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Season 2006-07
 Reading (h) Premiership in association with

Marco's match prediction was for 
Milner to score first, something 
he wasn't far away from doing


Date: Wednesday 6th December 2006, 7.45pm 

Venue: St. James' Park

Conditions: dry/chilly


Newcastle United


3 - 2



23 mins Reading only partially dealt with a Milner-inspired foray and the ball fell to Solano halfway down the right flank facing the Leazes End. He cracked over a simply stupendous cross that Sibierski twisted to get on the end of and crack a header home 1-0 

37 mins The ball was played out to the Reading left and both Solano and Taylor hesitated before the former tried to get to the free man John Oster. The ex-mackem came inside and pulled the ball back to James Harper who shot low to Given's right hand and inside the post, via a discernible deflection off Nobby 1-1

42 mins
Some brainless defending ended with Babayaro losing possession of a bouncing ball to Glen Little on the edge of our box down the Reading right. He saw his shot blocked but the ball wasn't clear and ended up on the edge of our box where Emre's non-tackle allowed Harper half a yard to steady himself and curl a right-footed effort beyond Given

Half time: Newcastle 1 Reading 2

57 mins Attempting to get onto Sibierski's knock on, Martins fell in the box under pressure from his fellow Nigerian Sonko and Styles had no hesitation in giving the penalty award. 

It initially looked as if Solano would take it, but prolonged negotiations with Martins ultimately ended with the number nine spotting the ball and the Peruvian giving him a pep talk before moving away, shaking his head. Happily Martins shot firmly into the right side of the goal and celebrated with somersaults in the Strawberry Corner 2-2  

(in our nether world of magpie memories, we do recall tonight's half time hero David Kelly having a right old ding dong with Gavin Peacock in similar circumstances at the same end of the ground just short of 14 years ago. Kelly won the argument and netted the pen to seal his hat trick, Gavin being rewarded for turning the other cheek in the final moments when he grabbed a goal.)

84 mins
Some foraging in the centre circle from Emre saw him emerge goalwards with the ball, two visiting players backing off him in a manner that doubtless saw them later chastised by their coaching staff. With passing options either side of him, the Turk unleashed a fabulous curling strike that dipped viciously into the net. Cue delirium and massed scarf waving 2-3

Full time: Newcastle 3 Reading 2

We Said

Glenn Roeder commented:

“Massive, absolutely massive.

"I could not be more pleased. He
(Martins) certainly showed he knows how to score a penalty.
"It is only a matter of time before he shows everybody he knows how to finish in open play.

"He had a goal taken off him against Portsmouth, which we all know now was a poor decision, and there have been a few incidents recently - he hit the crossbar at Middlesbrough and again tonight with a tremendous header.

"He has just not quite had the breaks he deserves, but it is starting to come and if he can pinch some goals in the next few games, that will give him even more confidence.

"But I am sure the celebration we saw tonight, we will see many more times.

"Babayaro showed immense courage and bravery to play through that difficult period. I was quite surprised at the reaction he was getting when he was on the ball early in the second half.

"But typical of our supporters, he kept showing for the ball and playing well, and it all changed again and they got very much behind him.

"I was unhappy with a member of Reading's coaching staff making comments at Emre. He came in irate at half-time and it was only justice he sent them packing with no points. I couldn't really repeat what was said, but there were comments directed at Emre and he had every right to be upset.

"We’re above that - we will just move on. Where other clubs like to make a big fuss of things, we don’t. Iit was justice that Emre should score the winner and what a goal it was. 

"He has given the goalkeeper the eyes, looked one way and then wrapped his foot around the ball and hit his shot the other way. It was a high quality goal from a high quality player.

"In a strange way, I suppose that’s the kind of game our fans enjoy, as long as it comes with that outcome.

"There weren't any raised voices at half time, we just needed to talk to the players, sort a few things out at set pieces and give them the confidence to go out there and play in front of 52,000 expectant people."

They Said

A slightly dis-chuffed Steve Coppell said of the penalty:

"It was a critical incident, and I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions,"

"The dressing-room is full of very disappointed players. It feels such a waste. 

"Categorically, they were saying that there was contact with the ball. The referee was behind the Newcastle player and there’s no way he could see what happened. It was a guesstimate and that’s not what refereeing is supposed to be about.

"That gave them the impetus then and it was disappointing that the winning goal came from a misunderstanding from a couple of our lads in the middle of the park.

