Watford 2-1 Newcastle: Second half collapse & awful errors cost careless NUFC yet again

A pathetic second half performance and two awful goals to give away for Newcastle United, seeing Watford come from behind to win 2-1 at today’s early kick off at Vicarage Road.

We started strongly and went into the break with a well deserved lead via another Dwight Gayle goal, but a pitiful effort in the final 45 cost us, with us giving away two avoidable penalties and totally collapsing to gift Watford the win.

A response to Wednesday’s 5-0 hammering was needed, and it looked on the cards at one stage, but a combination of awful substitutions, careless mistakes and a total lack of intensity made the difference in the end, with it seeming clear as the game went on that one side were battling to stay up and the other were on the beach.

Bruce made five changes, not only dropping the five-man defence but bringing in Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Lascelles, Manquillo and Gayle in for Krafth, Yedlin, Bentaleb, Lazaro and Joelinton.

One slight surprise was Fabian Schar being handed another start in midfield following another ponderous display against Man City, however it was good to see our two best attackers back, a deserved recall for Gayle and the return of our reliable skipper.

Before kick off, the players showed their respects to the late Jack Charlton with a minutes silence for a true legend of the game and great man who sadly passed away today at the age of 85.

We surrendered from the off on Wednesday but started much the better side here, with a wicked early cross from Saint-Maximin only just evading Almiron on the three minute mark and the Paraguyan then smashing a half-volley straight at Foster moments later after the hosts failed to deal with a dangerous Shelvey corner.

We had 66% of the ball on the 10-minute mark (which was about 50% more than we had at this stage of the City game!), but Watford very nearly opened the scoring via a Welbeck shot that bobbled against the near post and would’ve spun over the line if it wasn’t for Lascelles being in the right place at the right time to clear – not for the first time in the opening stages!

Just before the first drinks break we then broke the deadlock.

A fast flowing attack forced a corner, and from that Matt Ritchie whipped in a cross to the front post. Fernandez met it and looked like was going to glance a brilliant header into the far corner, only for Gayle to gamble and arrive onto the scene later and tap into an empty net.

He hadn’t scored a single goal in 12 appearances before lockdown, but has now had a hand in four (three goals and one assist) in five appearances since football returned.

0-1 Newcastle and a deserved lead for Steve Bruce’s side on the balance of play.

Saint-Maximin almost made it two before, bursting through on goal after latching onto a brilliant Gayle flick, however his outside of the foot finish was blocked by an onrushing Foster.

Half time and we went in 0-1 up. A positive performance so far, with us looking much sharper at both ends of the pitch following the return of key trio Lascelles, Almiron and ASM.

Watford looked poor and a side we could finish off in the second half if we stayed focused and kept at it, but we handed them a needless route back into it just five minutes into the restart.

A clumsy bit of defending from Ritchie sent Femenia tumbling in the box and Deeney did the rest from the spot, smashing a penalty straight down the middle and past Dubravka.

A game we had looked comfortable in was suddenly level and we were very nearly 2-1 down just moments later, with a horror pass from Fernandez giving Deeney a clear run at goal – only for his powerful low shot to be hit straight at Dubravka.

We were all over the shop. A game we threatened to win quite comfortably at one stage was now looking far more likely to go the other way.

A drinks break arrived – and boy did we need it – but it felt like Bruce needed to make changes with 20 minutes to go. He made one, bringing Joelinton on for Matt Ritchie, but we continued to look second best.

Then, on the 80-minute mark a moment of madness from Manquillo gave Watford the perfect chance to make it 2-1, with the Spaniard getting the wrong side of Sarr and pulling him down needlessly to give Deeney another big chance from the spot.

Needless to say, he wellied it down the middle past Dubravka and gave Watford the lead. More awful defending to complete what had been a pathetic

From that point onwards we looked lost and largely toothless in attack, with Bruce’s aimless substitutions doing nothing to get us back into a game we’d let slip so easily.

