It seems like only days ago that we were joyfully heading up to sunny Watford to watch our beloved toon. Because it was. But here we were again, heading this time to Wembley to play Spurs. It felt special to be in Wembley watching our lads – I’m reliably informed we’re the 122ndteam to play there – but I’m absolutely certain it’s not our last visit.
Getting to the stadium was a great experience*. Packing 3,100 Newcastle fans into a tube turned out to be quite a squeeze but, luckily, we weren’t far and the mood was great. We were in the stadium before kick-off which was an improvement on Saturday’s effort and standing by our seats in plenty of time. We’d already seen the line-up which is our strongest starting eleven (Yedlin seemingly rewarded for a great game at Watford and starting for us in place of Manquillo) and the away end was full of positivity. It doesn’t hurt that we’re already safe, so even without a win (though it would be nice) the mood is buzzing and everyone is singing their heart out.
A goal-less first half does nothing to dampen spirits. Stand out performances from Diame and Dubravka as well as consistently strong performances from the rest of the team meant we were looking good and were very much in the game. Contrast that with the first half of the Watford game on Saturday our side looked completely different and ready to snatch three points. By the time 45 minutes is up the away fans looked positive and happy and ready to take on the second half. I’m always interested in the second half with this side – I think Rafa is one of the first managers I’ve seen where the players have clearly been given direction and things to work on and change is noticeable after the half time chat.
Fifty minutes saw Harry Kane, who had fluffed an opportunity to go one nil up in the first half, send the ball past Dubravka and put Spurs in the lead. It was a disappointing start to the second half, but we were still playing with the same skill and passion that we’d shown up to this point and it didn’t seem like it was over for us. The remaining 40 minutes went by without any more goals; we had a few shots but only three on target, and unfortunately Spurs’ defence managed to deflect any threat. Kudos to the away supporters – we were louder than the rest of Wembley for almost the entire match, and certainly helped keep spirits high.
Ultimately Spurs had the Champions League place to play for, £150 million worth of strikers, and a bit of luck on the night. This game showed that Newcastle still have so much fight in them, and are still working hard to prove themselves (not that they need to, in my opinion) but it also hammered home the need for a pocketful of cash this summer – we need a clinical finisher. We’ve said it before, but for all the hard work he’s put in, Dwight Gayle’s Championship confidence just isn’t there at the moment, and we could certainly use a new addition. We’ll see out the season on Sunday presumably with a win, and will cross everything for a couple of good signings in the Summer. My man of the Match is tied between Dubravka and Diame… but I’m going to settle on Dubravka in the hope that we sign him permanently in the Summer.
*it was not
tf MOTM: Shelvey
Follow Charlotte on twitter here