"But to be fair to the lad, it was a great run with real purpose and a terrific strike.

"Whether it’s a sign of the journey we’re making or not, we’re massively disappointed."

Two-goal James Harper commented:

"I've got to apologise to the lads and the fans.

"They got a pen that wasn't really a pen, and then I lost it on halfway, Emre put it in the top corner and I have gone from hero to villain.

"I looked at my phone afterwards and I've got texts from people talking about my two goals but little do they know it's my fault we lost.

"There is nothing I can do now but it's horrible, a killer. The gaffer doesn't like us playing in dangerous areas but I didn't think it was dangerous on halfway.

"I thought for 20 minutes in the second half we battered them and it's a sickening blow.

"The lads have been good as gold, saying I scored to get us back into it, but all the fans have come up here, it's a horrible journey for them on the coach and to lose like that is not nice.

"Now we've got Watford on Saturday to put it right. Hopefully I can get the winner and make it up to the fans and the lads.

"The ref was standing next to me, he gave it and I said 'Rob what's going on?'. The linesman didn't give it, he said, 'No, I gave it'.

"I asked him if he could see and he said yes, but he was standing next to me and I didn't see it.

"'Sonks' said maybe Martins handballed before he went over but it's just one of those things. Straight away he gave an offside against Sibierski because he knew he'd done wrong on the pen.

"It's one of those things and we owe them one at our place."


We are now 15th in the Premiership table and unbeaten in our last 7 games, having lost just once in our last 11 (all competitions).

Royals in Toon:

1899/00 won 2-1 (FA Cup)
1968/69 won 4-0 (FA Cup)
1989/90 won 4-0 (Lge Cup)
1989/90 won 4-1 (FA Cup)
2006/07 won 3-2 (Premiership)

A first home Premiership goal for Obafemi Martins, scored at the Gallowgate end - just like his pair in the UEFA Cup against Levadia were. This was only his second in eleven Premiership appearances (West Ham being the other).

We scored three times in a Premiership game for the first time since the 3-0 beating of West Brom at SJP in April 2006.

And one has to go back to January 2001 to find the last time that three different non-UK players got on the scoresheet in a Premiership scoresheet. That was a 3-1 win at Leeds when Acuna (Chilean), Solano (Peruvian) and Ameobi (Nigerian) all netted. 

Siberski has now scored in the last three home games and has six in all competitions for us from ten starts and five sub appearances. Compare that to his Man City stats of 15 goals from 74 starts and 33 sub appearances.



Into December then and a month on from the Barrack Road implosion that was the Sheffield United game, things continue to straighten out in a vaguely pleasing manner.

Scarves have been given out and although the queue for the Physio's room is bigger than the crowd goggling at Fenwicks window, good cheer and good fortune seem to have come home to roost.

For parts of this game though it certainly wasn't the season of goodwill to all, with sections of the SJP crowd apparently under the impression that they'd turned up to see a pantomime and behaving accordingly. More of that later though...

With the rare benefit of five full football free days, we began in decent fettle.

Milner came close to testing the 'keeper and Martins looked determined to dig out a goal from somewhere - walking off at the interval having seen one saved, one just over the bar and one off the woodwork.

By that point though we'd underdone our early good work and once again seemingly paid the penalty for failing to build on a deserved lead.

Initially reticent, the visitors came into their own for the final 15 minutes of the first half, scored twice and could have had another couple as they suddenly cottoned on to the fact our defence was exposed and suffering from a touch of the Corporal Jones's.

That was partly caused by the performance of Babayaro, who seemed to be operating in isolation and causing consternation as a consequence among Taylor and Ramage, who tried to adjust to cover only to find themselves lacking assistance from further up the field.

While Butt continued in his recent lung-busting way (his standing has never been higher amongst the fans), N'Zogbia and Emre seemed averse to helping out, idling upfield with Sibierski and Martins as an emboldened Reading tried to set about us.

The interval score was obviously of considerable concern, but those who booed Babayaro for his inactivity before the goal and then gave the whole team the bird as they trooped off should frankly be ashamed of themselves. Pathetic.

The noticeable abuse of Babayaro continued after the break, but never to the extent reported in some quarters (there may have been a few feathers on the pitch, but I'm sure that they weren't accompanied by a vat of boiling tar).

It was vaguely surprising to us that the defender was tempted away from the treatment table at all, but patently obvious that he wasn't fit. 

