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Season 2013-14
 West Bromwich Albion (a) Premier League

In association 


Wednesday 1st January 2014, 3pm. 

Venue: The Hawthorns

Conditions: Wet and miserable

Admission: £15 (£39 in 2012/13)
A welcome reciprocal pricing policy between both clubs saw a massive reduction.

£3 featuring a cool cover, inspired by a 1960's Blue Note jazz album.


West Bromwich Albion

Newcastle United

1 - 0




Half time: Baggies 0 Magpies 0

Hatem Ben Arfa carelessly conceded possession on the United left, allowing Chris Brunt to send Matej Vydra through on goal. The Czech international outpaced Williamson and made his way into the box, only for Tim Krul to chop him down in full flight. 

TV replays confirmed that the United keeper's challenge was needless and he left his foot high for the on-loan Baggies forward to trip over. The referee opted not to show Krul any colour of card and Saido Berahino converted the resultant spot-kick at the Birmingham Road End.

Full time: Baggies 1
Magpies 0

We Said

Alan Pardew commented:

"Iím disappointed for him (Mathieu Debuchy) and disappointed for us but I don't think we can have too many complaints.

"I think Mathieu has been our best player this last period, and he is an honest player. He genuinely went for the ball. There was no malicious intent, but you can't take off with two feet and he knows that.

"We are going to suffer, and so will he. He will be a big miss for three games, and obviously it affected us today. Unfortunately we couldnít find that breakthrough before the sending off because ≠obviously that changed the game. 

I thought it was a penalty. Fortunately the forward had a big touch, otherwise we might have lost another player (Tim Krul) - I thought the referee got that right. That was the deciding factor in a very tight game.

"I can't fault the players. I thought they were terrific in their application and attitude but with this programme, with 10 men, you're always going to be struggling. 

I thought it was a game we had good control over but unfortunately we couldn't get the breakthrough before the sending off. Obviously that changed the game."


They Said

Keith Downing:

"Newcastle came with seven wins out of ten and have some fantastic players.

"We had to make sure we nullified their strengths. I thought we did that and restricted them to few chances. I thought we created one or two really good opportunities.

"It was a good penalty, he hit it well. Saido stepped up and fair play to him. He is a confident boy. He understood the consequences of it as it was a big pressure penalty. Chris Brunt has produced a fantastic assist. Chris gets underestimated here.

"The sending off made a big difference and opened the game up for ourselves, but they always looked a threat on the break. We had to be careful but we have made some positive changes. I always intended to do that."


It proved to be fourth time unlucky for the yellow change kit, after victories and clean sheets at Spurs, Manchester United and Crystal Palace our unblemished record melted away.

Shola Ameobi made his 300th league appearance for the club (162 starts).

The second red card of Mathieu Debuchy's Newcastle career was our third of the season, coming after similar straight reds for Steven Taylor at Manchester City and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in the home game against Liverpool. This was the 64th dismissal of a Toon player in our 750 PL games.

First footing: NUFC New Years Day post-war record:

1946 Sheffield Wednesday (a) won 2-0 Hair, Wayman
1947 Forest (h) won 3-0 Bentley, Wayman, Woodburn
1948 West Brom (h) won 3-1 Dodgin, Milburn 2
1949 Preston North End (a) lost 1-2 Taylor
1953 West Brom (h) lost 3-5 Davies, Milburn, Mitchell
1954 Blackpool (h) won 2-1 Milburn 2
1955 Sheffield United (a) lost 2-6 Keeble, Mitchell
1957 Birmingham City (h) won 3-2 Tait, Casey 2(1pen)
1966 Aston Villa (a) lost 2-4 Bennett 2
1969 Real Zaragoza (a) 2-3 Davies, Robson
1972 Wolves (a) lost 0-2
1973 Leicester City (h) drew 2-2 Tudor, Smith
1974 Arsenal (a) won 1-0 Hibbitt
1980 mackems (h) won 3-1 C'wright, Shoulder, Cassidy
1983 Carlisle United (h) 2-2 (1-1) Keegan(2,67)
1985 mackems (h) 3-1 won Beardsley 3
1986 Everton (h) drew 2-2 drew Beardsley, Gascoigne
1987 Manchester United (a) lost 1-4 D.Jackson
1988 Forest (a) won 2-0 Gascoigne, Mirandinha
1990 Wolves (h) lost 1-4 Brock
1991 Oldham Athletic (a) drew 1-1 Quinn
1992 Southend United (a) lost 0-4
1994 Manchester City (h) won 2-0 Cole 2
1997 Leeds United (h) won 3-0 Shearer 2, Ferdinand
2003 Liverpool (h) won 1-0 Robert
2005 Birmingham City (h) won 2-1 Ameobi, Bowyer
2007 Manchester United (h) drew 2-2 Milner, Edgar
2014 West Bromwich Albion (a) lost 0-1

