24.05.2015… West Ham (h)…

Newcastle United 2 West Ham United 0

St. James’ Park… Sunday May 24th… 3pm

Attendance: 52,094

Ticket: £29 – Programme: £3

Premier League status retained for another season, Jonas Gutiérrez etched into folklore…

Nothing much to celebrate though, for the the third year running the second half of our season was written off, for the second time in three years we’ve been dragged into a relegation fight. It’s not good enough…

Pre-match…

Ashley appeared on Sky before the game and said some words that, on closer analysis, didn’t really mean anything and in some cases just weren’t true. It wasn’t really an interview, that would have involved some level of interaction, some interrogation of responses from the interviewer, it was more of a pre-prepared statement. ‘Continued Investment’, ‘Continued’, really? ‘I won’t leave until Newcastle have won a trophy’, although fourth place constitutes a trophy, does it? So does this mean we will take the actual cups seriously or not? I’m guessing not…

Just how achievable any of this will be without a top quality coach, a substantial investment in players and the retention of the few good ones that we have remains to be seen. Actions speaker louder than words, so over to you Mike…

newcastle v west ham...

Safety Assured: 2-0… Jonas Gutiérrez…

The match…

The first half was tense, the pattern was typical of home games this season, lumping it long to no one, losing our way as the half dragged on. Elsewhere, Hull were playing well against a distinctly understrength Manchester United side, a couple of goals disallowed, wobbling…

The second half couldn’t have been more of a contrast, we looked like a different side. Vurnon Anita was unrecognisable, he chased every ball and left the field to a standing ovation. Daryl Janmaat was outstanding too, the man has been pretty much the only highlight of an awful season, good in defence, strong coming forward, great temperament; keep him and make him captain. One player stole the day though, Jonas Manuel Gutiérrez. How ironic that a man who has been treated so appallingly by the club should be the one that saved it, and how fitting that a man who has been through so much should score the goal that almost brought the roof off St. James’ Park…

That second-half performance is what I would expect to see from a Newcastle side, playing at home, against a side outside of the top four. Attack in numbers, create chances, get the crowd behind you and teams will fold. When this place gets noisy it overwhelms lesser teams, it always has. It won’t always work but we’ll win more than we’ll lose, and we’ll entertain; and isn’t that what football is supposed to be, entertainment? We certainly haven’t been entertained this season, particularly at home; this was the first time in all of our nineteen home league games that we’d won by more than a single goal margin, that says it all really…

newcastle v west ham...

Post Match: Now Follow Through on Those Words Mike…

Post-match…

As promised, the fans got behind the team throughout the game, saving the feedback on the previous nine months until after the final whistle. The response to the occupy protest was more than disappointing, 500 supporters at most. To think that we’re still accused of harbouring unrealistic expectations; on this showing it appears that the vast majority of our fanbase have become very easily pleased…

What next then? A top manager? Big signings? Player retention? I wouldn’t have thought so, maybe a few more vague statements of ambition before the extended season ticket deadline passes. But after that? More of the same old half-truths and unfulfilled potential I would imagine…

Newcastle United; Krul, Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett, Anita (Gouffran 89), Colback, Sissoko (YC), Rivière, Gutiérrez (YC), Cissé

Not Used; Taylor.R, De Jong, Pérez, Cabella, Ameobi, Woodman

Goals; Sissoko (54), Gutiérrez (85)

West Ham United; Adrián, Jenkinson, Burke (Tomkins 69), Reid, Cresswell, Kouyaté (Lee 77), Song, Downing, Nolan, E Valencia (Amalfitano 63 (YC)), Cole

Not Used; Jarvis, de Carvalho, O’Brien, Jääskeläinen

Goals; None

As usual, more pictures on flickr…

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