Tuesday 9th February 2010, 7.45pm.
Venue: Pride Park
Admission: £30 (£33 on the day)
3 - 0
Amid much booing, Robbie Savage pushed the ball forward down the Derby right
forward to where Kris Commons had shown himself at the edge of the Newcastle
box. The tricky wide man best his marker before crossing from the byline for
Rob Hulse to head home from inside the six yard box in front of the away
support, with both Andy Carroll and Mike Williamson watching him. 0-1
Full time: Rams
3 Magpies 0
Half time: Rams 1 Magpies 0
Stephen Pearson took possession as Derby poured forward, advancing forward
down the middle of the field before slipping a short pass infield to Michael
Tonge. The midfielder took the ball into the box but was veering away from
goal when Jonas Gutierrez arrived behind him and clipped his right ankle
with his left boot. Commons then strolled up and calmly sent Harper the
wrong way, placing the ball low and with minimum effort to the goalkeeper's
A Commons corner was half headed out
before being half-volleyed back into the box by Hulse, falling into the path
Shaun Barker to finish with a crisp first time shot from 10 yards with Harper possibly unsighted. 0-3
Newcastle manager Chris Hughton said:
"We've got to look at ourselves. If we've got ambitions to get promotion
we've got to go to places like here and get something. We have to take it on the
chin, congratulate Derby on a victory and make sure that it doesn't happen
"I know what type of
game it was - it was a game where they were putting a lot of pressure on us, and
there wasn't a lot of space. What you generally tend to do is give it that
little bit longer, and hope that you can turn things around.
"I thought, re the performance, were they three goals better than us? No.
They just scored the goals at good times, and we weren't able to.
"If I look at the penalty, whether it was or wasn't, it was a soft one to
give away. The first goal, the lad Hulse gets between two defenders, and, of
course, the third one the centre-half is allowed to compete in the air, and then
come down for the second ball.
"For us, they're bad goals. It's not like us. It's been a particular
strength of ours, and we've certainly got to make sure we address that.
"What happened at Derby is now history. It was disappointing to lose by the margin we did, but the
best way to deal with that is to put it behind us by putting in a better
performance. We have a tough game against Swansea next and that is what
we are focused on.
"I don't really care how the results come. It was pleasing to get that many
goals [against Cardiff], it was pleasing to do that in front of the home support
and it was pleasing because we had a lot of new faces.
"But the reality is we just want to win
football matches. If we can do it that way, then great, but what's more
important is we win and if it's a 1-0 scrappy win, then we will take it however
Spot kick conceder Jonas Gutierrez added:
"I thought the penalty decision was a close call – it could have been
given, it could have not. The player was clever. As I went to touch the ball, he
put his leg in the way and then fell down. He got the decision from the
linesman, not the referee, but there was nothing we could do about it after
"It was a silly penalty to give away, and I should have been more careful.
Hopefully, I can learn from that mistake, and not make it again. You have to try
to make sure you don't make the same mistakes twice.
"I think the penalty came at a really bad time. We were on top, and I feel
bad for my team-mates and for the fans. It was frustrating, because it gave them
a second goal when we were looking to equalise, and I must say I'm very sorry
for my part in it.
"We didn't play very well, and it's frustrating, because we were so much
better against Cardiff. We thought we could come here and get three points, so
to be going home with nothing is very disappointing."
Rams boss Nigel Clough commented:
"Anyone who has seen
us in the last few weeks will say that result has been coming. The score may
have flattered us a little but that result could have happened at Plymouth and
could have happened at Sheffield on Saturday. We got our rewards for the
performances and all the hard work in the last few weeks.
"We don't mind playing anybody when we get our side out, or somewhere close
to it. We have finally been able to do that and we are in the second week in
February. That is a good indication of some of the problems we have had. That is
all we have been striving for – a settled side, a side that has fully fit
"Look at Paul Green. If you had seen
him six weeks ago, you would not have recognised him. Now he is getting all over
the pitch because he is fit again and he's strong. He said that during the
six-week period he came back after injury, he felt so bad, he felt like he was
running in sand all the time.
