8th December 2007, 3pm
Venue: St. James' Park
Conditions: Rain & hail
2 - 1
9 mins Cameron Jerome fired the visitors
ahead, latching onto a long pass that David Rozehnal missed and rounding Shay Given before putting the ball into
an empty Gallowgate goal. 0-1
39 mins A trip by Sadler on Obafemi Martins in the box was penalised and
he unconvincingly found the back of the Leazes End net via a post - with Taylor diving the
Half time: Newcastle 1 Birmingham 1
Emre's corner from the right found Habib Beye at the near post who headed home to send
St. James' wild.
The former Marseille defender notched his first Toon goal after
having won the vital corner and urged the crowd - and seemingly himself - on to
one final effort. 2-1
Full time: Newcastle 2 Birmingham 1
starting to get to know each other. Charles N'Zogbia linking up was important,
but James Milner is a well-established Premier League player at 21 and can only
go on from here.
"Joey Barton is coming to fruition and he has played
three games this week for the first team this season and has not looked
"Alan Smith up front and Steven Taylor at the back are
doing well, and the players are starting to get to know each other.
"The players are now giving of their best on a regular
"It is a really, really big three points. Nothing else
really mattered today but three points and we got them.
"We have worked very, very hard over the last seven
days Blackburn and then Arsenal and now Birmingham - and now finally got what we
"Birmingham, for us, is a winnable game. It would have
been a huge disappointment had we not won this game.
enjoyment comes later on - the relief is always when the whistle blows and you
have won a game that you deserved to win.
"We made hard
work of it and we were our own worst enemies in the first five or ten minutes.
reaction of the players was terrific. The fans kept with them and got behind
them and they responded in the right way.
everything we had to find that final chance and the quality of corner was the
"Habib Beye, one
of our star men, has got the goal. It was a well deserved three points in the
"From here on in
we have got to make sure we go down to Fulham and cut out those silly mistakes
and start putting our away form right in terms of results."
could see what Rob has seen (to give the penalty).
"I've seen the pictures since and
Sadler wins the ball and Martins is never getting there.
"I'm not so sure, it was very soft. It
was a really harsh decision against us and a couple of decisions have gone
against us and turned the game for Newcastle.
"It was cruel because we looked
comfortable. Newcastle threw a lot in to the box and we coped admirably. We know
we have got to pick ourselves up.
"We have taken three points from six
and most people would have tipped us to take zero from six so that is a positive
"With a little bit more belief we could
have come away with an even better result than a draw, never mind losing the
Sam's vital stats (Premiership): P16, W6, L6, D4 = 22 points from a
Rebuilding the fortress (Premiership): P9, W5, D2, L2 = 17
points from possible 27
That compares to the first nine home games of our other
Premiership seasons as follows:
points, 20 goals scored
1994/95 21 points, 23 goals scored
1995/96 27 points, 21 goals scored
1996/97 17 points, 20 goals scored
1997/98 17 points, 12 goals scored
1998/99 17 points, 14 goals scored
1999/00 15 points, 21 goals scored
2000/01 16 points, 12 goals scored
2001/02 19 points, 15 goals scored
2002/03 24 points, 18 goals scored
2003/04 15 points, 14 goals scored
2004/05 12 points, 16 goals scored
2005/06 16 points, 10 goals scored
2006/07 15 points, 11 goals scored
2007/08 17 points, 14 goals scored
This was the fourth consecutive home game in which we've
NUFC vs Brum @ SJP since 1970
2007/08: Won 2-1 Martins(pen), Beye
2006/07: Lost 1-5 Milner (FA Cup)
2005/06: Won 1-0 Emre
2004/05: Won 2-1 Ameobi, Bowyer
2003/04: Lost 0-1
2002/03: Won 1-0 Viana
1992/93: Drew 2-2 Cole, Lee
1985/86: Won 4-1 Beardsley 2, Anderson, Whitehurst
1979/80: Drew 0-0
1977/78: Drew 1-1 Nattrass
1976/77: Won 3-2 Burns 2, T.Craig
1975/76: Won 4-0 Macdonald 2, Gowling, Burns
1974/75: Lost 1-2 Macdonald
1974/75: Drew 1-1 Macdonald (Texaco Cup)
1973/74: Won 3-1 Tudor 2, Clark (Texaco Cup)
1973/74: Lost 0-1 (League Cup)
1973/74: Drew 1-1 Robson
1972/73: Won 3-0 Macdonald, Howard, Gibb
First penalty to be awarded in a match featuring us this season
- our last one anywhere came at Pompey in April (scored by Emre) and
the last one for us here was versus Liverpool in February (Solano on
First goal for Newcastle by Beye, who follows new boys Viduka and Cacapa
in getting off the mark, leaving Barton, Enrique, Faye, Geremi,
Rozehnal and Smith still to register competitively.
Having been reduced to
quoting bourbon-soaked country lyrics in midweek, we'll stay in tune toon and
take as our text that Geordie Musical "The King and Wey Aye".
