Clark calamity costs us (our PL status?)

Sat in the bar before kick off as the team sheet was announced, everyone’s biggest concern was Clark. And within 10 mins he justified every worry. He never had to commit that foul _ if the keeper doesn’t save it, we still have 11 men on the pitch and 80 minutes in which to win the game.

It’s easy to be an armchair manager, but why has Howe picked Clark ahead of Fernández? He knew Clark wasn’t good enough, that’s why he dropped him against Arsenal. Eddie has to shoulder some of the blame for the 2 points dropped against Norwich.

And they were undoubtedly 2 points dropped as Norwich were the worst away side seen at St James’ Park this season. Even down to 10 men, Newcastle looked the most likely to score.

Fede was one of the shining lights in a committed 10-man performance and must now surely start ahead of Lascelles and Clark. Joelinton had a very different game to the one against Brentford, but he was equally magnificent. His impressive work rate was only matched by his defensive contribution, making tackles all over the pitch.

Schär’s ability to bring the ball out of defence made Shelvey somewhat redundant – and Jonjo was a shadow of the impressive player we saw on the ball against the Bees.

You couldn’t fault the 10 men for their effort, but there was an air of inevitability about Norwich’s equaliser. It should feel like hyperbole, but we are relegated, in November. While I remain convinced that Howe is the man to take us back up, all eyes must now be on Staveley and the club hierarchy. January must become more about planning for life in the Championship than attempting Premier League survival.

We can wail all we like about another relegation being the fault of Ashley’s appalling approach to one of England’s finest football clubs – and rightly so. But what’s done is done; we’re in the clart, now it is all about how the new owners get us out of it.

Dan Jenkins @PlumsGinger

Close, but no cigar…

We started well – on the front foot with a series of high tempo passing and you could tell the Geordie Faithful was behind their team. But it wasn’t long before the home side’s defence let them down once more when Cieran Clark was shown a straight red card for bringing down Teemu Pukki after he scuffed his clearance attempt. The contact was minimal and maybe Pukki made a big deal of it, but Clark showed why he shouldn’t be in the side. Clark can contest the red card as much as he wants, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the team had a word in his ear.

In the second half, the crowd once more got behind their team with the chant “Eddie Howe’s Black and White Army” echoing all around the stadium. Newcastle dealt Norwich a “Krul” (sorry!) blow when Callum Wilson tucked away a penalty in the 60th minute after Billy Gilmour was rightly judged to have handled in the box. Former keeper Tim Krul got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out as the roof got blown off the stadium when they realised it hit the back of the net. The sheer joy on Eddie Howe’s face when the goal went in was a beautiful sight. You can tell how much this club means to him already.

On as a sub for Joe Willock, Isaac Hayden almost made an instant impact as he lashed an effort at goal which left Tim Krul stranded. If only Saint-Maximin had been able to get a toe on it I’m sure it would have went in! Miguel Almiron replaced Allan Saint-Maximin as Eddie Howe made his final substitution as fresh legs were needed, but to no avail as Pukki levelled. With both sides pushed for a winning goal as the game entered its final stages, we had Dubravka to thank for keeping the scores level as he pulled off a top save to deny Norwich heading back south with the three points after Schär’s shocking mistake. More defensive frailties.

Had it not been for Ciaran Clark getting sent off and making his team fight for 80 minutes with a man down, we would have comfortably won this game. Once more it’s our defensive players who have let the side down. Winless in 14 games…it’s not easy supporting Newcastle.

Jack Sutton @jsuttonwrites