"It is not just getting players back
out there, it's getting them out there fit and getting them a run of games.
Shaun Barker is getting better each game, I thought the captain (Savage)
was magnificent and the whole midfield four dominated – Michael Tonge, Stephen
Pearson, Green and Savage. I thought they were very, very good indeed.
"Stephen Bywater produced a couple of
important saves when he needed to because Newcastle could have got back into it
at any time. The first 15 to 20 minutes was as well as we've played since I've
"We needed the three points and we are
in a position where we are still looking down rather than up. But we have a
chance to address that in the next 10 days when we have an FA Cup game at home
and then two more home matches in the League."
Newcastle's fourth league defeat of the season - following losses
at Blackpool, Nottingham Forest and Scunthorpe United. This
was the largest margin of defeat though, with that previous trio all
defeats by a single goal (1-2, 0-1, 1-2).
Defender Fabricio Coloccini has missed three of the four defeats
through injury, but appeared in the Bloomfield Road defeat.
This defeat ended an all-time record fifteen match unbeaten league
run and was our first league loss since October 2009's
reverse at Glanford Park.
We last conceded three goals when going down 0-3 at Anfield in May 2009.
The only Newcastle player to have started both that game and this defeat
at Pride Park was Steve Harper.
This was our heaviest league defeat outside the top flight since
the infamous 1-4 loss of April 1992 by Derby County at The
Mags @ Rams - last 10:
2007/08 lost 0-1
2001/02 won 3-2 Robert, Dyer, LuaLua
2000/01 lost 0-2
1999/00 drew 0-0
1998/99 won 3-4 Speed 2, Ketsbaia, Solano
1997/98 lost 0-1
1997/98 won 1-0 Tomasson (LC)
1996/97 won 1-0 Shearer*
1992/93 won 2-1 G.Peacock, Clark*
* @ the Baseball Ground, all others played @ Pride Park.
All time record v Derby:
Despite coming into the game on the back of Friday's dismantling of Cardiff
City, the recent history of both sides made this visit to Pride Park one of our
more testing away trips in this league on paper.
The resurgent Rams had won a bruising East Midlands derby against Nottingham
Forest in their previous home game, while some residual bad feeling remains
locally about the manner of the pre-Xmas 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion
when the visitors were gifted a controversial goal.
In between those two high points though had come disjointed home losses to
Doncaster, Blackpool and Scunthorpe that had Derby fans questioning their
manager's constant shuffling of personnel.
For ourselves, the feelgood factor engendered by the most comprehensive win of
the season and the arrival of multiple new faces into the squad was tempered by
a creeping tension over the manner of our performances, not to mentioning a
quietly lengthening injury list.
We'd hardly covered ourselves in glory on our last visit to this venue back in
September 2007, when Sam Allardyce suffered his first loss as United boss and a
five match unbeaten run ended. That was to be the only league victory Derby
managed in 38 games that season and there were to be echoes of that miserable
night in this game, as another floodlight failure unfolded alongside the
As expected, the home side were keen and eager from the first whistle and twice
threatened Steve Harper's goal early on without causing the United 'keeper
problems. At the other end meanwhile, an unchanged starting XI hinted at a more
positive outlook from Newcastle than had been seen at Leicester in our previous
However, the service to Andy Carroll and Leon Best
wasn't anything to write home about, despite Wayne Routledge looking busy and
at times pushing forward further than the front pair of Andy Carroll and Leon
Jonas Gutierrez looked to have
space to run into down the left as on-loan Nicky Hunt struggled badly for the
home side and pulled their defence out of shape.
The absence of Enrique again seemed to have a debilitating effect on the
Argentinean, who opted not to push the ball out to Patrick Van Aanholt on the
occasions when the youngster arrived on the overlap. Those moves then usually
promptly ended in disappointment, as Jonas headed infield only to be
dispossessed by an opponent.