Magpies @ Throstles - last 20:

2013/14 Lost 0-1
2012/13 Drew 1-1 Gouffran
2011/12 Won 3-1 Cisse 2, Ben Arfa
2010/11 Lost 1-3 Lovenkrands
2009/10 Lost 2-4 Carroll 2 (FAC)
2009/10 Drew 1-1 Duff
2008/09 Won 3-2 Duff, Lovenkrands, S.Taylor
2005/06 Won 3-0 Owen 2, Shearer
2004/05 Drew 0-0
2002/03 Drew 2-2 Jenas, Viana
1990/91 Drew 1-1 Quinn
1989/90 Won 5-1 OG, Brazil, Brock, McGhee, O'Brien
1985/86 Drew 1-1 Wharton
1984/85 Lost 1-2 Baird
1977/78 Lost 0-2
1976/77 Drew 1-1 Barrowclough
1973/74 Won 3-0 Tudor, Macdonald, Barrowclough (FAC)
1972/73 Won 3-2 Tudor 2, Smith
1972/73 Lost 1-2 Hibbitt (TC)
1971/72 Won 3-0 Macdonald 2, Busby



Newcastle started 2014 the way they finished the previous year - conceding a second half goal and failing to trouble the opposition goalkeeper - but shot themselves in the foot at a soggy Hawthorns as the run of victories in the "lucky" yellow change shirt came to an abrupt end.

With the game apparently heading for a goalless draw, Mathieu Debuchy was dismissed following a two-footed challenge on Claudio Yacob just after the hour. That act and the conceding of a late penalty by Tim Krul that ultimately decided a sterile contest in favour of Albion and gave their manager Keith Downing the first victory of his caretaker stint at The Hawthorns.

The United defender's lunge was undoubtedly reckless but he appeared to win the ball cleanly and there were few appeals from the home side for referee Lee Mason to take action. The official reached for his top pocket and pulled out a red card, leaving Debuchy sidelined for three games.

While Debuchy and Krul made the headlines though, equally culpable though were the rest of an under-par United side, notably Hatem Ben Arfa. Having looked bright in recent appearances from the bench, the Frenchman arrived at half time in a bid to inject some life and creativity into a stagnant side showing the effects of their efforts against Arsenal some 72 hours previously. 

However his rotten display made a mockery of claims to regain a starting berth, thoughtlessly surrendering possession for the attack from which Albion ultimately scored. A forgettable afternoon then culminating in a decision not to try a shot on goal in the closing seconds of added time. 

Enduring back to back league defeats for the first time since September, Alan Pardew's shot-shy side also registered successive blanks in front of goal; something they've not managed since Loic Remy's debut in the third game of the season back in August.   

A Baggies lineup that included Nicolas Anelka despite the furore over his goal celebration a week earlier meanwhile were slightly more dangerous but badly wayward - the veteran forward somehow missed from close range after being teed up by Morgan Amalfitano.

The talented elder brother of United misfit, Romain, Amalfitano also supplied centres that Jonas Olsson and Chris Brunt spurned before opting to shoot himself and firing over Krul's bar when well placed. Ex-mackem Stephane Sessegnon also failed to connect with a Liam Ridgewell cross as the home side looked to build on a run of three successive draws.

