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Season 2015-16
Norwich City (a) Premier League

In association 


Saturday 2nd April 2016, 3.00pm

 Carrow Road

Conditions: brainless

Admission: £30 (tickets printed with £40, £10 reduction paid by NUFC from Away Fan Fund).
(last visit in 2013/14 season was £35).



Norwich City

Newcastle United

3 - 2




45+2 mins A free kick for a foul on Mbokani was played over from the City right for the unmarked Timm Klose to head home from just inside the six yard box in front of the Barclay End. 0-1

Half time: Canaries 1 Magpies 0

71 mins Andros Townsend made gains down the right before crossing for Aleksandar Mitrovic to head goalwards from close to the penalty spot, the effort touching off marker Ryan Bennett before looping into the net. 1-1

74 mins A brainless and avoidable tackle by Mbemba on Naismith down the City right close to the area conceded a free kick that Brady swung over. Half-cleared, his second attempt deflected off both Janmaat and Townsend as it travelled across the field. Played in for the second time by Mbokani, a blocked shot was recycled and came back out to the striker on the left of the box.

This time he cut into the box and unleashed a rising right foot drive to beat Darlow, who seemed to dive under the shot.

86 mins Gary O'Neil was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box after a half-clearance from a colleague was knocked back at him by Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic swept the resultant penalty beyond Ruddy. 2-2

90+3 mins A high ball into the box wasn't dealt with and Brady was able to knock it back to Howson. He touched the ball back for Martin Olsson to drill a low shot between Steven Taylor's legs and just inside the far post, giving Darlow absolutely no chance of stopping it 2-3

Full time: Canaries 3 Magpies 2

We Said


Rafa Benitez commented:

"Today was a pity. We conceded in the last minute of the first half and then we reacted well but we are disappointed. We worked hard but it is not enough to win games. We have seven games to go and we have to keep pushing.

"When we scored the second goal we were on top but we make a mistake and concede. It can happen when you don't have too much confidence but we have to change it for the next game.

"Now it is more difficult but we have to keep confident that we can still do it. What upsets you more is the way that we concede in the last minute of each half.

"If we start winning games we still have time.

"When you are at the bottom of the table you have to manage the situation - our character, your nerves and your anxiety - and we didn’t do that well in the first half.

"When you concede after the last minute in the first half and in the last minute again in the second half after what we did, it is really painful.

“We can’t change things. The only thing we can take as a positive is the reaction of the team.

“We have to do it in the first half and we didn’t play well. The first 10 or 15 minutes maybe we were fine and comfortable.

“After it we made a couple of mistakes and gave them belief. We played better in the second half and it was a good reaction.

"When we were at 2-2 we were in control, we sustained attacks but made another mistake which gave them the chance to score another goal.

"It’s really disappointing but you can’t change what has happened. Now we have to concentrate on the next game as much as we can.

"In football the pressure is different. When you manage the pressure, if you have enough qualities, it can make the difference. 

"At the moment we know we have players with enough quality to play better, but making mistakes then, the pressure is bigger. That is the difficult thing to manage.

"After the game everybody was a bit down but I was telling them we have to manage much better the momentum of the game. When we were attacking and manage much better the last minutes when we have to defend well. 

"That is part of the work that I have to do every week; give them tips to be sure that they know what to do when under pressure and when it’s more difficult to think.”

On the decision to bench Mitrovic:

"....he came late after the international break. We have players flying around the world and players training with you.

When we were 1-0 down we had to play everyone in attack. The substitutions worked well but you have to decide before the game who is in form or who has done well in training during the whole week.

“You need to see who can help.”

"It happened like this but it was good for Mitrovic because he scored two and it can be good for his confidence and the rest of the season if he keeps scoring goals.”  

Speaking on Match of the Day, Alan Shearer (who seven years ago was preparing to take charge of Newcastle said:

"They got themselves back into the game but only Aston Villa have conceded more goals and that is one of the reasons they are staring the Championship in the face. For Newcastle getting back into the game and then defending like they did, that is why they are staring at the Championship.”

They Said

Alex Neil said:

"We nearly didn't (win). We scored two goals, took the lead twice and I felt deservedly so.

"But we found ourselves at 2-2 with two minutes to go and that was really frustrating for us, because I thought we were the better side.

(Olsson) scoring that last goal was a sweet way to win the game, but I thought it was no more than we deserved. If we hadn't scored that goal it would've been more difficult; the fact we got it gave us another two points to our tally. It's a massive two points.