Meanwhile the decision to start with Danny Simpson looked to have backfired
when he almost immediately looked to be carrying a knock and needed treatment
within 15 minutes. The right back had finished the game against Cardiff in
obvious discomfort, shunted out to the safe haven of the left wing while Ryan
Taylor covered for him at right back. And although Simpson kept going through
this game, he endured a poor night and won't remember this game with any
That was nothing compared to the toe-ending that Routledge received from
Robbie Savage after 37 minutes, with the veteran midfielder cynically targeting
the nippy Newcastle man in the Derby half. With the travelling supporters
roaring for a red card, a booking was all that the loathed Savage received -
along with volleys of abuse from the behind the goal.
Unfortunately that incident inflamed the home fans just as much, which inspired
Derby to push down their right and the dangerous Kris Commons centre for the
unmarked Rob Hulse to head home.
An instant response from United almost came as Routledge went one on one with
Stephen Bywater but saw his shot blocked by the Rams 'keeper. Kevin Nolan then
found himself in the uncharted territory of Derby's box, but was unable to beat
Bywater at his near post from a tight angle.
Unchanged at the break when the unimpressive Best had looked good odds to be
replaced by Lovenkrands, Newcastle pressed forward straight away and looked to
the game within seconds, when Carroll headed home from a Routledge
However play was brought back for an earlier foul on Routledge down the United right. While it's
arguable that the home defence stopped as Carroll jumped, the lack of an
advantage was by far the worst decision of a poor night from the officials - how many times
have we written that lately?
Nolan then received the ball in the home area but it wouldn't drop for him and
the acting United captain soon got himself back up front and within sight of
goal, but couldn't get his shot away.
Then came the pivotal moment of the match, as a Derby break ended with
Gutierrez clipping Michael Tonge in the box, despite the on-loan Ram being
forced away from goal - an easy decision for the referee and an inexplicable
action from Jonas, who had Van Aanholt between opponent and goal.
Even though, Newcastle were almost handed a lifeline from the restart, when
Shaun Barker headed an attempted backpass past Bywater and towards the unguarded
goal. Fortunately for Derby though the ball lacked pace and Bywater was able to
race back, with Best too far away to intervene.
A third goal then quickly arrived to put the lid on our night and despite a
substitution to introduce Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands and Alan Smith, the
home defence posted a clean sheet without too much trouble. They were abetted
by more disastrous work from a linesman, who failed to spot a foul on Routledge
when the United man was bear-hugged by and almost lifted off his feet.
The closing stages saw buoyant home fans celebrating as if they'd won the cup
and added cheers coming when the PA man confirmed Forest's defeat at Coventry.
While that was a good result for us, the inevitable West Brom home win over
Scunthorpe propelled the Baggies top on goal difference and knocked down once
place for the first time since our last defeat, at Scunthorpe last October.
Despite numerous gripes though, this defeat was all our own work. From the poor
marking to the ill-advised tackle, we were the architects of our own downfall.
It can be argued that we've relied on some good fortune at times since that
Glanford Park setback - the unbeaten run was never going to last until May and this was
just the sort of place to see us exposed when the luck ran out.
history just has greater sway than form and even Nigel Clough admitted that the score flattered
his side. However to draw a
blank against Derby for the second time in six weeks says more about our poor approach
play and inefficient passing than their backline - a situation that we've made
reference to previously when considering our own defence.
The dilemma of whether to stick or twist at Swansea on Saturday now has to be
faced, against a side who couldn't quite believe that they'd shipped three
goals on Tyneside back in November, but who looked eminently capable of tying
us in knots with pace and passing in central midfield.
defeat and a draw would give us a better return than two successive stalemates
and an extension of an unbeaten run that was simultaneously welcome and
meaningless in terms of the league table.
Breaking with tradition and fielding a more offensive lineup, Chris Hughton
watched here as his side proved to be neither crowd-pleasingly stylish or
grimly efficient, with set-pieces back to being lack -lustre and too many
hopeful forward punts to nobody in particular. All
vaguely depressing and predictable, but also a response to those who derided
the lack of adventure at Leicester.
One senses that he'll opt for the safety-first approach and for once we'll
agree with him, that a clean sheet is our first objective on Saturday. With
West Brom otherwise engaged and two home games quickly following, starting off
another unbeaten run is vital.