6th February 2016, 3.00pm.
Venue: St. James' Park
1 - 0
Gareth McAuley cleared the ball straight at Gini Wijnaldum and it fell at
feet. The midfielder's perfect ball set Aleksandar Mitrovic through on goal and when
Ben Foster charged out, the Serb stroked
the ball home at the Leazes End.
Half time: Magpies 1 Baggies 0
Full time: Magpies 1 Baggies
McClaren said after the game:
first five minutes today, you could see we were really up for this game. For
95 minutes we were relentless in attack, and we should have scored more.
"As a manager you do worry as the
game goes on, but you just have to sit down and pray it's just your day.
"(Andros) Townsend will get better and better,
the fitter he gets. When he picks up the ball he's so dangerous. He is so
positive and deserved a goal. That was good, and we had a number of heroes
"We knew that if we won today we'd be
out of the bottom three. Now we'll get players fit over the next few weeks,
and I hope we'll get better, stronger, as the season concludes.
"The players have been great - good,
attacking football. We've shown what this team is capable of doing, and it's
all about doing that consistently.
feel better tomorrow. Itís more relief because the last 10 minutes, you
always worry when it's 1-0.
"We said at half-time we needed a second goal and when it doesn't come, you
"But we created enough Ė it shouldn't have been close in the last 10
minutes. It was, we kept our nerve and held on, and I think we deserved the three
"It was a
great reaction from the team and just what we needed.
"People over-react a lot. I would say four or five times I have genuinely
come in after and been honest and said, 'Thatís unacceptable and not good
"The other times, and especially here, we have played good football,
attacking football, the crowd has been fantastic and they have been great
atmospheres and great games. We have got to continue that.
"We have got to improve our away form and show
that kind of character away from home, be tough to beat, keep clean sheets,
but playing the attacking football that we do.
"You wonder what reaction youíll get because weíve had words since
Wednesday, but with Taylor and Tiote we had fight and character on the
field. Their spirit is exactly what we need. If you get that from those two,
the rest follow. Theyíre so aggressive in the way they play.
"Tiote has only been back training with us for two days but heís 100%
committed and, if he keeps his composure and passes simply, heís a very
good player. I hope he stays now.Ē
"Coloís been on the treatment table with a swollen knee but he
wanted to play. It epitomises his leadership and character. Mitro has his
critics but heís 21-years-old, he leads the line and he fights. Heís
doing two hoursí extra training every day.Ē
On the returning Steven Taylor:
"Heís had one game at sunderland (a
behind closed doors kickabout), 60, 70 minutes Ė and I am so pleased we
got him 60, 70 minutes at sunderland, I will reiterate that.
"Players got minutes and if he hadnít,
he wouldnít have been able to perform like that.
"Heís been excellent in training,
he got through the cramp in the last 15 minutes and we will strap him up and
get him out there again.
"The heroes today were the likes of Taylor, Cheicky and Rolando, who we threw in really and
were probably not ready, but they got through it."
Taylor himself - who looked like a puppet from Trumpton at times -
"Iíve been dying to get back out there for ages so Iím absolutely
loving it. I feel a million dollars. Iíve come back from Qatar fitter and
"When youíre not playing youíre always going to be written off but I
like proving people wrong. Itís nice for a lot of people to eat their words.
I play with my heart and soul but we need characters.
"When you play for Newcastle you need a bit of fruit and veg down
there, youíve got to hold your own.ď
"I threw myself at everything and, yeah, wound West Brom up a bit. Our
teamís been a little quiet in the last few months so I livened things up. It
seemed to work on a few of their players Ė they were moaning and it put them
off their game.Ē
Tony Pulis said:
"The crowd were absolutely wonderful for them, that really pushed
them on, but we just weren't at the race right from the beginning.
"I think they've got good players. You look at what they've recruited and what they've brought in, I
think they're good players.
"It's just they most probably need the same as everybody else in
this league - they need a bit of luck and things to go for you. They didn't need it because they were better than us.
