A new low for Steve Bruce and his desperately negative Newcastle side as we fell to a 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United on Tuesday night.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with ours marks out of 10:
Darlow – 8* – One of few who didn’t let us down at Bramall Lane, with him keeping us level for much longer than we deserved! Made countless big saves, getting down to an early effort from McGoldrick, parrying a Bodle effort clear and then making himself big to stop the Blades wing-back early in the second half from the angle. Went the wrong way for the penalty, but weighted in with a few strong punches, several key saves and was quick off his line when he needed to be.
Yedlin – 3 – Given the run around early on and that theme continued as Sheffield regularly got down his side. Poor on the ball, offered no real outlet in attack and never got tight enough defensively.
Fernandez– 6 – Could’ve had a higher mark if it wasn’t for his clumsy hand ball that gave them a penalty. The skipper was caught out of position as McGoldrick got in behind early on, but made up for that in the first half with a brilliant ball in for Wilson and heroic saving tackle to stop Burke firing past Darlow. He may have given away the decisive spot kick, but he generally stood strong when most wilted in this one.
Schar – 4 – Just about dealt with the Sheffield United onslaught in the first 45, but completely lost his head in the second half. Was rattled by Billy Sharp’s bad challenge and responded with a host of stupid fouls and careless passes. His petulance perhaps summed up by a needless body check and him trying to lob the keeper from 60 yards when we should’ve thrown men in the box from via the set piece.
Clark – 7 – Made more clearances than any other NUFC player (12) and a few crucial interventions to bail his teammates out – one being to stop a marauding Bogle breaking into the box and the other to block a goal-bound shot from Burke. The only outfield player who can leave with his head held high here.
Dummett – 4 – He’s not a wing-back, but he struggled throughout here. Beaten in the air to a back-post header by McGoldrick on the half hour mark and constantly struggled to cope with Bogle’s bursting runs forward. Several aimless balls up the lines that were hit in hope, not expectation, and was forced off with a hamstring injury late on. That’s what you get for starting someone who’s barely played in a year just a few days after they played 120 minutes at Arsenal, Steve!
Hendrick – 3 – Couldn’t cope whenever he was put under pressure on the ball and when backwards far too often. Looked a very limited football lacking in any one desirable trait and was anonymous for most of it. New midfielder badly needed!
Hayden – 4 – The only NUFC player making tackles in the middle of the park early on, but he went on to loose the ball far too often and give away a host of silly free kicks before being booked.
S Longstaff – 4 – Too many awful touches and aimless passing – including one horror ball that gifted Sheffield United the chance to run at our back four early on. He didn’t give up, but so often looked laboured and slow, making you wonder why on earth Bruce dropped brother Matty!
Fraser – 2 – Offered next to nothing go forward in the first half and was then sent off for two brainless tackles that earned him back-to-back bookings in the space of three minutes. I was happy to see him back in the side (even if he was our only creative player on the pitch), however he let us down badly here.
Wilson – 4 – Was presented with our only two chances of the match but headed Fernandez’s teasing cross wide early on and then glanced a tame header straight at Ramsdale late on. He was left so isolated at times, but his touch and ability to hold the ball up was way off here.
Ritchie – 4 – Came on in Dummett’s place after his hamstring went and offered so little at either end.
Carroll – N/A – Won a few flick ons in the air….although one or two were pretty aimless as Bruce opted for hoof-ball late on.
Murphy – N/A – Had one chance from a 90th minute free kick but hit it straight at Ramsdale.