"We conceded a goal for 1-1 and one of our own fans started shouting at me, which I wasn't happy with. He was on the wrong side of their dugout and when we scored our second goal it was him I was running to. It wasn't anything to do with Newcastle.

"We're all fighting for the same cause. I'm sure he'll be going home as happy as anybody else now."

About goalscorer Mbokani who was at Brussels airport when suicide bombers struck last month.


"What I said to him was, whatever goes on in your personal life, off the field, you've always got football to fall back on - that's your release. Just go out, enjoy the game, play and do what you do.

"I thought he was great. His goal was magnificent and I thought his performance was magnificent. I thought he was excellent."



Newcastle suffered their eighth successive away loss - the worst-ever run on the road in the Premier League and the poorest sequence of away league results in a single season since suffering nine successive defeats during the 1960/61 relegation campaign.

Away from home this season, United have taken just seven points from a possible 48 - thanks to a 0-0 draw at Manchester United, a 1-0 success at Bournemouth and a 2-1 win at Spurs.  

With visits to Southampton, Liverpool and Aston Villa remaining, the prospect of setting a new record low Premier League away tally for the club looms large - currently the 12 points collected during our last relegation season in 2008/09 is our smallest return.

A new record low goal total on the road is also more than possible - our measly nine to date well off the 13 managed in 1997/98 (we actually netted 16 times in the 2008/09 relegation season).

Of that nine, the first three we scored arrived during the first half (Mitrovic, Perez, Cisse) but the subsequent six (Mitrovic, Perez, Lascelles, Townsend, Mitrovic, Mitrovic) have all come after the break. 

Aleksandar Mitrovic
scored in successive United appearances for the first time and has now got eight goals to his name - one behind top scorer Gini Wijnaldum, who hasn't added to his nine goal tally in nine outings.

Our second penalty kick of the season (after the one Mitrovic scored at home to Manchester United) was the first awarded to Newcastle away from SJP since visiting Old Trafford back in December 2014, Papiss Cisse netting in a 1-3 defeat.

Another three goals conceded makes it 58 at the wrong end in 31 PL games to date - leakage that makes this season increasingly likely to end with our PL worst goals against total, currently 68 during the 2012/13 campaign.

Vurnon Anita completed a century of PL appearances for the club (80 starts), having made his debut in that competition during a 2-1 home victory over Spurs in August 2012.

Magpies @ Canaries - last 10:

2015/16 lost 2-3 Mitrovic 2 (1pen)
2013/14 drew 0-0
2012/13 drew 0-0
2011/12 lost 2-4 Ba 2
2004/05 lost 1-2 Kluivert
1994/95 lost 1-2 Fox (pen)
1993/94 won 2-1 Beardsley, Cole
1988/89 won 2-0 Mirandinha, O'Brien
1987/88 drew 1-1 P.Jackson
1986/87 lost 0-2
1984/85 drew 0-0

(United also lost 1-2 at Carrow Road in a friendly in 2010 and won a kickabout there in 2006).

Full record against Norwich:
  P W D L F A
SJP 26 16 6 4 54 23
TN/CR 26 6 9 11 30 35
League 52 22 15 15 84 58
SJP(FA) 0 0 0 0 0 0
CR 1 0 0 1 0 5
SJP(LC) 1 1 0 0 2 1
CR 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cup 2 1 0 1 2 6
Tot 54 23 15 16 86 64





A brace from substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic failed to stop United losing an eighth successive away game on Saturday - handing their opponents three points that go some way to sealing our fate.

Behind twice in the game, Newcastle looked to have salvaged a point after the Serbian equalised with a header and a penalty, only for the defence to be penetrated once more well into added time.

What was labelled as our latest cup final certainly lived up to that billing, scenes after the full time whistle more than reminiscent of our Wembley visits: opposition fans and players equally euphoric, our lot stunned to silence and slumped on the turf.

Two handballs late in the game affected the scoreline - although perhaps not the outcome - City penalised for a handball to be pulled back to 2-2 before profiting from the use of a hand to set up their winner. It was a devastating blow for Rafa's side and with Norwich now six points clear, the gap to safety looks to be almost insurmountable - even allowing for our game in hand.

Papiss Cisse had the chance to give his side a famous victory at the other end just seconds earlier but John Ruddy made a vital save to keep his side in it. Had the 'keeper not done so, it would have given us an unlikely and undeserved victory but Martin Olsson's late blow had a fatal feeling. 