United's best chance in the first period fell to Yohan Cabaye who latched on to a Mike Williamson nod down but the midfielder's right-footed effort flew wide of the left upright when he really should have got his effort on target.

A half time reshuffle saw Ben Arfa replace Yoan Gouffran, but that did little to improve matters in attack, where Shola Ameobi and Remy were struggling to make any sort of impression against a side without a clean sheet in nine attempts and a home crowd who were anything but buoyant. 

Ameobi's size had undoubtedly served a purpose in recent weeks and there was logic in thinking he could occupy Olsson and McAuley, freeing up Remy. However, that plan never became reality, with a litany of offsides, pointless fouls and aimless trudging around making him a certainty to come off. 

But Debuchy's 62nd minute red card threw Pardew's plans into disarray and with Fabricio Coloccini also limping off with knee ligament damage, the possibility of collecting three points instantly turned into the chances of nicking one from a rearguard action.

In the event, United's ten men almost held out - Haidara and Yanga-Mbiwa coming on to bolster a defence which saw Davide Santon switched to right back. And when Ridgewell missed an absolute sitter late on, our first away draw of the season seemed nailed on. 


Then came the penalty decision and conversion, after which Ben Arfa wasted the chance to shoot before Cabaye hit a weak half-volley straight at Ben Foster. Poor and annoying, but not enough to expunge memories of recent awaydays when it went right at White Hart Lane and Old Trafford.

And getting our campaign medals out, thoughts return to the utter desolation felt at full time in our last Jan 1st away game, back in 1992. Trudging out of Roots Hall after a 0-4 battering by Southend United, we were firmly in the Division Two brown stuff and looking beyond salvation.

Experience has taught us that the saturated festive fixture list generally brings mixed returns in terms of points and performances, but in hindsight a fresher line-up may have been wiser today against a misfiring Albion who were without a victory in their previous nine games. Any possible benefit gained from putting Vurnon Anita and Papiss Cisse back in the starting XI though would presumably have been negated by doing the same with Ben Arfa.

The eternal question of whether to change (alter, rotate or weaken as your view dictates) the league team for the FA Cup is slightly altered this time round, with the certain absence of messrs Coloccini and Debuchy dictating defensive thinking for more than just the visit of Cardiff City. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haidara, Steven Taylor and Paul Dummett all now come into the reckoning, but who will feature on Saturday remains to be seen. 

Last season's shocker at Brighton was blamed on injuries (Coloccini and Cisse), international duty (Tiote) and transfers (Ba) but Anita, Shola, Santon and Williamson all still started in Sussex for a team who were in fifteenth spot. Their contribution was as negligible as no-marks like Mehdi Abeid and Nile Ranger, but due in some part to the role they'd played in games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton over the festive period.

This time round the absence of that quartet from the FA Cup team would be commented upon and doubtless justified as insurance against further absences for upcoming Premier League games. But having enjoyed an injury-free run so far in this campaign, coping with a couple of absences should be something we take in our stride - we don't have to hoy in James Tavernier to make up the numbers this time round.  

This cuts both ways: with top-flight status secured, Champions League qualification now almost impossible and a Europa League place seemingly undesirable to the Barrack Road hierarchy, a serious tilt at the FA Cup should be our top priority - and to hell with all the wittering on from Paul Lambert et al about taxing schedules. Seize the chance, pick your strongest team, don't invent injuries.

If not this year, when exactly will Pardew have the guts to lead an assault on the silverware that he supposedly craves? This is a stronger squad in better form than 12 months ago and with players not in the current first XI who are capable of doing a job in league and cup. He just has to pick them on Saturday, and again in each round. You want to do something for the fans? do that.

After all, even JFK has an FA Cup winner's medal in his trophy cabinet (from 1967) - along with his Wisden Cricketer of the Year award, Wimbledon men's singles trophy, US Masters title.....

Niall MacKenzie

Page last updated 06 July, 2014