Blackburn Rover’s 0 Newcastle United 2
Newcastle United tonight were tremendous in a very unusual way this evening. They took a constant assault from an aggressive and fluid Blackburn Rovers side. Newcastle were without Yohan Cabaye who was suspended by the FA for 3 matches after an incident against Brighton in the 4th round of the FA Cup to allow Ryan Taylor to come into the side. It was Ryan Taylor who would in some context deliver the first goal after an awful pass from Petrovic was seized upon by Leon Best he managed to find Jonas who laid off for Ryan Taylor to drive straight though the legs of Dunn to deflect off an unknowing Scott Dan leaving Paul Robinson with no chance of saving. 1-0 to Newcastle, own goal Scott Dann.
Blackburn however then took the game by the horns knocking the ball about with real pace and purpose; there was no doubt the players were playing for their manager. Junior Hoilet was at the centre of everything good for Rovers but he was involved in controversy as when he dived over Ryan Taylor blew it looking Bartonesc pulling him to his feet and getting a yellow card for his troubles. Simpson managed to clear off the line and best headed off his own bar as Blackburn had a flurry of corners but none brought the much-needed equalizer. Rover’s thought they may have found the chance to get on level terms when Danny Simpson bundled over Rover’s new number nine Modeste. He wanted to take it too but David Dunn shuddered him away…maybe he shouldn’t have. His long run up saw him try to place the ball into the bottom right corner seeing Krul parry before catching a second attempt from a bunch of racing Blackburn players.
So at half time it was all Blackburn but the lead was with the travelling Geordies. It seemed one of them games from Steve Kean, playing well, creating chances but missing the net. The second half so Newcastle starts brightly but quickly the game fell back to the schema of the first half. Ben Arfa who had done very little in the first half and went off to be replaced by James Perch. The once not so popular player is really starting to kick-start his Newcastle career and today looked very solid tying up the middle of the park and helped Newcastle get some sort of foothold in a game where they were able to keep possession was a rarity. Kean added Formica and Rochina to try and grab the goal but most the chances fell to new signing Modeste but Tim Krul rose above the forward every time. Newcastle fans hearts were nearly broken as Formica’s effort hit the net, fortunately them it was the side netting on this occasion. Peter Lovenkrands replaced a shattered Leon Best who did more than his fair share of work as Shola Ameobi wandered round at his normal pace. Shola just no longer seems up to speed and may be okay coming off the bench but does not have the sharpness or pace to last a full game and his performance tonight did more than just frustrate many fans. Blackburn pushed and pushed and pushed a little bit more but when the ball fell to Lovenkrands he managed to pick out the fresh Obertan who had only just entered the game for Ryan Taylor but the perfect player for such counter attack. He showed pace and determination and the finish wasn’t half bad hitting in off the post an inch perfect shot.
A bad performance? Maybe but Newcastle had showed tremendous character and a strength in depth which will be important to them finishing near their current league position, fifth above Liverpool and Arsenal. Newcastle looked poor going forward with Shola Ameobi offering very little up top and Leon Best stranded out wide as he often is in recent games, obviously some weird tactics nobody but Pardew understands. Guthrie worked hard all night and was a real unsung hero getting stuck in at every chance. The back four were top class with Colo and Williamson standing strong particular and Tim Krul, well he played to his normal standard. Jonas did his normal shift. When Newcastle fans look at this game they were without Cisse, without Cabaye, without Demba Ba and without Tiote. That makes the result all but more impressive.
On the other hand Blackburn will have to get Yakubu back from suspension ASAP as their new man just couldn’t hit the net for all the chances the likes of Pederson provided him. I think they could stay up but they need to score, it could have been 5-1 again tonight like Newcastle’s last away day at Fulham but it wasn’t. Steve Kean will have little to complain in many respects, nice play and nice football but in the end it was not enough. This year I think we are in for the biggest relegation dog fight of the last decade with nobody down and out at this stage.
Blackburn manager Steve Kean: “We’ve had enough chances to win three games. I think if you are trying to take positives out of the defeat then we are certainly making the chances but we just weren’t ruthless enough.
“After Newcastle scored their deflected goal we dominated the reast of the first half and all of the second half. Performance wise we have to be happy with the way we played for the first 15 minutes, we controlled the game.
“So it is a tough one to take because we at least deserved a point, in fact I’d probably have been disappointed to have got a point.”
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said: “You have got to have resilience, a good keeper and a good captain and we have got that.”
Man of the Match
Captain Colo stood firm all game on, need a new contract signed as soon as possible. The award could have went to any of 5 United players including Krul and Williamson.