Newcastle United 1 Leicester City 0
St. James’ Park… Saturday October 18th… 4pm
My fourteenth game of the season and I finally made it home, St. James’ Park, NE1. Still the best ground in the country in my unbiased opinion, and possibly the centre of the universe…
It didn’t start too well, I wandered up to the ground at about two and all of the turnstiles were closed, not a good sign. Had a quick look on Twitter, rife with rumours regarding the safety of the newly installed advertising hoarding; sorry, electronic scoreboard. Anyway, it transpired that a section of the surround appeared to have loosened itself in the high winds so needed to be fixed before the match could get the all clear. Cue much craning of necks at the Leazes End…
Very little information given out by police, stewards or the club via the PA system; nothing until close to three when there would have been close to 50,000 people outside the ground, to say that it was busy would be an understatement. You have to wonder about the robustness of the club’s crisis management strategy if this was the best that they could do. One steward appeared to be trying to improve morale by suggesting that ‘at least it’s not raining’, really?
At about 3.15 the turnstiles started to open and we were informed that the game would start at 4pm, at least we were going to see a game but rather unfortunate for those who had pre-booked rail tickets on specific trains and had to leave at half-time. Week by week we become more and more of a shambles…
So… to the match itself, Louise Taylor summed it up best in the Guardian/Observer (do you get double the money for submitting pretty much the same copy twice…?), stating that it had the look and feel of a Championship game; I’ve been to a few this season, and she was spot on.
Pretty much nothing happened in the first half, Colo missed an early chance with a real centre-half’s finish. Leicester missed a couple of chances too, Matty James missing a one on one, firing straight at Tim Krul; and just before the half-time whistle Marc Albrighton almost scored with an attempted cross that came back off the crossbar…
Into the second half, Papiss Cisse missed an open goal having launched onto a stray backpass and rounded the keeper, shooting into the side netting; the game appeared to be drifting towards 0-0. Leicester then made the mistake of trying to win it (Roy Keane suggested that this was one of the mistakes he made with Sunderland in their first season up, you get used to winning and forget that an away point in the Premier League isn’t a bad return). Anyway, they pushed on looking for a winner, Cisse broke, passed to Gabriel Obertan (having one of his better games for Newcastle) and he fired it into the bottom left corner from the edge of the area.
Leicester still had a couple of chances to level, Krul making a good save and Taylor a good block. Fair play to Taylor, he may be hard to like but he played well today; perhaps if he stuck to playing football rather than making ridiculous statements to anyone who’ll listen about how much he ‘loves the club’ then he may be a little more popular. The fist pumping nonsense after the goal was particularly embarrassing.
The final whistle sounded to scenes that would have lead you to believe that we’d just won the league, is this how much our stock has fallen? The reality is that this was our first win of the season, eight games in, after what couldn’t even be described as an adequate performance.
Three massive points then, ahead of a tough run of games. I still have this uneasy feeling that we’re just papering over the cracks though….
Newcastle United; Krul, Janmaat , Taylor, Coloccini, Dummett (Haidara 72), Anita (Pérez Gutiérrez 59), Colback , Obertan, Sissoko, Gouffran (Cabella 92), Cissé Not Used; Ferreyra, Elliot, Abeid, Armstrong
Goals; Obertan (71)
Leicester City; Scmeichel, De Laet (YC), Morgan, Moore (YC), Konchesky, Cambiasso (Knockaert 79), Albrighton (Vardy 56), James, Drinkwater, Schlupp (Nugent 56), Ulloa (YC) Not Used; Hammond, King, Hamer, Wasilewski
As usual, More pictures on flickr…