Writer: Mehzeb Chowdhury
Date:Monday April 27 2009
Newcastle United were held to a goalless draw at St. James' Park by a determined and very fit Portsmouth side on an evening, the sheer frustration of being a Newcastle fan was truly epitomized.
In a typical stalemate, Paul Hart's men came in determined to take a point, and secure their own safety in the Premiership - thus the deliberate time-wasting by several Pompey players, resulting in bookings.
In match where finishing was of the lowest grade, Michael Owen, Mark Viduka, and Obafemi Martins all had weak shots on target, while Alan Smith had a couple of screamers fly over David James' post.
Jose Enrique picked up an injury just before half-time and had to be substituted, which opened up the avenue to bring on Danny Guthrie who contributed to a string of chances for the Magpies in the later stages of that half.
However, with Alan Shearer making choices unsuited to Newcastle United's style of play, or the Keegan 'three-man system', the Toon had no chance of scoring.
In a bizarre move Shearer substituted Mark Viduka for an ineffective Andy Carroll, and brought on Jonas Gutierrez to replace Nicky Butt. The obvious tactic to have adopted at that time would have been to leave Carroll on the bench, bring on Kevin Nolan, or Joey Barton off the bench, to facilitate a 4-4-2 formation.
Whatever may be, the result leaves Newcastle United firmly cemented to the relegation zone. Other teams are getting away, and the Magpies hardly look like scoring. Could it be they have forgotten how to score at all?
Next up for Alan Shearer? Liverpool at Anfield. The fixture speaks for itself, and the Toon Army will hardly expect anything from that game.
United needed three home wins to save their season. They have failed to live up to that requirement. The future looks bleak, but at least Mike Ashley would be ready to sell the club once again come the summer.
No consolation from the draw. Relegation is upon the Tynesiders.
Newcastle United: Harper, Beye, Coloccini, Bassong, Jose Enrique (Guthrie 28), Smith, Butt (Gutierrez 71), Duff, Viduka (Carroll 64), Martins, Owen.
Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Davis, Belhadj, Hughes, Mullins, Nugent (Pennant 65), Crouch.
Date:Monday April 27 2009
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