A late winner for Swansea saw us slump to a fifth successive defeat in what is rapidly turning into one of the poorest stretches in our modern history. We started with an odd looking line-up with a ‘potent’ three pronged strikeforce of Shola, De Jong and Cisse with Anita reverted to right back but we finished the half with only one of those three still on the pitch.
An uneventful opening period was at least illuminated by a comedy blow to the face for the referee, when the ball rebounded straight back into him resulting in a comedy wobble and fall and ultimately a replacement official.
Cisse was the first player to limp off, replaced by Debuchy on 20 minutes and the Frenchman’s performance was one of the few bright points of the afternoon (mind, I got a lovely tan sitting in the East Stand – grateful for small mercies and that) and shortly after the substitution, we did the unthinkable and actually scored a goal. It was a canny one as well, with Shola starting and finishing a move in the box that culminated in him firing past Vorm in the Swansea net. If the goal was met with relief all round, including from the man up front ending his ridiculously long barren spell, then the momentum wasn’t taken on into the rest of the game.
The anonymous De Jong was the next to leave the field shortly before the break, to be replaced by Remy. Doubtless the introduction will have been a massive inconvenience for the Frenchman and although he showed some smart touches, it would be fair to say that he wasn’t exactly seeking the 50/50s out. I don’t think I’ve heard anything more laughable than Pardew’s assertion that we could hang on to him in the week he was linked with Atletico Madrid.
The visitors, who had been almost unbelievably lethargic in the early stages for a team threatened with relegation, started to wake up and after sensing some openings down our left hand side, won a corner late in the half. Some criminally poor defending in the box saw Bony to rise totally unmarked and level at the worst possible time in the game. In a poor team, I think I’m right in saying that the Belgian has clocked up over 20 goals this season – another one that we were ‘linked’ with in the summer.
The second half was largely just massively dull as we failed to muster any sort of real chances of our own and seemed happy enough to drift towards a point to at least partially arrest the slide. The late introduction of Armstrong for a tiring Gosling (who was certainly no worse than his midfield compatriots) was warmly received but after Bony saw his effort saved by the legs of Krul when bearing down on goal, a late winner for the Swans started to feel like an inevitability.
Sure enough, it came with almost the last kick of the game, again after some hideous ill-discipline from United. Sub Emnes, who I actually always thought looked alright at Boro but who I’m led to believe is something of a comedy figure amongst the Swansea support, ran half the length of the pitch unchallenged. It did look as though Colo had forced him away from the goal when he was unceremoniously hacked down by a stupid Tiote challenge. It was a stonewall penalty and Bony stepped up to send Krul the wrong way and earn them a vital three points.
There were a few strains of ‘Pardew Out’ after the goal as fans streamed for the exit but for me the more damning indictment of where we are at the minute was the overwhelming and totally understandable negativity that was palpable in the ground. Every misplaced pass and misdirected approach was met with audible groans and you get the sense that people are going to the match almost on sufferance at the minute – I know I am. In almost every other club in the country, Pardew’s position would be heading towards being untenable but I seriously doubt that Ashley would do the one thing that would at least earn him a modicum of favour with the support and bin the clown off.
Keep the Faith
Newcastle United – Krul 6, Anita 5, Williamson 4, Coloccini 5, Dummett 3, Tiote 3, Gosling 5 (Armstrong n/a), Gouffran 3, De Jong 4 (Remy 4), Cisse 4 (DEBUCHY 6), Shola 6
Ref – Foy 7 (for the fall), Taylor 7 – did nowt wrong either.
Our Fans – 5 – Better than of late but being fed on scraps
Their Fans – 4 – Really disappointing turnout given their position