Newcastle played out an entertaining yet frustrating 3-3 draw with West Brom this afternoon as the two sides shared the spoils in a six-goal thriller.
The draw means that Newcastle finish the season in 12th place, which is probably more than a lot of us expected way back in August. However, the fact that we were sitting pretty in 9th place with only 30 minutes of the match remaining only to end up 12th will no doubt be a disappoitment to some.
Not to me, I couldn’t have cared less as this season was all about survival. Sure finishing in the top ten would have been nice, but will anyone really look back in a few years time with and remember when we finished 12th instead of 9th? It’s hardly do or die is it? And if the players see it as some form of backwards step they should wise up and take their share of the blame for blowing a three goal lead.
The match started off pretty lively and Shane Ferguson was first to be denied when Scott Carson comfortably saved his shot at goal. West Brom had their first chance four minutes later when Jose Enrique gifted possession to Somen Tchoyi who set up Marc-Antoine Fortune who saw his shot blocked on the line by a resurgent Steven Taylor.
From then on it was the home side, sporting their new home shirt for next season, who took control of the game. They were rewarded for their dominance in the 17th minute with a goal from Steven Taylor who turned Yousseff Mulumbu before firing home from close range after a Ryan Taylor corner caused problems in the box for the West Brom defence.
The hosts had further chances to increase the lead through Danny Guthrie and Steven Taylor before they got the second goal six minutes before time in rather dubious circumstances.
Shola Ameobi flicked the ball on to Peter Lovenkrands who volleyed at goal only for Scott Carson to flap the ball behind him. Carson eventually caught up with the ball on the goal-line but it was adjudged to have crossed the line. As yet I’ve not seen a replay which conclusively proves whether it was a goal or not. Still, it was given and it gave the hosts a healthy and deserved lead heading into half-time.
It got better just two minutes into the second half when Jonas Olsson spooned Jose Enrique’s hopeful cross into the back of his own net to make it 3-0, but from then on it all turned rather sour for the home side.
Roy Hodgson pushed Somen Tchoyi into a more advanced midfield role which paid dividends soon enough as he reduced the defecit. Danny Simpson tried and failed to spring an offside trap which allowed Tchoyi through on goal to apply a cool finish past Tim Krul.
At that stage it looked like it was only going to be a consolation, but lo-and-behold the alarm bells started ringing with twenty minutes to go when Tchoyi turned Fabricio Coloccini and smashed the ball past Krul to make it 3-2. There was very little Krul could have done about it such was the power of the shot.
By now West Brom had their tails up and could sense an equaliser. In contrast Newcastle seemed to have switched off and looked a shadow of the team that we saw in the first half. I had one of those nasty feelings if the truth be known.
That feeling was proved right on the stroke of full-time when Jose Enrique got tricked by Ismael Miller who backheeled the ball for Jonas Olsson who put his cross straight onto the head of an unmarked Tchoyi who nodded the ball into the back of the net for his hat-trick.
As the full-time whistle went some fans saw fit to boo the team. They’ve paid their money so they can do as they wish, but in my opinion it was disgusting and they should have a word with themselves. I’m sure it will persuade players to stay…
Finishing in 12th is not a bad thing, not when you look at our squad, and it gives us a nice basis to build on for next season. If anything staying out of the top ten will keep a few expectations in check. The Mackems may have finished above us by one point, but there time will come.
Personally I’m more annoyed at letting three goals slip though!
Newcastle: Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique; Ryan Taylor, Joey Barton (c), Danny Guthrie, Shane Ferguson; Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands.
Subs: Ole Soderberg, James Tavernier, Alan Smith, Kazenga LuaLua, Nile Ranger, Leon Best, Shefki Kuqi.
West Brom: Scott Carson; Steven Reid, Abdoulaye Meite, Jonas Olsson, Nicky Shorey; Chris Brunt, James Morrison, Youssouf Mulumbu, Paul Scharner, Somen Tchoyi; Marc-Antoine Fortune.
Subs: Boaz Myhill, Gonzalo Jara, Pablo Ibanez, George Thorne, Jerome Thomas, Simon Cox, Ishmael Miller.
Referee: Mark Halsey.
A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.