Had he not turned out though, we would have really been hard up and presumably resorted to the sulky Zog to fill in at left back. Now if anyone deserved booing tonight.....

We're not excusing Babayaro's poor showing in the first half, but the evidence of our eyes shows it took him an hour to shake off his ring-rustiness before making a vital contribution in the closing stages. 

We just don't believe that slack-jawed arseholes in the paddocks shouting at him made the difference.

We've been down this road before and as in previous times, we totally fail to understand what  hounding our own players in this sort of hysterical knee-jerk manner is meant to achieve. 

What twisted gratification do people get from forking out to watch this stuff, then seemingly doing their best to undermine the team they profess to support?

Most of those involved couldn't spell anarchy, let alone be motivated enough to try and provoke disorder and unsettle the current regime. It's no more than slack-jawed buffoonery - the malignant tendency. 

There's a fine line between a gut reaction and outburst when something goes wrong and a pre -meditated intention to slag players off, or indeed the whole team. 

Unfortunately we have a faction of "fans" at present who are ready to switch into the latter mode at the drop of a cross. Strange though that they become shy bairns when providing encouragement to the team is required - or staying in their seats until full time.

Like the Bramble thing, we're not 100% sure that there's not a racially motivated angle to it all, with certain throwbacks taking advantage of the chance to indulge in some good old-fashioned baiting whenever one of our non-white players falls below a certain perceived standard.

The atmosphere grew progressively more negative and a third Reading goal at that point would have doubtless had the "sack the board" faction clearing their throats and people nipping out to secure a prime spot outside the Milburn steps to get their mugs on Sky TV. 

If anything the Baba abuse actually had a positive effect on the crowd, as those right thinking onlookers with a sense of proportion and a memory slightly larger than the average guppy started abusing the booers.

That then led to a counter protest of people actually cheering their own side on, which thankfully was taken up and within minutes had a right old din echoing round the place.

Such was the turnaround that we scanned the crowd closely to see if that Vic Reeves' old assistant Les had appeared and was running through his spirit level and chives routine (don't worry if this means nothing to you...)

Having never displayed the slightest talent for playing the game, we are only able to recount to you the two things that people who have worn the shirt tell us:

There's no better crowd to get a lift from when things aren't going well than this one. It's a unique feeling and one which stays with you for a lifetime.  

There's no worse crowd to be when things are going badly than this one and they are on your back. The negativity is contagious and can simply destroy players.

Work it out for yourselves.

Back to the proper action and we got back on level terms thanks to a dubious penalty award, followed by a Sibierksi effort that was inexplicably ruled out.

Some good positive support in the closing stages though made this an enjoyable evening and kept the interest levels up right until the end - Reading thankfully giving Leroy Lita (their cut-price version of Martins) only ten minutes in which to try and worry our defence.

Emre's goal was a belter and let's face it - long, long overdue, sending everyone away in good heart and good cheer, the previous misadventures and recriminations of the evening forgotten about.

We remain in a precarious position, but despite the injury blows we are starting to get back to the spirited team performances that characterized Roeder's time in charge last season - and the results are being recorded in a similar fashion. Nothing earth-shattering, but heading in the right direction.

The rest of our December programme looks like a slog, with it virtually guaranteed that the wheels are going to come off somewhere when we meet a decent side on a good day, when we're under strength and under the weather.

It could come at Stamford Bridge, The Reebok or even at St.James' on New Years Day. One bad result though won't undo the good work of recent weeks and shouldn't provoke hand-wringing and soul-searching. 

To truly appreciate and savour that great winning feeling that was evident tonight, you do have to put up with some rotten displays. People seem to have forgotten that.   

As the spirit, confidence and belief among the squad holds steady in the face of adversity, it's vital that those qualities don't ebb away from the terraces. 

If this team were sinking without trace then we couldn't argue against people vocally rubbishing them - even though we wouldn't be joining in.

But if there's commitment and effort on display as we are currently seeing, we fail to accept or understand why that cannot be replicated by those who profess to "hate sunlun", but often seem to forget that they can show their affinity for Newcastle at times other than the 90 seconds after we score a goal.  

The away travellers among us tend to do the triumph in adversity thing quite well, it's the moaning magpie minnies closer to home who are the enemy within.  

As someone once said "support the Toon, it's your duty." 

Or stop in the house and boo the cat. 



Page last updated 06 December, 2012