Date: Saturday 18th March 2017, 3.00pm
Venue: St. Andrew's
0 - 0
Blues 0 Magpies 0
time: Blues 0 Magpies 0
"People may expect us to win every away game but this was a
valuable away point.
"It is important to learn how to manage games and we are in a
better position after every match.
"We maintained a high tempo as we were aware of how Birmingham
could play in these circumstances.
"There are still eight matches to be played and as Huddersfield
lost we are now in a better position than we were before the game.
"We have seen this kind of performance several times (this season).
We did well with all the problems we have at the moment.
"We had control of the game and we had some good chances. We also
scored what I thought was a good goal.
"We didn't take our chances as their goalkeeper made several fine
saves to keep Birmingham in the game.
"Jonjo (Shelvey) had a high fever yesterday, and the doctor told
me this morning he wasn't too sure whether he could start.
"I decided it would be better to try to manage the game with fresher
legs and players who had trained.
"Then with him it was a case of maybe trying to change something by
playing him in the last 15 minutes.
"I think we showed we could manage the intensity of the game and keep a
high tempo. We were passing the ball well, although the pitch was not the
"The idea was to try and control things because we knew how they would
play. It's not a case of needing to create 20 chances in the space of 10
minutes, because you cannot do that.
"We had the number of chances we were looking for - it's just a pity
that the goal was disallowed and their keeper made the difference."
"The commitment and desire not to give anything away was top class. I was
pleased with the performance and at the present moment this is what is
"Considering the value of the Newcastle team we created a couple of good
chances. They could obviously have scored as they are a good team and are
going to win promotion.
"At the moment we need to be defensively organised and difficult to beat. We
need wins to give results and tranquillity to everyone. Once this is
achieved we can move to the next step.
"Considering our situation and the value of the opposition it was a good
"Personally, I am under pressure but this result is encouraging to build on
what is a very small platform. We need to carry on and make it bigger.
"At moment the players are comfortable playing in our new game plan which is
to make it difficult for us to be beaten."
20 away games so far this season have brought Rafa's side thirteen
victories, four draws and three defeats - in other words, 42 points from
a possible 60.
A trio of away games - at Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town and Cardiff City
- now remain for Newcastle to record what would be club record fourteenth
away league win in one season.
United recorded consecutive 0-0 away draws for the first time since
scoreless Premier League visits to Chelsea and the smoggies during November
Newcastle's unbeaten run at St. Andrews now extends to nine games in
all competitions since a 1-2 loss in a League Cup tie back in November
One has to go back to City's 3-0 win in September 1977 to find the last time
they registered maximum points against us on their own ground in the
Since then there have been ten meetings here - ending in six draws
and four away victories.
The Blues remain winless against us in eleven home and away league
meetings since their 1-0 victory in the Premier League at Gallowgate in
In terms of losing anywhere to City in any competition, that's not happened
since their 5-1 FA Cup success on Tyneside in January 2007. Eight
games have harvested five Newcastle wins and three draws.
Toon @ St. Andrews - last ten:
2016/17 drew 0-0
2016/17 drew 1-1 Murphy (FA)
2010/11 won 2-0 Lovenkrands, Best
2007/08 drew 1-1 Owen
2006/07 drew 2-2 Taylor, Dyer (FA)
2005/06 drew 0-0
2004/05 drew 2-2 Jenas, Butt
2003/04 drew 1-1 Speed
2002/03 won 2-0 Solano, Ameobi
2000/01 lost 1-2 Dyer (LC)
NUFC in the Championship after 38 games:
2009/10 80 points (W23, D11, L4) F72
A28 +44 1st
2016/17 78 points (W24, D6, L8) F70 A32 +38 1st
Having drawn 1-1 in a forgettable FA Cup tie there in January, Saturday's league visit to
St. Andrew's was similarly unremarkable, both sides lacking
However, defeats for Brighton and Huddersfield meant that United went into the international break having extended their lead at the top of
the table to one point over the Seagulls and seven over the third-placed
Terriers (who have a game in hand over both sides above them).
This game proved to be as drab and dreary as the weather, the main
talking point the decision to deny Newcastle what seemed like a valid goal
five minutes before the interval.
A brief period of pressure ended with Matt
Ritchie bundling the ball home in front of the away end - only for the
linesman on the Garrison Lane side of the ground to belatedly flag for an
Under pressure from visiting players, the referee consulted with his
colleague before confirming that the goal wouldn't stand - although TV
replays revealed Ritchie was behind both the ball and Ayoze Perez, bundling
the Spaniard's effort over the goal line from close range.
With the unwell Jonjo Shelvey joining Dwight Gayle on the bench, Daryl Murphy
front supported by Perez with Yoan Gouffran on the left and Mo Diame in the
centre of midfield.
It was a formation that failed badly though, Diame particularly rotten and
lacking a first touch on what was a poor playing surface. Only Ritchie
offered a threat from midfield, while Perez was more involved than usual but had little
to show for his efforts.
There was a rare start for Grant Hanley, replacing the injured Ciaran Clark,
while Vurnon Anita continued at right back and Jesus Gamez remained
benched. Also unused was Aleksandar Mitrovic, who now hasn't featured in any
of our last five fixtures.
The defence enjoyed a trouble-free afternoon, Karl Darlow
equal to anything that reached him and City content to waste time despite a
lowly league placing that means relegation is still possible.
Gayle, Shelvey and Christian Atsu all appeared in the closing half hour as
Newcastle went in search of a goal, but the nearest they came was a
Ritchie shot turned away by 'keeper Tomasz Kuszczak.
Notwithstanding a handful of international postings, a two week break before
hostilities recommence is for once well-timed, allowing time to regroup and
refocus before the final eight scheduled games of the season.
Just three of those are on the road and although it's our away form that
has been the foundation of United's promotion push, the opportunity of
posting some convincing home victories presents itself.
The break in games may also see a lengthening injury list reduce, with the
welcome possibility that Isaac Hayden could be back in harness when we
return to action.
If nothing else today we maintained some forward momentum, although in
cricketing parlance we're switched from chasing our target with boundaries
to getting there in singles.
Next up are successive visits from teams in the bottom four of the table.
Banishing our unwelcome trait of squandering that situation* would put us in
sight of the finishing line - regardless of scorelines involving our rivals. Charity
doesn't begin at home.
* We've failed to collect maximum points from back to back home games four
times so far this season - and an unbelievable 13 times since last doing so