Newcastle Utd 0 Charlton Ath 0
Saturday October 28th 2006
NEWCASTLE UTD 0 CHARLTON ATH 0
NEWCASTLE: Harper, Carr, Moore, Bramble, Babayaro,Solano (Milner 83), Parker, Butt, N'Zogbia, Duff, Rossi.
Subs Not Used: Srnicek, Luque, Ramage, Taylor.
CHARLTON: Carson, Young, El Karkouri, Diawara, Hreidarsson,Rommedahl, Holland, Faye, Reid (Kishishev 72),Marcus Bent (Hughes 60), Darren Bent.
Subs Not Used: Andersen, Hasselbaink, Fortune.
Another drop in attendance for a Premiership match at St James' Park, 48,642, but basement club Charlton are arguably the least side you would want to give up your Saturday evening for.
What do you think of the Sky Premier Plus kick-off times? Great if you're sat on your arse at home watching on the box. A pain when you know your a second-class citizen when you pay the money to attend, and the kick-off is geared for those who can't be bothered to make the effort.
It's the same next week. Despite Newcastle having a tough trek to Sicily and don't return until the Friday, they still have to perform the following day ... despite FA rules supposedly giving them a day's grace and letting them play on a Sunday. Why must they play on the Saturday? Because SKY TV say so!
Charlton came to set up shop and stop United scoring, which they achieved, but if ever a side is doomed for relegation it is Ian Dowie's set of raggamuffins. Giuseppe Rossi hit the bar before the break and Damien Duff twice saw shots saved by Scott Carson when he might have done better, allowing Iain Dowie's struggling side to claim a morale-boosting draw. They might even have won it had Darren Bent not wasted the only real chance he had when he blasted wide on 69 minutes after Titus Bramble's slip had left him with just keeper Steve Harper to beat.
The jeers rang out at the end, and again the fans walked away frustrated, but let's try and take a positive from this. Glenn Roeder's men dominated throughout, and you can draw your own conclusion. Poor finishing? Certainly. But chances are being created.
If we produce the same lack-luster performance in front of goal against Palermo in the UEFA Cup tie on Thursday night we will suffer the way West Ham did when they took a 3-0 hammering. But, to be honest, we can afford that so long as we win our remaining home game in the competition.
We have £17million striker Michael Owen and £10million summer arrival Obafemi Martins on the treatment table, and I'm sure things would be different if we had the rub of the green.
Parker went close with a dipping 10th-minute volley and Rossi saw a goal-bound 15th-minute effort deflected wide by Duff. Then the teenager steered Duff's effort towards the top corner, but hit the underside of the bar with the ball rebounding safely into the relieved Carson's arms.
Duff was furious not to win a 28th-minute penalty after Souleymane Diawara appeared to clip his heels, but referee Mike Dean was not impressed.
The chances continued to go begging and the former Chelsea winger was guilty of a bad miss at the start of the second-half. He was denied a tap-in at the far post on 51 minutes as Talal El Karkouri got a vital touch to Solano's arrowed cross.
Rossi curled a 79th-minute free-kick inches over with Carson beaten, but substitute Bryan Hughes volleyed just wide at the other end two minutes later.
No goals, and two vital points dropped against a side we should have thrashed. But a defeat would certainly have rang a few alarm bells, so let's just push this one under the carpet and look forward.