Newcastle just about managed to grab three points against West Bromwich Albion this afternoon, but in truth we barely deserved the win.
The victory shouldn’t mask what was really an awful performance and also shouldn’t detract from the fact that West Brom did enough to deserve at least a share of the points on offer.
Mind you, I’m not overly fussed about what the opposition deserve or didn’t deserve. At the end of the day we got the three points thanks to a huge slice of fortune, which we haven’t really had this season. However I can still be critical even after victory and there are lots of areas that need improvement after this match. Once again we were poor in most areas of the pitch and something needs to change if we are to go on a run good results and push ourselves up the league.
Newcastle were the first to garner an effort on goal. Shola Ameobi found space on the inside left and fired in a cross for Demba Ba who headed narrowly over. It was a peach of a cross and Ba should have done a bit better with his chance.
Davide Santon was next to go close when he controlled the ball from a cleared corner and struck a low curling effort towards goal from fully 30-yards on to see Ben Foster on hand to palm away his drive for another corner.
However it was far from all Newcastle and West Brom managed to create their own chances. Graham Dorrans broke free from a Newcastle corner and started off a counter-attack. He fed the ball to Romelu Lukaku who forced a fine save from Tim Krul to deny the Belgian international.
Shola Ameobi fired high and wide on 32 minutes after some good work from Hatem Ben Arfa, but just three minutes he had a hand in the opening goal, flicking the ball on from a Tim Krul kick for Demba Ba who volleyed home past Ben Foster. Gareth McAuley probably should have done better but Ba was ideally placed to score his seventh goal in nine league starts.
The Baggies had the final chance of the half though, with Romelu Lukaku once again forcing a fine stop from Tim Krul. Barely deserved, he hosts went in at half-time with a slender advantage, and with signs that West Brom still posed a threat.
Half-time: Newcastle 1-0 West Brom
After a slow start to the second period those signs of life from West Brom came to the fore and they found themselves level. Zoltna Gera found space on the left and crossed for Lukaku who ghosted in between Davide Santon and Fabricio Coloccini to nod the visitors deservedly level.
The visitors continued to press and frustrate Newcastle and could have gone ahead through any one of three chances that fell the way of Markus Rosenborg although the Swede was unable to make the most of them.
Newcastle tried to carve out a winning goal but with so many players putting in lacklustre displays they were unable to find that killer pass or stumble upon that bit of luck that would see them grab a winner.
That was until it all seemed to late of course. With pretty much the final seconds of four minutes of added time being played Sammy Ameobi tried a speculative effort from 25-yards. I have no idea if it was on target or not but to me it didn’t look like it was going to be, until the ball ricocheted off Papiss Cisse into the Gallowgate net leaving Ben Foster with no chance of making the save.
That goal ended a goal drought for Cisse, who had failed to score a Premier League goal since the victory away at Stamford Bridge last season. Perhaps that was the bit of luck that he, and indeed Newcastle, needed?
Full-time: Newcastle 2-1 West Brom
Don’t let the win fool you. Most people won’t of course, but all I’m saying is that we got off lightly today. Yes sometimes you need a bit of luck and today we got that, but it’s the performance that was the most alarming thing about today.
Nothing seemed to work and nobody seemed to play with any urgency. That’s not to take anything away from West Brom who stifled us for the most part, but we really need to improve if we are going to kick on this season.
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon, Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, James Perch, Jonas Gutierrez, Demba Ba, Shola Ameobi
Subs: Steve Harper, Steven Taylor, Shane Ferguson, Vurnon Anita, Gabriel Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Papiss Cisse.
West Brom: Ben Foster, Gabriel Tamas, Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson, Liam Ridgewell, Youssouf Mulumbu, James Morrison, Peter Odemwingie, Zoltan Gera, Graham Dorrans, Romelu Lukaku.
Subs: Luke Daniels, Gonzalo Jara Reyes, Goran Popov, Yassine El Ghanassy, Markus Rosenberg, Shane Long, Marc-Antoine Fortune