SAFC (0) 0 Newcastle United (0) 1: a big, big let-down

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So, we get a great crowd, a proper sense of occasion, bags of anticipation, a bright enough start – and then a total flop.

For all our efforts in the first half, which might on another day have produced a goal or two (but also a sending off for us and a goal for Newcastle United), we barely turned up for the second.

It was a grimly depressing moment when Simon Mignolet took up the most woeful positioning for a Ryan Taylor free kick and allowed the ball to sail over him into the net. But it was, by then, no great surprise. We had no punch; Newcastle had steadily gained a grip of the game.

There will be a lot of people calling for Steve Bruce’s head after another desperately disappointing showing against our fiercest rivals. A win at Swansea next week now seems an absolute must, not necessarily for Bruce’s salvation – dismissal this early in the season would be absurd – but for the morale of the large, loyal but continually let-down support.

Nor, by the way, was it any surprise when Phil Bardsley’s optimistic attempt to keep the ball when pressing forward led to a second yellow. He misses Swansea. Bruce has a lot of thinking to do between now and then (could we be missing a striker by any chance, Steve?), and we have the potential banana skin of Brighton away in the Carling Cup before that.

This was the first half report:

Big controversy but no goals in the first half.

The first 45 were busy, niggly and mostly dominated by Sunderland. But arguably neither Seb Larsson nor Yohan Cabaye ought to have finished the half, and Newcastle should have gone ahead, massively against the run of play, with a penalty.

Both Howard Webb and his assistant missed Larsson’s hand ball that deflected a goal-bound header round the post. So a huge let-off, just as at Anfield when, on another interpretation, Kieran Richardson’s challenge on Suarez would have led not just to the just the penalty, which Suarez ballooned into the Liverpool skies, but a red card.

But as happened then, there was another handball involved.

At Anfield, Suarez had beaten down Richardson’s poor halfway line clearance with hand, the ball bouncing splendidly in his path. That was missed or ignored by Phil Dowd. Today’s combination of headers by Ameobi and Barton also involved a handball, so should the whistle have gone even before Larsson’s intervention?

A difficult one, unless you’re a Mag screaming for blood or a Mackem speculating, while trying to keep a straight face, that maybe poor Seb’s hand flopped unintentionally in the way of a ball on its way out anyway and that he did all he could while falling backwards to avoid contact.

Cabaye? The former Lille player’s studs-up lunge at Phil Bardsley could very, very easily have been seen as a sending-off offence. Webb gave benefit of doubt and waved a yellow.

Otherwise, mainly long-range efforts, three good ones from us (Sessegnon twice and Gyan) and Cabaye for them. We played the better football, they worried us into losing possession far too easily in dangerous positions, with Wes Brown nowhere near as commanding as he had been at Liverpool.

Half chances at both ends, our early dominance giving way to a more even flow. Nil-nil at half time, and a difference of opinion at Salut! Sunderland: Pete Sixsmith’s text read “slaughtering them 0-0”. I thought, controversy notwithstanding, it was just about fair despite our better start.

At the final whistle, there was no disagreement between us. See Pete’s verdict here. It’s mine, too.


Mignolet; Bardsley, Richardson, Brown, Ferdinand: Larsson, Elmohamdy, Cattermole (c), Colback; Sessegnon, Gyan.
Subs: Gardner, Wickham, Vaughan, Dong-won, Bramble, Laing, Westwood

Newcastle United

Krul, Simpson, R Taylor, Coloccini (c), S Taylor Gutierrez, Obertan, Tiote, Barton, Cabaye, Sh Ameobi
Subs: Williamson, Lovenkrands, Gosling, Ba, Best, Marveaux, Harper

Monsieur Salut

12 thoughts on “SAFC (0) 0 Newcastle United (0) 1: a big, big let-down”

  1. Yet another hugely disappointing showing against the Mags.Better side first half but failed to capitalise take our chances. Got away I think with the penalty shout,but failed to turn up second half -not acceptable. Should have started with 442

  2. It’s all set up now for SB to show us how agood a manager he is….or isn’t. Of the next ofur games three are winnable and the other agains Chelsea at home is probably not. Defeats against Brighton, Swansea and Stoke and I fear he will be on his way.

  3. So, ‘dismissal this early in the season would be absurd’? Indeed it would if this was his first season and he’d spent no money, however…
    Bruce has spent millions of pounds on players, but we have no proven striker!
    Millions of pounds and no left back!
    Millions of pounds and yet our best midfielder was from the academy and finished the game at left back!
    Cattermole is a liability and remains captain!
    El Mohammady is a liability and stays on the pitch for 70 minutes!
    2 6 foot plus players come on and he takes off the best crosser of the ball at the club!
    Add to this the dismal runs we have had to endure in the previous 2 seasons of Bruce’s tenure, and no, it isn’t too early. He can’t hack it!
    I have it heard it said that the Mags would never accept a Mackem as their manager, but we accept an admitted Mag supporter as our manager, why is that? Why do we appear more committed against Liverpool than Newcastle?
    Not saying I agree, but I’m beginning to wonder.

  4. “Here we go again!!!!!” Which is kinda what I’ve been saying all along. Bruce is incapable of making 11 men play as a team. I’ve said this before, too — neither he nor Gyan will see out the season with Sunderland.

  5. I’m not surprised at the end result after that gutless performance, SB needs to take a serious look at himself and the selection of the team. Elmo is not good enough and lacks spirit, Gyan was poor and should be dropped, Richardson is a liability at left back and if SB has not learnt that by now then…! Sess was excellent but must be wondering what he is doing in this team, he won’t be at Sunderland long. Yes it’s only the second game but it was against Newcastle and it simply wasn’t good enough. I don’t know what was said at half time but it had no effect in fact it made things worse. Here we go again!!!!!

  6. Bruce has to go now!

    This inept performance against proberbly the worst newcastle team in living memory….

    Get out Bruce or championship football next year!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. United have an owner who is only interested in selling all of our best players – which he systematically has done and is still doing.
    Sunderland have signed 11 (?) new players and seem to be happy with their owner etc
    And yet United deservedly won this game!
    If I were a Sunderland fan tonight – I’d be openly wondering whether Bruce’s signings have actually improved the team and, indeed whether Bruce is the man for the job?

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  8. Fair article, hits the key points.

    I hope it is as obvious to the management as it is to us that we need a goalscorer and a ball playing left sided midfielder.

    Also hopefully, O’Shea will solve the remaining hesitancy and poor distribution under pressure from the defence.

  9. No reason to quarrel with the result: NUFC were simply much better than us second half. With something called a striker, we might have scored earlier on, more than once, but then NUFC should have had a penalty and been playing against 10 men.

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