Wednesday 5th December 2007, 7.45pm
Live on Sky
Venue: St. James' Park
1 - 1
Steven Taylor put Charles
N'Zogbia under unnecessary pressure but the stand-in left back's clearance was
poor and fell straight to Emmanuel Eboue whose cross was chested then volleyed
spectacularly past Given by Adebayor to stun a noisy St. James'.
Half time: Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1
60 mins Habib Beye crossed and when Alan Smith's flick
was dummied by Obafemi Martins, Steven Taylor was at the back post to steer the ball
in via the post from ten yards at the Leazes End. He then embarked upon what
he called a "half Forrest", galloping off to celebrate with the
Milburn paddocks. 1-1
Full time: Newcastle 1 Arsenal 1
thought the fans were going to suck that Steven Taylor shot in for us, but it
wasn't quite to be.
"They are the ones you've got to get in to win football matches, and
unfortunately it didn't, but Steven scored a very good goal anyway.
"I thought Arsenal might have come back a little bit after that, but they
didn't. We kept the pressure on right to the very, very end. It was a great
point in the end.
"The players are feeling a little better about themselves, and hopefully
they'll have a little bit more confidence and keep the desire and commitment,
and use their abilties and talents to good effect when the opportunity comes
"We didn't let our heads go down, and were very, very unlucky not to
equalise within a minute of Geremi's header.
"We put some pressure on crosses, throw ins and corners, and there were a
lot of scrambles going on in Arsenal's box.
"We felt we could put them under more pressure in the second half, and we
might get some reward. We got 50 per cent of what we deserved, and that was a
"They saw Arsenal begin to struggle for the first time in the game in the
second half, and then tried to take full advantage of that because it's not
often Arsenal struggle with a team like they've got.
"Everybody saw for the last 45 minutes they found it difficult going, and
we went right to the end and came up with the sort of opportunity that if we'd
had a bit more luck and confidence, we'd have actually won it.
"Under the circumstances, it is a weight lifted off us
all, and me. But I will keep working and knowing what's right and not get distracted by the
"I have been doing the job long enough to know I cannot let outside influences
change my focus or my way of managing because I know I would not be sitting here
if I was not good at what I do."
"I am relieved, but disappointed we did not win, which is a little hard to
"Pulling off a performance like that and coming back from 1-0 down and then
having enough opportunities or half-chances - and particularly one really good
chance at the death, left the lads and us disappointed, I have to say."
"Coming out of the run we have had going into the game, we would have all
settled for a draw.
"When they went 1-0 up so early, it looked like it might be difficult, but
tonight was not difficult for our players because of their commitment to playing
well at St James' to get the fans behind them and will them on to a result was
there for all to see."
"Sadly at the end, we did not get the just rewards we deserved from the header
at the far post, which was as good a chance as you can get."
Mort post-match said:
"Sam and I met and we knew that we had to put things right. We were both
very keen to go out and do well against Arsenal.
"Maybe it might not have happened last night, but we knew that eventually
it will turn round.
"We were never going to isolate things on one game, or say a time when we
would do something.
"We performed in a way that's incredibly satisfying for everybody connected
with Newcastle United.
"The fans would have went home happy with themselves. We're all thrilled
with the performance, and the result could have been even better.
"The fans were perfect, but that didn't surprise me at all. We went 1-0
down and they absolutely supported their team.
"And as we said throughout, the Newcastle fans can have a massive influence
to what happens on the pitch. They did that. They got behind us and the team
"It would be wrong to judge the team on a particular fixture, and I'm not
going to ignore the fact we had some bad results lately.
"And the team is going to need time to get things right, and we're going to
give them time to get it right. We'll get it right eventually.
"And it was evidence we are heading in the right direction."
from the stands was so big that overall I cannot blame the referee..... there
was a union to win this game and fight tonight. Everybody was on board because
their team fought like mad for 90 minutes and they got a point from
"It's not bad. We would have signed for that at the start of the season,
but when you are 1-0 in front..."
Asked if he thought the result was a fair one:
"Yes, maybe overall,
yes, even though it was frustrating for us.
"It was a physically very, very difficult game for us tonight and mentally as
well because they did fight for every ball.
"We were not up to our usual game, but we got a point that maybe we would not
have got last year.
"But it was down more to the quality of our defending than to our drive going
played a good game at home with the crowd behind them, shouting all the
Steven Taylor's first goal of the season was only our fourth in nine
games against Arsenal on Tyneside.
