Ipswich 3-1 Newcastle: Dismal display sees the Mags deservedly downed

Just 4 days ago, I watched Newcastle put in arguably their best performance of 2017 in their heartbreaking draw to Leeds at St. James’. With this in mind, I had high hopes yesterday, as Rafa picked an attacking side that looked well set to get back to winning ways against a mid-table Ipswich side. I was to be proved woefully wrong, however.

Ipswich ran out deserved 3-1 winners in what was a totally unacceptable and inept display from everyone involved in black and white. The defeat was a blow in itself, but it was the nature of it that was the most alarming thing.

Where do I start? There was a total lack of conviction about United. We looked deprived of all composure and quality, but perhaps the most startling thing was the absence of the sort of energy, intent and desire you come to expect at this stage of proceedings.

Naturally, I presumed the team would be itching to put right the wrongs of Friday night, being ready to give their all in a bid to secure promotion and stay in the title race. This was, however, anything but how we approached this one. If someone had told me it was Ipswich pushing for promotion and Newcastle were, in fact, the mid table side, I would’ve believed them! Only one side looked like they had one eye on their summer holidays and, rather inconceivably, it was us.



Newcastle looked lazy and laboured in everything they did, lumping hopeless long balls to the isolated Daryl Murphy, whilst constantly being second to any loose balls.

It would be unfair to single out certain players. We were shocking both individually and collectively, with Benitez also sharing a portion of the blame. He left out some of Friday’s best performers (Mitrovic, Mbemba and Anita), made late and suspect substitutions, as well as failing to adapt an ineffective NUFC game plan, seeing us resort to little other than hopeful long balls throughout.

The defeat was fully deserved and I can only hope it will serve as a much needed wake up call – not that one should be required given our recent short comings and what is currently at stake!

As I left the beam back at St. James’ Park, there was an overwhelming feeling of concern, between myself and several other fans, that the wheels may be coming off in our push for promotion. Defeats happen, but the nature of it was deeply worrying.

All eyes then turned to Huddersfield, who played in the late kick off at Derby, hoping to take advantage of our latest slip up.

Disaster struck as the Terriers took and early lead. At this stage, Huddersfield were set to move 5 points behind us with a game in hand. With the prospect of them being just 2 points behind us, should they hold on at Derby and win their game in hand, it was all looking too close for comfort.

In the 89th minute, however, Derby did us a monumental favour. A deflected strike from Jacob Butterfield salvaged a late draw for the Rams, seeing Huddersfield drop 2 points and gain just 1 on Newcastle, helping ease our fears of the unthinkable; being caught by David Wagner’s men.

It was a huge relief to see them denied of victory, given our appalling result earlier in the day, with their draw also seeing Chris Hughton’s Brighton officially achieve promotion to the Premier League – an achievement the former Newcastle boss thoroughly deserves, with his side looking nailed on for the title too.

There’s no getting away from how awful we were yesterday. We were alarmingly woeful in just about every respect, but Derby’s late equaliser against Huddersfield could prove to be huge and softens the blow of yesterday’s defeat (in terms of our push for promotion anyway).

It now means that, should Huddersfield fail to beat Fulham on Saturday, Newcastle can effectively seal promotion with a win over Preston on Monday night. Interestingly, Reading’s win over Rotherham yesterday saw them leapfrog Huddersfield, however, with no game in hand, being 6 points behind Newcastle, with considerably poorer goal difference, a win over Preston on Monday would also see them out of the automatic promotion picture.

Whilst events last night highlight that promotion is still well within our grasp, today’s result is a reality check for the club, reminding the fans of the work to be done should this Newcastle side regain their top flight status this summer.

(Fancy having your say? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan – he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

29 thoughts on “Ipswich 3-1 Newcastle: Dismal display sees the Mags deservedly downed

  1. I’d love to know why Anita, Mitro, Perez, Mbemba were dropped after playing so well v Leeds. Ppl talk about consistency, but how can you produce consistent performances when you change a functioning team?

