28th December 2015, 3.00pm.
Venue: The Hawthorns
Conditions: Gloomy - on
and off the field
(£15 in last two seasons thanks to a reciprocal pricing
1 - 0
Baggies 0 Magpies 0
A spell of home pressure saw United unable to clear
their lines fully, with Saido Berahino's shot rebounding back to him on the edge of the box when blocked by Fabricio Coloccini.
The Albion substitute knocked a pass out to the lurking Stephane Sessegnon,
who cut in from the right flank with Paul Dummett shadowing him before
feeding the ball back to Claudio Yacob.
His hoisted ball into the box allowed an unmarked Darren Fletcher to head downwards
towards the centre of Karl Darlow's goal from around seven yards out. The 'keeper somehow dived over the top of the ball and it squirmed
under him into the back of the net at the Birmingham Road End. 0-1
Full time: Baggies 1 Magpies 0
Steve McClaren said after the game:
"It is a
game we never deserved to lose.
"It is a blatant penalty, I have seen it three or four times and the referee
when he sees it again will realise he has made the wrong decision. The
defender has grabbed Mitrovic around the waist and has put him off his shot
before we lost to a soft goal at the end.
"We have ended the first half of the season with a bit of consistency but
have been unlucky with our last two results.
"I am more disappointed for the players because they are fighting and
showing attitude and endeavour.
"I am interested to know if there were boos
(from fans at the end) because I think the team went over and were
[Yes, Steve. Plenty of boos, four-lettered
abuse and Paddington-like hard stares....]
"Sometimes you don't get what you deserve in football and the last two games
we haven't but we have to continue what we have been doing knowing - and I
know - it will turn around."
Tony Pulis commented:
"It's a great victory for us
and a good performance. The players' fitness levels were superb.
"The recovery and the work the medical
side have done to get them turned over so quick as they have and put in a
performance like that was absolutely first-class.
"We deserved the victory. It was a
good, open game. The first 10 minutes we could have been 3-0 up, they defended
stoutly but thank goodness the dam did burst in the end.
"They were dangerous on the counter and we had to defend the set-plays
well, but I don't think there's any argument that we should have won the game.
The disappointing thing again is that we should have scored more goals.
"Victor Anichebe on his day is unplayable. He's got everything you'd want
from a centre forward."
On Saido Berahino:
"He's lucky to be on the bench, never mind starting. Sometimes things go on
at football clubs that you people don't see and don't realise. He's a smashing
kid but he lets himself down at times."
"Sometimes supporters don't realise and understand exactly what goes on
behind the scenes.
"I always want the team to be a team, the supporters, the players, the
management side, the directors, everyone together.
"Sometimes Saido does things that break away from that. He's been told, but
he's been fine as you've seen today his reaction coming on was absolutely
"He worked socks off and he's fine - no problems. At times you have to make
him understand it's about the group and about the team.
"It's more a reminder it's about the group. You've got to look and
understand Saido's had almost five months where he's not prepared himself or
got himself ready and prepared to play in the team.
"He's a terrific player and he's got great ability and that great knack,
even today coming on, of getting in great positions. He's a top player.
"When Victor (Anichebe)
turns up he's a top player. He's shown that
today, he was a handful for them and they just couldn't handle him."
Halfway the lads:
(NUFC last ten PL seasons after nineteen
2015/16: 17 points, 18th (scored 19,
2014/15: 26 points, 9th (scored 22, conceded 28)
2013/14: 33 points, 8th (scored 29, conceded 24)
2012/13: 20 points, 15th (scored 23, conceded 30)
2011/12: 30 points, 7th (scored 26, conceded 25)
2010/11: 22 points, 13th (scored 28, conceded 29)
2008/09: 22 points, 12th (scored 25, conceded 27)
2007/08: 26 points, 11th (scored 26, conceded 29)
2006/07: 25 points, 11th (scored 20, conceded 21)
2005/06: 25 points, 11th (scored 18, conceded 21)
NUFC PL record in calendar year 2015:
GD -32 (goals for: 37, goals against: 69)
Points: 30 from a possible 114
That level of performance would have seen
Newcastle relegated in every 38 game Premier League season since the
league was reduced for the 1995/96 season.
Karl Darlow's Premier League bow made him the 25th player to feature in
our 19 PL games to date this season.
The 25 year-old native of Northampton was making a top-flight debut but has
played over 100 Championship games for Nottingham Forest -
so much for "throwing in a young kid" as Ian Wright asserted
on Match of the Day. Presumably he thought it was Freddie Woodman.
Darlow becomes the 202nd Magpie to represent us in the Premier
League and is the eleventh custodian within that group: Pavel Srnicek,
Tommy Wright, Mike Hooper, Shaka Hislop, Shay Given, Steve Harper, Jon Karelse,
Tim Krul, Rob Elliot, Jak Alnwick, Karl Darlow.
He's the eighth PL debutant for United this season, after Georginio
Wijnaldum, Chancel Mbemba, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Florian Thauvin, Kevin Mbabu,
Ivan Toney and Jamaal Lascelles.