"Iíve been at the club for just over a year now and that's most
probably the most-disappointing away performance we've had. The best way of describing it is that we were in a boxing match
and we shadow-boxed for 90-odd minutes.
"We never got close to them - Newcastle were just better all over the pitch, it was just the
last 10 minutes really we got up the pitch and created opportunities,
and even then we don't make the goalkeeper make saves, so a disappointing day for us.
desperate to get Saido back playing. We need his old sharpness in front of goal.
We have to dust ourselves down because I was really disappointed with that
performance, but you get them. Itís about the reaction.
"Weíve got some good footballers but we didnít look anywhere near a
team out of possession, never mind in possession. But thatís only a second
defeat in 10 games.Ē
Baggies in Toon - Premier League:
2015/16 won 1-0 Mitrovic
2014/15 drew 1-1 Perez
2013/14 won 2-1 Gouffran, Sissoko
2012/13 won 2-1 Ba, Cisse
2011/12 lost 2-3 Ba 2
2010/11 drew 3-3 S.Taylor, Lovenkrands, OG
2009/10 drew 2-2 Guthrie, Lovenkrands
2008/09 won 2-1 Barton(pen), Martins
2005/06 won 3-0 Solano, Ameobi 2(1pen)
2004/05 won 3-1 Kluivert, Milner, Shearer
2003/04 lost 1-2 Robert (LC)
2002/03 won 2-1 Shearer 2
Full record v West Brom:
Injury and suspension saw a trio of U21 players
promoted to the senior matchday 18 for the first time - although none of them
were brought on. Defenders Liam Gibson and Callum Williams wore 35
and 40 respectively, while Dan Barlaser took number 47.
could have been excused for feeling out of place, with only three
of the starting XI for his previous appearance (away to Manchester United in
August) surviving in today's lineup.
They were messrs Coloccini, Wijnaldum and Mitrovic, while Tiote, Aarons and
Perez featured in both games and Darlow was an unused substitute each time.
Falling by the wayside though were Krul, Haidara, Mbemba, Colback, Anita,
Obertan, Thauvin, Cisse, Williamson and De Jong.
Today's appearance meant that United's number 27 has appeared for the
Magpies in 13 successive calendar years since his debut in March
collected a first clean sheet in ten league and cup outings, since a 2-0
home victory over Liverpool back in November.
failed to net at SJP for the first time in eight games and drew
a blank for only the second time in their last 16 visits to Gallowgate in all
A season of peaks and troughs regained an upward trajectory on Saturday, as a
chastened Newcastle side climbed out of the bottom three after a nervy but priceless home
Their dominance could and should have resulted in an emphatic success, but an all-too-rare Aleksandar Mitrovic
strike ultimately divided the sides - the Serbian's fifth of the season coming just after the half hour
mark of a game United thoroughly bossed but just couldn't make safe.
Mitrovic ran on to Jonjo Shelvey's pass and tucked a shot past Ben Foster at
the Leazes End to bring instant relief to a crowd who were still reeling from
seeing a rasping drive from Cheick Tiote chalked off in similar
fashion to his effort in the same goal against Manchester City in 2014.
Under pressure to provide both a display and result following Wednesday's
capitulation at Everton, Steve McClaren was forced into reshaping his defence
by Paul Dummett and Chancel Mbemba's absence plus a one match ban for Jamaal
With Jack Colback also unavailable, Rolando Aarons retained his place at left
back and there was a first outing for Steven Taylor in six months.
In truth though, almost any defensive line-up would have been untroubled by an
abysmal Albion display similar to our own toothless showing at Goodison. Bizarrely touted for the Newcastle job by a national newspaper, the
negative tactics of Tony Pulis in playing Victor Anichebe as a lone forward
prompted the travelling support to give their own verdict: "sh*t
football my lord, sh*t football"...
The half time introduction of a portly Saido Berahino made no difference, raising
questions as to whether this really was the same bloke we bid ££££
for just last week.
However, the Albion striker almost made his mark at St. James' Park in the
closing moments, ghosting into a shooting position inside the area as fellow
substitute Salomon Rondon advanced down the right flank.