    Atsu (although he created the goal) doesnt cut if for me, even at this level. looks too flimsy and dosnt challenge well. Goofran is slightly the better option.

    Other gripe is like Olly mentioned. High hopeless balls (al game) to Murphy. whether its our centrehalves or the keeper, we just kept pumping those balls. why have a packed midfield if we’re not going to use them? they certainly dont help out tracking back when Mcgoldrick and another stood there waiting to score their 2nd goal.

    Defence was a shambles. I cant believe Clarke is that good we’ve fallenl to pieces since he was injured?

    Anyway, I think we’ll still make promotion, this maybe perfect for Rafa tbh as now Ashley will realise how much money he needs to buy a whole new team for the Prem

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  2. It doesn’t matter how good the individuals are who are brought in, five changes are too many if you want to retain playing style and understanding between the players.

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  3. Thanks for the report Olly. I fell asleep at half time, I had recorded it, but couldn’t bring myself to watch it as I expected from the scoreline it was more of the same second half.

    Rafa is obviously our best manager since Sir Bobby but I cannot fathom what he was doing today. Why didn’t he tell Shelvey to stop banging those long hopeful (hopeless) balls to Murphy? It was reminiscent of Arrogant Alan and Ugly John doing that free kick routine to Williamson and seeing it never work but continue to do it. I was hoping never to mention those two in the same sentence as Rafa 🙂 Troy will be on my back now saying I am a Rafa hater 🙂

    Anyway, I agree totally with Gashley. What the hell were our form players against Leeds rested for? There was only 4 games to go and there is no international tournament this summer so they can have 2 months off. We should have been aiming to put automatic promotion to bed yesterday. Teams like Man U who are in Europe and go on long domestic cup runs play twice a week all of the time and don’t always rotate.

    That was the one thing that I would see Liverpool fans bitch about Rafa about – that he would do too much rotation. He out-thought himself yesterday and after our best performance of 2017 I don’t understand the tinkering.

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  4. I don’t buy the “it’s because of the changes” argument. Rafa has consistently made changes every game this season and we’ve won more than we’ve lost. Also the likes of Lascelles, Shelvey, Hayden and Ritchie played on Friday and were poor yesterday.

    One thing is for sure, Rafa now realises that most of these players aren’t good enough. They make too many mistakes and in the PL we will get punished every time.

    The overhaul needed for the PL is so big that it doesn’t fit in any way with Mike Ashley’s idea of ownership. There’s an iceberg in view.

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  5. Stuart: I totally understand Rafa’s policy of rotating players in order to keep them fit and fresh over grueling 46 game season. He has said this on numerous occasions. But there were 4 games to play and we are almost at the finish line. As I said, they can rest in the summer and we had just had a game where we were desperately unlucky not to give a good Leeds team a hiding. Under those circumstances, I do not understand the tactics or selection.

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  6. And Rafa has done well with his methods so who am I to question him. However, there are other ways. Take Barcelona for example. If Messi, Neymar and Suarez are fit, they play. I just don’t get not taking the risk of playing an unchanged team when there are only 4 games left.

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  7. Birmingham have appointed Harry Redknapp as manager. That has just made Huddersfield game against them a bit harder…

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  8. It’s a curious situation isn’t it. We started the game needing 7 points for promotion, lost it and ended up needing 5 points to go up.

    Rafa’s such an inflexible guy. He believes in his system and will not change despite the evidence. In 3 games now he’s made 5 unnecessary changes and we’ve lost them all. We don’t need rotation now Rafa, play the best team – they only need a few points. 5 changes and the good team is gone.
    I don’t doubt we’ll go up but the Ipswich game was infuriating after Friday’s excellent performance.

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  9. Rafa will leave this summer after we win promotion as no major investment will come from the FCB, ( no investment in January and accounts show there’s no money to spend ) and our beloved club will be thrown into more turmoil once again as we become the laughing stock of football. We are 2nd top going for promotion and still people complain and whinge about Rafa, you’ll regret it once he’s gone!!!