There was a desperate push to get an equaliser – which consisted of little other than give it to Saint-Maximin and hope for the best or pump it long to our big men in the box – but Watford held on to secure an unlikely win from 0-1 down.

Just as I thought we’d responded to Wednesday’s hammering at Man City as we sat pretty at half-time, we sat back, put our flips flops on and made error after error in the second 45 to prove me sadly wrong.

We’ve shown signs of real improvement at times since football resumed, however this has been a damaging week for anyone believing Steve Bruce is the man to take us forward, whether new owners arrive or not.

Based on what we saw in that second half, this season can’t end quick enough – and a few big changes need to be made if and when a Saudi takeover is finally approved.

(Fancy writing for us? Get in touch at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

94 thoughts on “Watford 2-1 Newcastle: Second half collapse & awful errors cost careless NUFC yet again

  1. It has only taken them 2 years but Journos have finally realised that Pickford is crap. Even in the article below there is a certain amount of excuses made for him. His positioning is terrible which leads to his spectacular reflex saves, but there can only be so many of these until one gets by him, usually at the near post. He doesn’t come for the ball, he grins like a mackem monkey getting a free order of cheesy chips after each mistake. He berates his defenders after his poor positioning. He makes terrible decisions when trying to be a sweeper keeper. He is too short. His arms are too short. His kicking isnt even that great. He can blast it on a low trajectory but I would say that the only keeper I have seen put it straight into touch more is Timmy-the-Hoof.

    Apart from that he is great.

    https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2020/jul/14/jordan-pickfords-unique-talent-can-still-help-england-despite-his-slump

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  2. Eric – I mentioned last week that the second wave in Florida is causing a lot more deaths in those aged from their late teens to late fifties.
    My son posted a picture out there showing a guy wearing a mask standing next to a coffin and the slogan ‘Mask it or Casket’ .
    I am happy that everyone is going to have to wear a mask in the shops soon but we should have done this weeks ago.
    I did notice at the weekend that our Tesco store had removed the one way system and customers were walking past each other in very close proximity . Not happy about that but it was good to see that a lot of the younger customers were wearing masks.

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  3. OGS had played an unchanged Man U team for 7 games and it showed last night with their 3 best players all having off nights and the whole team looking generally sluggish. How does this pertain to NUFC? Running Miggy and St max into the ground may actually work against us as it did at Watford. But with injuries what choice does Bruce have. I think he starts one but not both against Spurs. Doesn’t look like he will play Matty either so we only have 2 central mids meaning it will be 4-2-3-1. This is pretty hard to predict but I will have a go at the starting lineup.

    Dubravka

    Krafth Schar Fernandez Manquillo

    Shelvey Bentaleb

    Lazaro Miggy Ritchie

    Gayle

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  4. Sidekick: I worked in Florida for a few months and there are a lot of gated communities and other places where older people are close together. They are a much higher risk even if some younger folk are dying. You see anecdotal evidence of younger deaths but they are not the norm. The norm for deaths (not cases) is older and people with underlying health conditions. Unfortunately FL has a lot of Obese people as well which as we all know leads to Diabetes and Heart Disease.

    Wearing a mask is an easy decision but the number of cases in FL shows that drastic measures are needed and their Governor unfortunately is a Trumpian Magical Thinker.

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  5. I hope I am wrong but I am 80/20 on a defeat to Spurs.

    My prediction after the Sheffield Utd game was that we would get 5 more points. We have 4 now. Part of me wants us to lose the remaining games. I have said this before, and it is to have the likes of Danny Mills and Murphy STFU about how great Steve Bruce is.

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  6. Sidekick:
    Eric – I mentioned last week that the second wave in Florida is causing a lot more deaths in those aged from their late teens to late fifties.
    My son posted a picture out there showing a guy wearing a mask standing next to a coffin and the slogan ‘Mask it or Casket’ .
    I amhappy that everyone is going to have to wear a mask in the shops soon but we should have done this weeks ago.
    I did notice at the weekend that our Tesco store had removed the one way system and customers were walking past each other in very close proximity . Not happy about that but it was good to see that a lot of the younger customers were wearing masks.