The defender opened his account this time round after grabbing four
goals last season:
(Celta Vigo h UEFA Cup, Blackburn a, Birmingham a FA Cup and Sheffield
His shot also prevented Sam Allardyce from becoming the first
Newcastle boss to preside over three successive home defeats in
the Premiership. The last Magpies manager to claim that dubious record
was Willie McFaul, defeated in the opening trio of home league games
on Tyneside - Premiership:
Drew 1-1 Taylor
2005/06: Won 1-0 Solano
2004/05: Lost 0-1
2003/04: Drew 0-0
2002/03: Drew 1-1 Robert
2001/02: Drew 1-1 Robert
2001/02: Lost 0-2
2000/01: Drew 0-0
1999/00: Won 4-2 Speed 2, Shearer, Griffin
1998/99: Drew 1-1 Hamann
1997/98: Lost 0-1
1996/97: Lost 1-2 Shearer
1995/96: Won 2-0 Ginola, Ferdinand
1994/95: Won 1-0 Beardsley
1993/94: Won 2-0 Cole, Beardsley
When praising the vocal efforts at Ewood last
weekend from our fans, we expressed hopes and fears that those 6,000 voices
could be submerged beneath waves of negativity and indifference on home soil.
We needn't have worried.
To quote country music giant Merle Haggard, "Today I started loving
you again", as our gathering resentment at the recent antics of some
fellow fans was blown away by a vibrant and vocal united front coming from the
Urged on in a manner that seemed to make
an impression on everyone, Newcastle's much-maligned players posted a
performance of genuine quality, determination and resolution on the pitch.
The Premiership leaders may have left Tyneside with their unbeaten record
still intact but they were probably more relieved than disappointed with the
draw, despite having taken an early lead.
And that goal was the first test of the
crowd's newly-rediscovered optimism.
The momentary bewilderment that followed the visitors goal gave way to a
stirring vocal response. The
team may have just conceded but the fans refused to follow suit and simply redoubled
their efforts - it's a long time since we
Where people had sloped off in disgust
against Pompey and 'Pool, tonight they stood only to exhort their side on to
greater heights. Like a revivalist gospel
meeting, people testified.
And from a personal perspective, it was
especially heartening to hear the Gallowgate End rediscover its voice and
start off songs and chants, rather than be the source of malcontment as
sometimes seems to be the case when looking from the other end (cue 5,000
We'd contemplated a headline of "A Toon called Malice" had it
all gone awry again, but in the end "That's Entertainment"
was more apt.
But before we veer off totally into
sychophantic simpering, it's as well to recall that we're still without a win
in six games and for forty five minutes gave little sign of having anything in
the style or content departments to go along with this rediscovered work
ethic.hat pressure relieving point was
seized upon by Roeder as evidence that his "way" would bring the
good times back to the ground.
Not that you'd know that from the post-match coverage, where the over-the-top
media reaction to this draw illustrated amply what ludicrous times we live in.
Despite Mort and Ashley's attempts not to portray this game as make or break
for the manager, we still had a build-up more in keeping with a Las Vegas
grapplefest. It was Judgement Night, apparently - even though Sky's Richard
Keys did his best to dampen his own channel's hype.
And afterwards - although Allardyce was entitled to get a little carried away
in his relief - there was a level of coverage that outweighed the ultimate
significance of this match to either team.
If anything, the reaction to this point was akin to the New Years Day 2-2
against Man U, with Taylor taking the part of goalscoring saviour from the
But let's pause to recall that one week later
Glenn's country casuals led by slacker generation icon Dyer,
loafed their way to a cup draw at St.Andrews before being trounced in the replay
- a defeat that Roeder never really recovered from.
The violent swings of over-reaction do little to help anyone and should things
not go according to plan against Birmingham this time, we'll doubtless be the subject of yet more
"crisis club" phone ins and broadcasts.
fairness though, the press-led over-reaction that portrayed Sam as hero rather
than villain was inspired by the crowd's backing, which included a
surprisingly vigorous rendition of "Big Sam's Black and White Army".
That was recognition that his
side had delivered the sort of gritty, industrious display that had been
(and feared) given
his previous organisational and motivational efforts at Bolton, but missing too
often so far this season.
That approach still doesn't tick all the boxes as far as we and most of this crowd are
concerned - although defensive solidity was still a vast improvement on the
Vitally though, there was also something to admire from our forward forays
towards the final whistle - a resurgence of the OOOH factor as we pressed
forward, Milner and Zog looking to find a way through and a series of corners
being forced amid great applause and encouragement
Even at that point there was a massive frustration at our setup that left a
gaping hole down the right flank that would surely have brought us some reward
had it been filled with a player getting into precisely the place from which
Solano's shot beat this lot here two seasons ago.
A redoubling of efforts is essential if we're
to stop the Birmingham revival - and dare we say that a more overtly attacking
formation would send out a positive message that it's not all backs to the wall
big hoof stuff. Something like Emre for Geremi or Enrique in defence to push Zog
Further proof of our own renaissance would come if we were to venture to Craven
Cottage and record both that elusive first away clean sheet for a year and
overdue second away win of the season without deploying eleven men behind the
In the same way that this isn't the time for votes of confidence, it's also
inopportune to start patting people on the back for a job well done. Fear
was ultimately a motivation tonight for us.
Quite simply, it's what they get paid for and so often talk about doing before
failing to delivery. One should never have to demand competence and spirit - it
should be expected.
As it was before, the future of Allardyce remains in the hands of his players
and the fans. Tonight proved that both can feed off each other and actually
enjoy themselves in the process.
The challenge now is to keep it going and not fall into the trap of believing
everything you read....