An awful first half display from the visitors gave no hint that their appalling away form was set to alter and other the one misplaced header from the recalled Papiss Cisse, City dominated and saw a Dieumerci Mbokani effort chalked off for offside.

But just when it looked like a tense 45 minutes would end goalless, some buffoonery on and off the field from the visitors gifted the home side the lead. It began when some of the away following failed to return the ball for the second time in the half - presumably too bladdered to realise that this was a match we could actually do with winning.

And although that delay gave our defence time to prepare for a free-kick, they instead switched off totally and Timm Klose accepted the gift of a free header to beat stand-in goalkeeper Karl Darlow. 

Darlow had made a couple of notable stops earlier on what was only his second Premier League appearance, but was powerless to prevent our fifteenth failure to keep a clean sheet sixteen games.

Desperate to find a rare away goal and try and salvage something, Rafa Benitez looked to boost his attack by swapping Cheick Tiote for Ayoze Perez. That made little difference initially though and a second change at the urging of the away section saw Mitrovic appear in place of Vurnon Anita - Moussa Sissoko dropping back into the vacant left back role.

His physical presence at least gave his colleagues something to aim at and after a couple of half- chances went begging, he got on the end of a fine cross from Andros Townsend - who after a peripheral first half performance was noticeably trying to drive his side forward by that time.

Norwich however took just three minutes to regain the lead as United again dithered in defence and Mbokani's 15 yard snorter absolutely flew in. At that point the game looked up for United, but with just four minutes to go, United received a helping hand - literally - when Gary O'Neil was penalised by Mike Dean for handball and Mitrovic coolly converted from the spot.

That was the signal for a frantic late charge from Newcastle, who sensed a winner was possible and elected not to play out time for a point. That stance has met with criticism from some quarters, but at the time it felt correct - not least because our record of seeing out games is non-existent and if the ball is in the opposition half then it's further away from our derided defence..... 

The drama of added time drama was still to unfold as Cisse had his header saved before Olsson's strike that looks absolutely pivotal for the future of the Canaries, the Magpies and the mackems.

Leicester's escape last year was a once-in-a-lifetime miracle that we need to immediately repeat. Sadly though, the reality is that for we're just incapable of raising ourselves to the required level and like Villa, simply aren't worthy of a place in the top-flight. One point from a possible 18 is cast-iron relegation form.

This massive game between two thoroughly mediocre sides went the way of a City side who had heroes all over the field and players showing enterprise, industry and fight (all three in the case of Steven Naismith, whose intentionally combative approach unsettled us and even extended to reprising the Vinnie Jones knacker grab - Daryl Janmaat playing the part of Gazza).

Sadly the visitors had a clutch of non-performers who contributed little; Gini Wijnaldum again an utter non-entity and Chancel Mbemba's nightmarish display only marginally worse than the rest of the back line. Shelvey at least tried to keep going and work through his below-par showing, but United's current captain hardly endeared himself to journalists by staying mute post-match. From our perspective, we'd rather have that than yet more hollow "step up to the plate" soundbites.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of retaining Steve McClaren for too long and shortening the time period Rafa Benitez has to make an impact, what's beyond argument is that the criminally negligent dealings of the January transfer window failed to remedy the deficiencies that were only too clear.

Like us, Norwich realised that their defence was unfit for purpose with Sebastien Bassong in it, investing in a new central defender who has come in and improved the side after getting up to speed - providing a welcome bonus today in the form of the opening goal.

By comparison, we limped on without a left back and Taylor - one of Bassong's relegation buddies from 2009 - preferred to Lascelles today. Meanwhile two of our other mid-season captures, messrs Doumbia (referred to by one fan here as Obafemi Martins' dad) and Saivet, cannot even claim a place in the squad. Perhaps we're already buying for a lower league next season, as Kevin Keegan did in 1992 with Darren McDonough and Peter Garland....

Today looked like the stark confirmation of our fate with Saturday's trek to Southampton odds-on to see any lingering hopes of survival extinguished, with Charlie Austin doubtless readying himself to provide the coup de grace against the club who courted and then shunned him last summer.

What all of that means to the future of Rafa remains to be seen, but having now sampled first hand the lethal combination of misfortune and misjudgment that characterises this club, relegation could well see him utilise the late Ronnie Corbett's famous payoff line - it's goodnight from him.


Page last updated 20 June, 2016