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  10. Rafa has used 33 players this season, the same as Brighton..difference is Brighton has used 27 players 5 times or more compared to Newcastle’s 22. This means Hughton has rotated his squad more than we have – and yet they are running away with the league with an ‘inferior’ squad to ours.

    The rotation argument is void and so is the ‘we have the best squad’ one.

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  11. I don’t think it’s complaining more a lack of understanding as to why he changed a winning team when just 4 games left. I’m inclined to believe that he saw in training stuff we haven’t ? Maybe the missing players were physically not up to another game so close ? Anita didn’t even make the bench so I’m sure he’s carrying an injury as he was limping at end of Fridays game. Just have to hope Fulham put in a big performance .
    We beat Preston by 6 goals last time out, admittedly with Gayle on the pitch, so we should be able to get a result again but they will want revenge for that thrashing and will know that at home we get edgy after half hour or so. Important that the fans get and stay behind the team all game no matter what the performance on the day.

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  12. Sham, it’s also worth noting that Hoots has not had big players missing for chunks of the season like we have . Pretty sure a fit and playing Gayle would of had a couple against Leeds.

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  13. Hughton made 3 changes to his starting line up against Wigan following the win over Wolves and 3 changes to his line up for the win against QPR following victory against Birmingham.

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  14. Exactly Kim. Knocks, fatigue and a different approach required by different opposition on a different ground with a different playing style.

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  15. We need to just face up to the fact that we have a squad devoid of talent in depth and the mental strength required to be consistent winners. For that I blame the board.

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  16. Shamrock:
    We need to just face up to the fact that we have a squad devoid of talent in depth and the mental strength required to be consistent winners. For that I blame the board.

    Totally mate, spot on

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  17. Didn’t Rafa pick the players in the summer. It had nowt to do with the ‘board’.
    Atsu, Diame, Sels, Lazaar, Gamez and even Hanley were never good enough. At Liverpool he signed 80 players and sold 60.

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  18. Stuart79:
    I don’t buy the “it’s because of the changes” argument. Rafa has consistently made changes every game this season and we’ve won more than we’ve lost. Also the likes of Lascelles, Shelvey, Hayden and Ritchie played on Friday and were poor yesterday.

    One thing is for sure, Rafa now realises that most of these players aren’t good enough. They make too many mistakes and in the PL we will get punished every time.

    The overhaul needed for the PL is so big that it doesn’t fit in any way with Mike Ashley’s idea of ownership. There’s an iceberg in view.

    You make a good point re. Rafa rotation. Normally I accept it, as we have all season, but it’s easy to point towards that given we lost and he dropped/rested players who played so well on Friday.

    It’s not THE reason we lost yesterday, but in future, maybe it’s a lesson to go with the team that has momentum? Yes Leeds’ late equaliser was a blow to the side, but giving the same 11 a chance to right those wrongs yesterday may have been better, in hindsight.

    As I say though, it’s easy to say that now we’ve lost. If we’d have done a 0-2 job on them nothing would’ve been said.

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  19. Georgio, Rafa has been given 1 window in which to make changes. That is not enough to claim that this squad is his own. The majority of the squad has been built over a number of years on a failed policy with much interference from the board.

    On the 2nd window he was undermined and dismissed. There is a clear possibility that Rafa did not have the full control that we though he may have had last summer, given what happened this January.

    And what has his signings at Liverpool got to do with the price of fish? Every manager makes a few dud signings and transfer mistakes, including the great Sir Alex Ferguson.

    Rafa has won stuff everywhere he has been. In the last couple of days some fans have attacked his transfers and his over rotation of players. Some even cited Brighton as being the correct model, because they stick to the same line up. However the facts prove that they rotate more than we do!

    It’s total madness that people are starting to blame Rafa Benitez for the wheels falling off. Yes he will be making mistakes every now and then but the board pit us in is situation and the last window shows they have not turned the corner at and are still inclined to gamble on our future and hamstring their managers.

