Carling fizz goes flat for NUFC
Once again our lack of a love affair with the Carling Cup was hideously exposed as a sub-20,000 crowd were subjected to another 90 minutes of turgid mess. Unless you proudly support a shade of Lilywhite the events of last night are likely to be sent to the Newcastle United Room 101, never to see the light again like the knitted Christmas jumper your Gran provided.
The team itself was virtually the strongest available. Given kept his place in nets, Bassong replaced Edgar in defence with N`Zogbia pushing into midfield. Xisco made way for Martins up front as named a bench of bairns. In contrast Spurs had Modric, Geovanni, Bentley and Bent on theirs.
The less said about the first half the better. Kudos to Colo and the Roman Russian gadgy for Spurs who attempted to entertain the crowd with their own Ultimate Fighting Contest match. The Argie delivered the first blow, albeit a low one to Pavulkchishionnmo….Roman`s nuts. About 20 minutes later the Russian then proceeded to deliver what he thought was the knockout blow, a forearm to our defender`s nose, but Colo got back up and continued.
In amongst that him and Woodgate sent headers wide from set pieces as the game made no attempt to explode as a spectacle. In the meantime for Newcastle all Nicky Butt`s good work was being undone at every turn by the hapless Geremi and Duff, who seems to be returning to his end of last season form despite a promising pre-season.
The second half provided a glimmer of excitement for NUFC fans at the start, as Martin`s backheel sent Duff clear only for a diving Woodgate interception to clear it off the line. Spurs then scored the all-important first goal as the Russian headed in a centre with Bassong and Coloccini at sixes and sevens with each other.
One swiftly became two as Steven 'Beckenbauer` Taylor decided to try and dribble his way out of trouble. O`Hara swiftly nipped in, dispossessed him and buried the chance whilst running in on Given. Completely needless and it basically eliminated any chance we had of getting back into the game.
Taylor certainly talks a good game and if his on-pitch antics mirrored his verbals to the Chronicle we`d have a Maldini-esque standard defender. Instead we`ve got a player who seems to have barely improved since his opening game rick against Bolton back in 2004.
I think the closest comparison to him is ironically Dawson at Spurs or Bramble at Wigan, solid for stretches but then prone to at least one suicidal moment every game. His 'local lad` act seems to have bought him far more time than his predecessor Titus although this is now wearing thinner than Shearer`s fringe.
Owen managed to pull another goal back right at the death, making it a simply astonishing 11 in his last 15 games. I`d like to register an apology to MO now, having been very sceptical of him following his England World Cup injury. The guy has been an absolute star for us since he got fit again and who knows where we would have finished last season without him.
The same seems true this time around, with his precious winners v Bolton and Coventry and the two consolations making it 4 in 6 for him this season. We`d simply be screwed without him. As a player he should be gracing a better stage than a relegation dogfight and I`d understand fully if he left in January or the summer. He`s been bitterly let down by the conduct of the clowns in charge, despite being ready to sign a new deal under Keegan as he was happy. Ashley and co have definitely undermined their best playing field asset here.
Overall it`s no surprise to have lost and the manner in which it was conducted was even more disheartening. Onto Blackburn now on Saturday for yet another September six-pointer. Hurrah.