Magpies @ Throstles - last
2015/16 Lost 0-1
2014/15 Won 2-0 Perez, Coloccini
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
Full record v West Brom:
NUFC's year ending results - Premier League era:
2015/16 West Brom (a) lost 0-1
2014/15 Everton (h) won 3-2
2013/14 Arsenal (h) lost 0-1
2012/13 Arsenal (a) lost 3-7
2011/12 Liverpool (a) lost 1-3
2010/11 Spurs (a) lost 0-2
2009/10 Derby County (h) drew 0-0
2008/09 Liverpool (h) lost 1-5
2007/08 Chelsea (a) lost 1-2
2006/07 Everton (a) lost 0-3
2005/06 Spurs (a) lost 0-2
2004/05 Arsenal (h) lost 0-1
2003/04 Blackburn (h) lost 0-1
2002/03 Spurs (h) won 2-1
2001/02 Chelsea (h) lost 1-2
2000/01 Manchester United (h) drew 1-1
1999/00 Leicester City (a) won 2-1
1998/99 Liverpool (a) lost 2-4
1997/98 Liverpool (h) lost 1-2
1996/97 Spurs (h) won 7-1
1995/96 Manchester United (a) lost 0-2
1994/95 Norwich City (a) lost 1-2
1993/94 Chelsea (a) lost 0-1
the papers before this game, a survey claimed that 2.59pm precisely would be
when people reached the lowest point of the festive season. For Toon fans
however - and Karl Darlow - the moment of maximum misery proved to be slightly
later, around 4.37pm to be exact.
That was the point at which the last game of a vastly disappointing year slipped
out of our hands, as the ball squirmed away from the 'keeper to deny him a clean
sheet on his Premier League debut.
Darlow had been a late inclusion in the side (too late for the stadium PA man to
read his name out) after Rob Elliot succumbed to illness during the warm-up and
the former Forest man endured a nervous 45 minutes in which a succession of home
corners flew over his head as he stood still.
Some half time coaching looked to have ironed out that almost-fatal hesitation
but the critical error was still to come, handing Tony Pulis a late Christmas
present as the Baggies ended a five game winless sequence.
In fairness though, ending this game empty-handed wasn't entirely Darlow's
fault, with no less than 22 goal attempts and 18 corners from the home side
underlining a rearguard action that we fought for the most part and looked to be
pulling off thanks to various desperate blocks and tackles.
A valid penalty shout (on Mitrovic) and two close range efforts off the woodwork
after the break (from Dummett and Coloccini) may have given the impression we
made a fist of trying to win this, but that wasn't the feeling at the time; our
counter-attacking both lethargic and mis-directed.
If one thing summed up our current plight, it was in comparing the respective
centre forwards on show. Making his first league start since scoring at SJP in
May, Victor Anichebe looked chubby but lacked nothing in application and had his
first shot on goal within three minutes of kick off.
Contrast that with our 21 year-old bruiser, presumably in his school team when
Anichebe scored against us for Everton back in 2006. Today he again looked
isolated and immobile, with no goal threat to speak of. Emmanuel Riviere is on
the verge of return apparently, lucky us - swapping a Serbian lump with no
striking instinct for a French one. Some clubs do have 'em.
Having spoken of using his full squad over the festive season, McClaren
named the same side before the goalkeeper swap was forced on him. A hamstring
injury to Vurnon Anita then required Cheick Tiote's introduction before the
second half arrivals of
Florian Thauvin and Siem de Jong. Both
were of purely statistical significance, making no difference. Tactics
questionable, impact minimal.
Three games on from the apparent upturn of the Liverpool and Spurs wins, we've
managed one point and one goal against inferior opponents, reverting to
our default position: unthreatening and introverted. McClaren and his coaches
may have got them trying a bit harder and showing more collective spirit but
there's seemingly little else he can extract in attacking terms. That's
His use of the word consistent after this game was entirely correct - we are
consistently poor and destined to go down.
There was little from those clad
in blue and pink to suggest
we're equipped for the second half of
a survival battle that begins at Arsenal
while occupying a relegation place.
Looking slightly less brittle at the back isn't enough - taking a point here
today from a 0-0 draw would still have been another wasted opportunity to join
push away from danger. In order to stay up we
simply need to gain more points than three other teams. Quite how that could
actually come to pass is open to question, after having taking just one point
from six off the two below us.
The list of teams we appear capable of beating shrinks by the day and the
logic-defying comments from Moussa Sissoko and others about achieving a top ten
finish underline that the true desperation of our situation doesn't seem to have
dawned on them - unless he meant the team he hopes to join in January (see also
Salvation via the imminent transfer
window seems the only game in town, with the fear of falling off the Premier
League TV gravy train seeing the sports shop owner splash the cash per 2013.
That's the widespread assumption, but even if the money is there and the
recruitment restrictions removed, it's by no means certain that anyone with any
credibility (or Premier League experience) will pitch up here next month. After
all, we know who's doing the picking and the dealing don't we?
Quite when these predicted reinforcements will arrive also remains to be seen.
Excluding the FA Cup tie, there are four games in January, meaning that 12
points are at least theoretically available, although anything other than a
howking at the Emirates will surely raise questions of match fixing.
If we're still trying to get deals over that mythical line by the time Jim White
whips himself into a frenzy on February the first though, then best make a note of MK1 1ST....that's
the postcode of the MK Dons ground. There's still time to save our own miserable
skins before the bottom three are cast adrift, but not much. Confident? No,