We nearly conceded early on, again failing miserably to deal with a set piece when Dawson headed off the post virtually unmarked and we lacked any sort of zip, with Cabella notably having a frustrating opening period and spending more time on his arse than on the ball. For the umpteenth game this season, the opposition were no great shakes and we fashioned a chance of our own from a set piece. A deep free kick caused trouble in the Baggies box and when a header was blocked, Sissoko saw his effort cleared off the line by Lescott.
Almost from nothing though, West Brom took the lead shortly after with yet more abysmal defending from a free kick when Gardner’s cross was met by Anichebe at the back post to head home unchallenged. The big centre forward causes up problems every time he plays against us and we struggled with him at periods today again. The goal was met with collective groans and results at the time left us in the bottom three and staring into the abyss but we were level again before the break through Ayoze Perez. I look at the kid and think how good he could be in a proper side with proper service, he’s lived off scraps with us and still had a great season and so it proved again here when he lashed home an arrowed shot from the edge of the area after a clearance fell to him – a fine finish for a fine player.
In a situation that would have been unthinkable at the turn of the year, we spent half time poring over the league table, with us only a point away from the bottom three but there was a marked improvement in the second half performance, albeit against a WBA side that were perfectly content with the draw. Cabella started to come to life, although he is hindered badly by having absolutely zero turn of pace but we did create a couple of half chances for Perez and him before Cisse was introduced to a warm reception. By Christ, we’ve missed him mind and he immediately had more spark about him than the perpetually minging Riviere. I’ve got a feeling the Senegalese has come back in the nick of time because his mere presence fills you with at least some hope that we could put the ball in the net.
It was West Brom that came nearest in the remainder of the game to putting the ball in the net though and Krul was to thank for a smart double save, with Brunt’s shot being diverted against the bar and then again from Berahinho, who we were surprised not to see start. Late subsitute Sammy fired an overhead kick just over the bar late on and Myhill made a lot of a Sissoko effort from outside the box which never really looked like going in but despite what on the face of it was a poor result on the day, the sheer lowering of expectation saw the team being relatively well received by the fans on the final whistle.
Glass half full, Hull’s terrible loss at home to Burnley coupled with this point gives us a slight edge going in to the final couple of games and we did at least stir ourselves in the second period and we should be hoping to pick up at least something against an already relegated QPR and drifting West Ham. Glass half empty, we’re staggering along with minimal direction, are another point closer to the bottom three and lack the momentum of all but one of our closest challengers, who have games against a side that appear to be deliberately avoid winning for fear of getting into a Europe and another who will have nothing to play for in the final game and are themselves rank average.
It can only be hoped that we’re not going into the last 45 minutes of the season needing something against that fat gimp in the opposition dugout. Safer in a way after today, in even more shit in another.
Newcastle United – Krul 6, ANITA 7 (Abeid n/a), Coloccini 7, Dummett 7, Gutierrez 5, R Taylor 5, Sissoko 5, Colback 6, Cabella 6, Riviere 4 (Cisse 6), Perez 6 (Sammy n/a)
Ref- Foy -5 – Considering he had basically nowt to do, he made an awful lot of fuss about it
Our Fans – 6 – Supportive, more so in the second half. I would say 45k there.
Their Fans – 7 – Good numbers and good spirits
Keep the Faith