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  20. So both Brighton and Huddersfield and Reading all play before us on Friday and Saturday with us getting bumped to Monday night then just 4 days later we play Cardiff away on the Friday night with Huddersfield having played their game in hand on the Tuesday before.
    How can that be fair.

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  21. Kim – Our fixtures have been a joke all season. We’ve been on TV so many times and that has left our fixtures being here, there and everywhere. The only positive I see, Kim is that I don’t think Huddersfield will beat Fulham and that will mean a win on Monday will mean we’re promoted.

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  22. Sham: I don’t think there is much over-criticism of Rafa on here. Olly and a few others were pretty specific about something we thought he was wrong to do and gave reasons, i.e. that we had played our best game of 2017 and there were so few games left that there was no need to radically mess with that team. I think you said there were 5 changes, which since nobody ever messes with the goalie is half the team. We are also seeing that certain players are not good enough like Atsu and Colback. I only watched the first half and Yedlin had a stinker being constantly out of position. Rafa cannot really legislates for that and DeAndre has had some good games for us.

    Almost the full squad should be available for Monday and it will be interesting to see who is recalled.

    Getting back to whether people are criticizing Rafa. I haven’t seen it, but then again I am 4,000 miles away. I have also ignored the Chronicle and Newsnow as I knew there would be an overreaction and probably 10 articles quoting twitter geniuses. Last time we had a bad couple of games the Chronicle ran a poll and only something like 38% thought we would be promoted so there are a lot of idiots out there. I think we were top by 3 points at the time. We will get promoted and it would be a monumental collapse if we don’t.

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  23. Quite pissed off that our next 2 matches are evening KO. I’m heading back to China on Monday so will miss them both due to time difference. 😡😡 oh well …

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  24. Dubai Toon:
    Quite pissed off that our next 2 matches are evening KO. I’m heading back to China on Monday so will miss them both due to time difference. oh well …

    That’s tough mate, bloody ridiculous to be swapping games at this vital stage, it’s really pissed me off. As Stu said the only positive is that if Fulham do the business v Hudders then we know we just need to win really. Sometimes I think everything possible has been done to screw things up for us this season.

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  25. Eric Sykes:
    Sham: I don’t think there is much over-criticism of Rafa on here. Olly and a few others were pretty specific about something we thought he was wrong to do and gave reasons, i.e. that we had played our best game of 2017 and there were so few games left that there was no need to radically mess with that team. I think you said there were 5 changes, which since nobody ever messes with the goalie is half the team. We are also seeing that certain players are not good enough like Atsu and Colback. I only watched the first half and Yedlin had a stinker being constantly out of position. Rafa cannot really legislates for that and DeAndre has had some good games for us.

    Almost the full squad should be available for Monday and it will be interesting to see who is recalled.

    Getting back to whether people are criticizing Rafa. I haven’t seen it, but then again I am 4,000 miles away. I have also ignored the Chronicle and Newsnow as I knew there would be an overreaction and probably 10 articles quoting twitter geniuses. Last time we had a bad couple of games the Chronicle ran a poll and only something like 38% thought we would be promoted so there are a lot of idiots out there. I think we were top by 3 points at the time. We will get promoted and it would be a monumental collapse if we don’t.

    i totally agree Eric. i get the feeling some on here see Rafa as an untouchable, a man of no mistakes.. And I agree that nobody has blamed Rafa, only mentioned he must share some of the blame. Hanley for Mbemba? Hanley backed off so much with Ipswich’s first goal he was nearly in our net. Doesn’t venture forward & isnt very mobile/fast. Mbemba must feel a bit shit having played well v Leeds only to find himself dropped. same as Mitro, played well but was only offered a cameo role for 10mins after seeing failed attempts to knock balls Murphy.

    Why not take off a poor Diame for Mitro so we have two forwards instead of taking our supply line in Richie, then putting Mitro on.

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