    Yeah. lots of young ones wearing mask here too. Trendy mask not surgical, it’s like it’s a fashion accessory now.
    I have lots of surgical ones which i have given quite a few away to elderly neigbours in my road. Just got a lady to make me a couple of mask too, one with cats on and one black one, very comfy and washable.
    My daughter has a hogwarts one .

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  7. Hope there won’t be any non mask wearing shaming going on though, no way will you get my lad to keep a face mask on. He won’t even keep a sun hat or woolen hat on, just as well i’m not taking him to the shops really.

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  8. Prior to the resumption of the league I expected us to get 2 wins and 2 or 3 draws from our last 9 fixtures.
    I am still hopeful of getting at least a draw in our games against Spurs and Brighton.
    Steve Bruce has done a good job in keeping us in the Premiership with games to spare and if we have to go through next season with Ashley still in charge then I would expect Bruce to stay as manager . I think we would survive again next season.
    My problem is that I want NUFC to be challenging for a top five finish and not spending another season battling for survival.
    The only way that will happen is if we get taken over , are able to compete for the best players available and bring in a new manager.

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  9. Kimtoon: I just read the UK guidelines for mask wearing and Lew would be exempt, even in shops or public transport. The Chronicle has an article listing rules and exemptions.

    Chicago is now very low risk compared to other parts of the country, but if masks help to keep it that way then I see it as a public service not an infringement on my rights as Stuart seems to think. The mask wearing is to protect others not so much yourself so it helps if everybody goes along with it.

    They had a Dr on the news over here saying that a 30 year old patient had died after going to a “CoronaVirus Party”. He said that the patient with virtually his last breath had said he wished he hadnt gone to the party. The party was organized by someone with CV-19 daring their friends to catch it. There are conspiracy theories over here that this is all a hoax and the cases and deaths are made up.

    My view is still that the bad economy will kill more than Cv-19. However, why put yourself in harms way if you dont have to. You wouldnt go and sit down with flu patients for 5 hrs without taking precautions.

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  10. I made comments earlier but they’ve gone?! What is happening?

    I see KSA have banned BeIN from broadcasting in KSA. How does that help? Is that a reaction to having a takeover rejected or it is laying the ground for KSA making a bid for the rights…?

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  11. 10 months Ice ?
    We have had so many false dawns with takeovers that this takeover feels like it has been ongoing for 10 years. 🙁

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  12. icedog:
    mayi remind people that the takeover at S/hamton took 10 months,that was a joke

    Yeah mate, i read that too, i think it was because of certain circumstances though. Wasn’t the original owner up on charges or something or am i thinking of another club?

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  13. It was City who had the dodgy owner Shinawatra , found guilty of corruption in 2008 when City were bought out.

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  14. So SAUDI have now banned Bein from broadcasting in Saudi hmmmmm
    How they meant to watch our games if they buy us ?
    Bein have the mid east rights don’t they ?
    Isn’t up for renewal until 2021

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  15. kimtoon:
    So SAUDI have now banned Bein from broadcasting in Saudi hmmmmm
    How they meant to watch our games if they buy us ?
    Bein have the mid east rights don’t they ?
    Isn’t up for renewal until 2021

    It’s a real vipers best this whole thing. I have zero idea what the hell the PL make of it. We’re in the middle of a huge geopolitical spat.

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  16. It is probably Al Jazeera which is the propaganda arm of the Qatari Govt. Dont know for sure, but that would be my guess. Bein are part of that whole media push from the Qatiris and the Saudis are just banning the lot of it as part of the ongoing tensions.

    Doubt if it has anything to do directly with PL piracy, more a big picture geopolitics thing as Stuart says.

    It gets more complicated by the day but I hope Hairy Hands Keys is right and it happens this week because he seems the think Bein have thrown in the towel.

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