10 mins Damien Duff floated a free-kick
to the far post where Antoine Sibierski rose well to direct the ball
inside the upright.
On closer examination the Frenchman headed the ball down
onto the defender but even the PL dubious goals panel would do
well to take a goal like this away. Given that this is the UEFA Cup he
should be safe (see the goal in Dubnica they wanted to give to Charles N'Zogbia...!).
Half time: Tallinn 0 Newcastle 1
Tallinn 0 Newcastle 1
Glenn Roeder said:
"It's fantastic to go away in Europe
and win 1-0, which I always think is the perfect result because you have got the
away goal and the clean sheet.
"It's our third away win in Europe and now it would be nice to do likewise in
front of our own fans.
"I was critical of our defending against Fulham at the weekend, but I know I had
to be, and to be fair the players were critical of themselves.
"But they knew what they did wrong and I thought our defending was a lot better
against Levadia. Shay Given didn't really have a lot to do."
About the goalscorer:
"It was a trademark goal. We have
seen his ability in the air in training, which I saw first when I watched him at
Lens and when I saw him play at Manchester City. Give him enough chances to
score from aerial crosses and he will take a high percentage of them."
About the walking wounded:
"Unfortunately Titus tweaked his
ankle and his knee in the same incident and, while our doctor has looked at them
and does not believe the injuries will keep him out for a long time, if at all,
he is still a big doubt for Sunday.
"And as far as Taylor is concerned he has a bruised foot with no breaks or
fractures, but the bruising is taking a bit of time to come out and we are
checking him on a daily basis."
"Nobby should be just about ready to
return just when we have the next international break at the beginning of next
month, and he will probably not be available to us until we go in against Bolton
Wanderers in the middle of October."
"He was probably fit enough to play but I want to be in a situation where I can
leave one or two players out whenever we play three games in a week."
Coach Tarmo Ruutli said:
"I have only received positive
responses. I have received several messages.
"It's a pity
we could not win, but I think we made a good effort."
P111, W62, D21, L28, GF194,
There was a competitive debut for Antoine Sibierski, who became the first
Newcastle player to score on his debut since Duncan Ferguson against
Wimbledon in November 1998.
Sib joins the likes of Jackie Milburn, Len
Shackleton, Micky Quinn but not Malcolm Macdonald,
Alan Shearer or Craig Bellamy who only scored on their home debuts.
Third outing for the blue and black third kit and third win after
successes in Norway and Latvia.
United's European adventure continued with a second
successive Baltic jaunt - and another unimpressive 1-0
In fairness this isn't a new phenomenon: seasoned away travellers having
stifled yawns in previous seasons when watching United emerge victorious at
the likes of Breda and Panionios.
However in the stadiums of those hitherto unheard of opponents, we left it
late before scoring the goal that ultimately won the game - conveniently
erasing the tedium of the rest of the evening.
Tonight saw us dominate the opening stages and grab a goal through debutant
Antoine Sibierski - who had already spurned what looked like a gilt-edged chance
from the opposite end of the ground.
1-0 up and with Obafemi Martins having been involved in the build-up, there was
something approaching optimism that we'd see the Nigerian break his duck and
his side tangibly mark their superiority by knocking another couple in.
However there were to be no further goals as the Estonian defence got to grips
with Femi and Sib - surely the most bizarre forward pairing we've fielded
since Mirandinha and Frank Pingel.
Things started to go all to (le) Coq when Damien Duff was pressed into service at
left back following the switching of Peter Ramage to central defence in the wake
of Titus Bramble's departure with a leg injury.
And with Nolberto Solano absent and Charles N'Zogbia an increasingly peripheral figure,
Glenn Roeder deployed James Milner from the bench.
After having been banished from the 16 against Fulham in the wake of the
transfer window fiasco, presumably the vocal response from the occupants of
the A Le Coq Arena was deemed manageable, compared to what could have been
an embarrassing reception at a dis-chuffed SJP.
As it was, Milner's display down the right seemed to polarise opinions in
the away section.
The England U21 man enjoyed some success getting by the left back,
but his crossing was somewhat inconsistent - perhaps partly due to the
mystifying positioning of Martins, Sibierski and for a few minutes - Albert
We ultimately won this game after surviving one or two small scares in front
of Given's goal and with Martins having had a couple of fruitless late
gallops towards the goal that the Toon fans were mustered behind.
Shame then that he was one of a number of players who chose to ignore those
travellers at full time - despite the fact most of the
vocals in the second half had been in encouragement of the man already
dubbed "a poor man's LuaLua" by more than one regular watcher.
This result should be sufficient to secure our passage to the group stages,
where only a complete capitulation will see us exit. That then keeps us involved next year when the competition starts to get
interesting and shed its phony war image.
It remains debatable though whether this campaign is actually doing us any
good, given the casualties we've sustained thus far. The suspicion remains that we'll be undone by the first vaguely decent side
that we're drawn against.
We now return to Premiership action with low expectations of any
positive return from our next two away fixtures after this humdrum
Regardless of the perceived threat from the likes of Tevez and Bellamy, our
problems seem much closer to home and self-inflicted.
Those indefinable traits of spirit and luck seem to have temporarily
deserted us - some would say since England's World Cup Campaign - and at
present we just don't seem to be on our game.
Had we not won this game it would been nothing short of a disaster. As it was, we secured a victory that while not insignificant, was a long way
away from being satisfying.
Job done. Sort of.