable from the player we belatedly introduced to the
reserves nearly a year ago. On that cold December night at St.Helen's we
commented after his debut against the Liverpool stiffs:
"The introduction of Bernard at left back certainly livened up the
flank for United, and his performance included some immaculately timed and
executed tackles, astute passes and a mazy dribble....there's definitely
something about him that deserves a second look, and some undoubted
Well, after a year in which he's gone from being part of a French
colony to the sole representative at the toon and back again, and tasted
life in the basement with Darlington, he continues to show the same
attributes allied with a willingness to get stuck in and a desire to
At the risk of offending the Geordie Nation party, he's impressed more
this season in my opinion than the returning Robbie Elliott, who still
seems to be finding his feet back in the top level.
Both players cost
precisely nowt in transfers, but the younger Frenchman looks a better
prospect at this stage, and deserves the chance to stake a claim in the
Premiership side. His pre-season performances in low-key games at
Ashington and Queen of the South showed that he wanted to impress the
watching Robson, and earn an extension to the contract that expires this
After rewarding him with a cameo role in the Intertoto and then a debut in
this game, he obviously still has a lot to learn, especially in defence,
but has shown enough to make all the red tape and bureaucracy that club
and player endured to prise him away from his previous club Lyon
Back to the action, and the second half unfolded in similar fashion to the
first, with Barnsley showing slightly more in front of goal and forcing
Harper into a couple of decent stops.
However, gaps again appeared in the
opposition ranks when we won the ball in midfield, and with increasing
contributions from Solano and Robert as the game went on, chances
continued to come and go. Distin joined the attack and went close on two
occasions, while Shearer sent one swerving shot just past the post. It has to
be said though, that we failed to test the keeper as we had done before
Although the deadlock remained unbroken, with only a slight threat from
Barnsley an air of calmness remained amongst the toon fans, extra
time again looking as if it would be required for us to take the tie.
Eventually however it was the livewire
Bellamy who scored the all-important goal to his obvious relief, having
previously ballsed up a great opportunity right in front of the away end.
Some rough treatment by home defenders had also gone unpunished by the
referee, and the Welshman was deservedly cheered by the toon fans for
another committed display.
He could have had another treble to put
alongside his Brentford haul, but despite earlier misses he was in the
right place to claim the one that mattered.
While it's perhaps unjust to criticise tactics in a winning side, United
had cause to be grateful for the absence of extra time (and the dreaded
penalties), with both Lee and Shearer having put in hard shifts and Speed
returning from injury. As it is, 90 midweek minutes on players of a
certain age are bound to take their toll, and although we won it with a
late goal, there's a reasonable case for questioning why subs weren't
Shearer was in uninspired form, and another opportunity to give him a
break wasn't taken, meaning that once again Shola Ameobi sat on the bench.
With the decision being taken not to play him in the reserves, since
Shearer returned to service in late August, the understudy has only had
the Brentford game as a runout from the start and stints of 9, 14, 3 and
17 minutes in the league are hardly an ideal return for a player learning
Still, the fact that we played most of our "stars" in the game
demonstrates how seriously Bobby is taking this competition. With a chance
of silverware and a European place up for grabs, Robson was obviously
mindful of the circumstances that saw us slide out the competition at
Birmingham in the previous two seasons, and now all of a sudden this
competition loses it's Mickey-Mouseness and becomes a serious affair.
In conclusion, a relatively trouble-free victory, trees not pulled up, but useful performances from
some shadow members of the squad and an
all-too-rare continued interest in this competition as the year draws to a
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