Thankfully though, his poor pass to Berahino was intercepted by Daryl Janmaat,
ending any hopes Albion had of sneaking an underserved point and preserving under-used Rob Elliot's
United looked lively from the off in similar fashion to their last home game
against West Ham, barely a minute played when Gini Wijnaldum chested the ball
down in the box almost creating a shooting chance.
Home debutant Townsend had a curling shot saved soon later, before a golden
chance for Mitrovic to open the scoring went begging when he blasted a snap
shot off Foster from barely a yard away.
Jonjo Shelvey's effort from distance was saved by Foster before Janmaat's
blocked shot fell into the path of Tiote - who let fly from outside the box so
quickly that none of the crowd had time to encourage him.
That flew past Foster and saw the delighted Ivorian celebrate in front of the
home dugout - only for it quickly to become apparent that protests from the
visiting players saw referee Lee Mason consult the linesman patrolling the
East Stand touchline.
After a short pause, Tiote's "goal" was duly disallowed due to the
presence of Mitrovic in the box, standing well offside and in the eyeline of
the goalkeeper. Thankfully though better was to come.
Minutes later United went ahead when Shelvey's perfect ball put Mitrovic in on
goal and when Foster charged out, the striker stroked the ball home to relieve
the pressure on him and his colleagues.
Townsend almost capped an industrious home debut with a second half goal, but
his curling shot hit the Gallowgate goalpost and rebounded to safety.
Wijnaldum headed over the bar, Mitrovic found Foster with a header when
unmarked and he, Moussa Sissoko and Shelvey all went close but couldn't
score that vital second goal to relieve the increasing tension.
An anxious added six minutes was endured (in part due to Elliot's continual
time-wasting) before the whistle blew and United recorded back-to-back home wins for the first time since December 2014.
Warming up on the touchline to no avail was new boy
Saydou Doumbia, who had expected to come on but saw Ayoze Perez preferred as
United failed to add to their single goal advantage. He was stripped and
ready to come on in added time but was told to sit back down.
Also named on the bench for the first time due to the unavailability of a
dozen first team players were U21 trio Dan Barlaser, Callum Williams and Liam Gibson -
whose call-ups came too late to be included in the squad printed in the
Tayor, Tiote, Aarons, Janmaat, Mitrovic and
Townsend all put in decent shifts in a much-improved all-round display. Our upturn was aided by Albions' lack of fight, save for the
habitual nastiness of abused ex-mackems James McLean and Craig Gardner plus
pantomime villain, Jonas Olsson.
If the race to survive comes down to goal difference and we perish though, this game
will be exhibit A in terms of missed chances. More positively, a much-needed semblance of
home form is finally emerging - three wins, two draws and just one loss in our last
six. Lord knows we need it.
The danger though remains that we allow ourselves to be lulled into a false
sense of security and stroll out at Stamford Bridge next Saturday believing
the hype and that somehow the job is done. Hopefully the penny has finally and
belatedly dropped for all concerned.
This wasn't a complete performance, just an improved one aided by the bloody
awful opposition. Hanging on for a win in the 96th minute shouldn't be cause
for much celebration - only relief.
The win took United up a place to 17th, swapping places with a Norwich side who lost
their fifth successive league game when going down at Aston Villa.
The Canaries join Villa and the mackems in the drop zone, while we gained
ground on a Swansea side who drew - but are now unbeaten in four games - and
Bournemouth, beaten 0-2 by Arsenal on Sunday.
Tumbling towards the trapdoor though are Albion themselves, without a win
in five league games and a banana skin of an FA Cup tie at Peterborough to
face. The more the merrier - and that includes England's manager in waiting at
Palace, now winless in eight.
PS - Sadly missing from his
seat in the East Stand today after passing away on Friday was Murray Thompson,
a staunch Magpie follower across eight decades since first visiting SJP
in the 1940s.
A season ticket holder, Murray was also a regular in the Labour Club before
and after matches. Our condolences go to son Neale, family and friends.