At least we`re consistent. Following a trio of morale boosting wins the Roeder Rollercoaster took another dip yesterday as we weakly surrendered to a fairly robust Wigan side. By robust I`m implying they kicked the hell out of anything that moved in a black and white shirt. Still, to their credit, it`s something I didn`t exactly see West Ham doing at the Valley which is why I imagine we`ll be forced to drag ourselves back to oval ball country next year rather than down to the Boleyn.
What can you say about Wigan? In my humblest they`re a waste of a place in the Premier League. Give an honest raise of hands - who would you rather see replace them? I know I`d rather have the likes of Leeds, Forest, Derby, Sheffield Wednesday and, dare I say it, even the mackems over this lot. No history, poor attendances, foam-handed fans and a wages to turnover ratio that makes Chelsea look as fiscally prudent as Tesco. I`ve been hoping that West Ham string together a few wins to drag them into the bottom three but, to Jewell`s immense credit, he`s manage to steady the ship after those 9 consecutive losses and it looks like, barring Charlton stringing together an Inter Milan type run, they`re going to stay up.
Pre-match Roeder shuffled his pack and decided that rather than have to make a decision on who to play at centre back he`d play them all, as Huntingdon and Gooch came in for Babayaro and Milner, with Solano pushed forward into midfield. Kieron Dyer`s unbroken run of games came to an end, being replaced by Scott Parker, and we didn`t half miss his pace. Up front Sibierski unsurprisingly replaced Luque.
The first half of the first half was a total non-event for both sides, with Wigan having a handball shout on the edge of the box that wasn`t given. Newcastle sprung into life with Martins and Duff both having chances before Sibierski felt a slight bit of contact from Ryan Taylor and went to ground. Penalty given, Taylor and Filan booked and Nobby had the chance to really turn the screw on them and give Duff a chance to spend the rest of the game on the breakaway against a right back already on a yellow card. However the Peruvian sent a weak spot kick in at a perfect height for Filan and he saved comfortably.
Five minutes later Taylor went from zero to hero, curling home a beautiful free kick after Gooch had clumsily clattered into Leighton Baines on the edge of the area. This pretty much killed us off which was a worry. Shay saved well from McCulloch as they pushed for a second.
The second half saw some spectacular spoiling tactics from the Latics which ended up being worthwhile as we laboured to do anything of merit. Skoko, McCulloch, and Camara all ended up being booked along with Nicky Butt (now suspended for a game) and Scott Parker. Shay again saved us from going two down at the death, beating away a deflected Camara shot, whilst Milner, Zog and Carroll couldn`t do anything to overturn the deficit after coming on.
So another one, or more realistically three points, chucked down the drain on the road against a very beatable side. Having done pretty much the same against Fulham in our last game on the road it`s becoming the same old story for the away day followers. If we do have pretensions of being a top 6 side, which listening to the pre match quotes coming from the camp it seems we are, then it`s elementary that we sort out these games and beat supposed relegation fodder. With Charlton, Watford, Portsmouth and Sheffield United to play away that should be a decent levy of points if we can arrest this slump on the road.
Newcastle: Given, Taylor, Onweyu, Bramble, Huntington (Carroll), Solano (Milner), Butt, Parker, Duff (N`Zogbia), Martins, Sibierski.
Booked: Butt, Parker.