Date:Thursday February 2 2006
MAN CITY: James, Jihai, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Sinclair,Barton (Richards 78), Musampa, Riera, Cole (Samaras 65),Vassell (Sibierski 69).
Subs Not Used: Ireland, Wright-Phillips.
NEWCASTLE UTD: Given, Ramage, Boumsong, Bramble, Babayaro, Clark,Parker, Emre (O'Brien 81), N'Zogbia (Solano 45), Shearer,Chopra (Luque 45).
Subs Not Used: Harper, Elliott.
Joey Barton has his problems at City, but he didn't let the jeers from his own fans get to him. And how Newcastle boss Graeme Souness wished he could say the same. The Newcastle bench looked like a funeral, and in many ways it was, because United were dead and buried long before half-time with another display that was nothing sort of humiliation.
Pathetic from start to finish, the Mags were comprehensively beaten as Andy Cole and Darius Vassell followed up Riera's opener to extend a miserable run which has seen them pick up just a single point from their last six Premiership game.
Newcastle have now slipped to sixth from bottom, just six points from relegation, and it is laughable that the morning of this match players were STILL talking of bringing Champions League football to St James' Park next season. My advice, after a sad performance like that is simple ... get yer head out of the sand and face the music.
Souness has spent most of the season defending himself, his players, his tactics and his sanity. And how the tears of laughter rolled down my face when that Toon fan on BBC's 'Look North' on Monday said: 'the fans are still behind the manager'. What is that man on?
How Souness has survived, only Fat Fred knows. But the sooner the chairman gets on his bike and takes the Jock with him, the better this club will be. The faith of the Toon faithful will never die, but it is about time those fabulous fans were give something to hang onto. Something to believe in, because you look at the bunch of Scouse tossers on that Newcastle bench and you cringe in your boots.
This match wasn't one-sided ... it was not even a contest. The 'Bumbling B's' - Boomsong, Babayaro and Bramble - were as switched-on as ever they have been. Yes, like 5w light bulb.
After a tepid opening, during which the only notable moments came through the noise that rolled round the ground every time Barton touched the ball, City took the lead with Riera's first goal for the club. Barton was involved, overlapping Trevor Sinclair down the right flank before cutting back a cross Cole missed but Riera did not. His volley beat Shay Given ends up.
The Magpies rearguard seemed incapable of winning any individual battles and when Celestine Babayaro failure to even jump for Vassell's chipped cross seven minutes before the break, Cole instantly nodded home his 10th goal of the season.
The third was set up by the once Toon hero Andy Cole who spotted Vassell's run, lifted a pass over Boumsong which allowed his strike partner to beat his opponent for pace and then slip a neat shot under Shay Given.
Another look at the bench. Souness looked shell-shocked and in need of a someone - somehow - to put him out of his misery. Dean Saunders has obviously given up trying to tell Alan Shearer how to score goals. And the 'Laughing Jackass', Terry McDermott simply shook his head and pondered.
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