Getting to know you,
Getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you,
Getting to hope you like me.
After a week that had began with raging newspaper headlines and radio
phone-ins and a gallant defeat, we progressed via a stirring home draw to a last
gasp victory that was almost a scripted happy ending.
Whether Sam had given himself a Yul Brynner was indeterminable though, due to
his winter get-up and sensible ski hat - worn under doctors orders after he
defied medical opinion to attend the game and spent 45 minutes standing out in
sleet and rain.
And those good folks who stayed to the end here and did the audience
participation thing were sent away with a warm glow - and cold feet.
Meanwhile, press box occupants frantically rewrote their match
reports/obituaries as Allardyce rode out the storm and received further welcome
messages of support from his dressing room.
All that was really missing was the sight of Corbridge's answer to Danny la Rue
addressing the nation in that patented exasperated whisper to explain another
pointless exercise. Hopefully Steve Bruce will be reading out the jokes from his
crackers coming Boxing Day when attempting to lighten then mood after a home
defeat at the JJB.....
In truth though, this wasn't a day for purists to assess tactics or formations,
it was about ending a losing run by any means possible and defying the
conditions to find those vital goals.
Memories of the FA Cup humiliation by these lot here in January weren't far away
from our thoughts and were invoked by James Milner in his pre-match interview.
And the lad played as if he had a score to settle - being unable to find the net
to compensate for his instantly-forgotten cracker in that tie, but dragging his
team on to the offensive almost single-handedly at times.
If the obligatory early setback didn't quite evoke the gutteral response of
Adebayor's opener in midweek, then enough home fans were prepared to stay with
the side and make a racket while another recovery job was undertaken.
However that patience was starting to be stretched as we exhibited similar
difficulties in retaining possession - albeit in pretty rotten conditions.
Butt had looked to be noticeably struggling to play twice in four days -
although there were rumours of injury/sickness in mitigation. His replacement by Viduka gave us a more conventional look, although hardly
helping Martins - who had struggled to get into the game and found himself
That alteration to the formation lifted the mood and saw the ball starting to
stick upfield a little bit more often, as the visitors were content to drop
deeper and allow us to start running with the ball towards their box - N'Zogbia
exhibiting brief bouts of this recently-neglected part of his game.
Our first penalty kick of the season arrived with immaculate timing and was
dispatched with some difficulty by Martins - who won the award and claimed the
ball, with our current policy being not to have a dedicated spot kick taker.
The goal boosted both team and crowd in equal measure and the deteriorating
conditions were forgotten as we continued to commit bodies into attack.
This was one of those games when we didn't want half time to come - in stark
contrast to some recent occasions when the referee's interval whistle was akin
to the "all clear" sounding.
From the restart we were unable to maintain that momentum though, as
the rigours of the week's fixtures seem to catch up with us and City looked the
keener and more potent.
Support was maintained from the stands though, with periodic bursts of
That peaked with the appearance of Emre - rightly interpreted as an attempt to
stir up the team and find some new angles to test McLeish's men from
However, Barton's unimpressive contribution could easily have seen him replaced, rather
than Geremi - and the former Man City man was perhaps fortunate to only be
yellow-carded when taking an opponent out.
The Turk claimed a late penalty after what looked like a clear handball by
Jerome from his free kick, but goalkeeper Taylor had hardly been tested in the
Gallowgate goal (save for Martins and Milner efforts) when that all-important
late corner was forced by Beye.
Of all the moans about Allardyce's Bolton, surely the gripe about them scoring
from set pieces was the most irrelevant one to Newcastle fans? After all, we've
hardly made our name on that trick - certainly not from corners in living
If there was one encouraging aspect of this display from our attacking, it was
the success we enjoyed in both driving to the byline to centre and also swinging
low crosses across the box.
Neither option really paid dividends, but the sighting of N'Zogbia in more
advanced areas was a boost, while a fit Owen would surely have anticipated and
latched on to one or two of said passes.
There were enough signs of life in the three
matches this week to keep the negativity at bay, but failure to win this one
would have been portrayed as two points lost (regardless of the circumstance)
and used as a weapon against the manager - and his players.
The supporter despair after the Liverpool defeat now seems to have been lifted -
the players having now put themselves into a position where they can be allowed
some (brief) breathing space, leaving the media to pursue other targets. We're
not a good news story.
This was a vital and deserved victory for players and manager, but also some
payback for the loyalty and emotional investment of the fans - for reminding
people that it does matter what form support takes.
Any form of relapse against Fulham, Derby and Wigan would put us and Sam back into
the mire - the difference being now though that nobody on either side of the
white line can claim not to know exactly what will follow round these parts, after the events of
the last seven weeks.
The immediate objective is to claim as many of those next nine points as
possible - and worry about everything else afterwards, be it the Nations Cup
calls (taking both today's scorers away) or a gruesome fixture list.
PS - Once again we'd like to dedicate the winning goal to all of those who'd
left before it went in...