Just as soon as they can rouse themselves from their post-match stupor, our famous five true faith TIFOSI will place themselves in front of some kind of keyboard and let you have their thoughts on the latest slice of Newcastle United, which of course on this occasion involves a trip over to the North West for a banana skin League Cup tie with Morecambe FC.

Their thoughts will fluctuate between well-crafted prose and stream of consciousness. basically, depending upon what they have been drinking.

But eyes down, here they are all present and correct.


SAM DALLING SamDalling copy

Neither for the most part was it very effective. But at the end of the day the job was done and it’s onto the next round, where we have a relatively favourable home tie. The brothers Ameobi Alan Pardew’s blushes with a pair of late strikes on a night where our League Two hosts had more than done themselves justice. Shola, a half-time sub for disappointing Vuckic, put us ahead with a deflected strike from outside the box with about 5 minutes remaining. Then younger sibling Sammy collected a cross-field ball from Ben Arfa, beat a couple of men and slotted the ball past the on rushing ‘keeper with only seconds left on the clock. On the evidence of the second half we were just about good for our victory, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that we only reached the half-way point level thanks to a pair of Dan Gosling goal-line clearances and a couple of smart saves from Rob Elliot. Perhaps the main positive from the night was a promising display from Curtis Good on debut. Granted he’s probably not ready for the Premier League just yet, but it seemed like the Aussie starlet was always the right man in the right place. If I’m honest the midfield was largely disappointing, with Bigi and Gosling failing to take a grip proceedings, while Marveaux, well, it just wasn’t his type of occasion I don’t think. That said Sammy was once again lively, although the lad still looks very raw and if we had any sort of squad he could definitely use another loan spell. From a fans viewpoint it was a decent night; great to be back on the terraces and a proper atmosphere. Shame about the few that still believe flares are good crack mind.

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I’ve got a bit of a nickname at work (no not twat, cock or wanker) and tend to get labelled Negative Neil. In all honesty, if the cap fits wear it, I love a good moan and bearing in mind my last two match reviews I am going to try and balance this one out with a few positives. This one had banana skin written all over it and I thought it would be Shrimps vs Jellyfish, rather than Shrimps vs Magpies…and in the first half it was. We were lucky, very lucky. How many times have we been out harried, out thought and out fought over the last few years? I’ve lost count. Vuckic is on borrowed time by the looks of things and at some point he HAS to live to live up to his promise or head for the door. Marveux (who I usually like) was average and the usually classy Mapou was bullied. Second half we were marginally better and Curtis Good (I can see a Shamen chant developing here) and Sammy, again, looked decent in flashes. Granted, Morcambe are Second Division but they put up a good fight and we can only beat what is put in front of us. However, one thing that I do struggle with is the inability of the majority of our senior players to trap a moving ball and then play it on the floor. It really isn’t that difficult and we hardly have the personnel to lump it.  At the end of the day we got through, we didn’t concede and didn’t provide the national media with the wankfest they were after but we must do better and Alan needs to start speaking the truth or just keeping his mouth shut. Funnily enough I didn’t see the media going crackers as Stevenage were taking Everton to extra time….knives out anyone? They’ve still got the Ronny Radford clip for when we balls it up in the FA Cup though. I actually timed it and it took 14 seconds into last years coverage to make an appearance..yawn. All in all “must do better” and I’m clinging to the scraps as I reckon this is our personnel until the end of the season…minus the new Le Sulk.

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The first thing that became apparent about Morcambe was that they were, for the most part, massive. Pretty sure the big baldy fella on the wing was a doorman. They were a big danger at set pieces, as our lot struggled to cope. This was a typical Pardew cup performance. It’s as if he’s terrified of achieving anything. There are undoubtedly some very talented young lads on our books, but they’re sort of thrown together in a bit of a mish-mash formation, utilising the “Pardew special” of one up front. Marveux seemed to be confused by his own shadow. Gouffran was given the grand sum of nothing before being subbed on 70 minutes. This is Pardew’s only card trick. If a nugget like me can spot that, then managers and scouts of Premiership clubs are going to be wise to this as well. On the plus side, both of the Ameobi’s played well. Sammy seemed to frighten the life out of their full back, even if he was a little wasteful at times. They both took their goals well I felt, even if Shola’s did get a helping hand from a deflection. Gosling played a crucial part with two goal line clearances and Curtis Good had a solid debut. Elliot showed us again why we have a more than able deputy in nets, even if he does get a little bit of stick from the bed-wetter element of our support. Football is a results game as they say after a less than convincing performance. However, we’ve overcome one of those potential banana skins. Onto Leeds we go. Tasty.

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MATT STARK  Man wearing ski mask

That game aged me by several, hundred years. A sorry looking NUFC for the majority of the game, it was only for the goalmouth antics of Dan Gosling, we weren’t 2-0 down in the first half an hour. I once played football against a team from Morecambe and some shit planted his elbow in the side of my skull as we both went for a header. That sort of play typified this Morecambe side who went tooth and claw at us, playing with fury and determination, not to mention some shocking challenges. For 70 minutes we looked desperate, however it was the introduction of Hatem Ben Arfa with a little help from the Ameobi brothers who managed to claw us back from the brink when all looked lost. To be fair, there was a couple of half decent performances; specifically Paul Dummett and centre half Curtis Good; this was in direct contrast to Mbiwa who looked shaky all game. Sammy Ameobi had the beating of his full back for most of the time but his final ball was lacking in creativity. The lad scored a decent goal at the end, as did Ameobi senior, both of them coming after sublime passes from Hatem Ben Arfa. Credit for this game, however, has to go to our fans who did not stop for 90 minutes….my favourite one of the night. “You’re just shit-scared of Shola!” after some handbags on the touchline.It was not the giant-killing that Sky were so desperate for it to be, but there was little convincing play out there and the victory rung slightly hollow. With no disrespect to Morecambe, who gave a good account of themselves, we shouldn’t be getting stretched like that by a league two team. That’s the state we’re in though and if our men at the top still maintain that we’re strong enough, their heads must have taken a bigger whack than mine.

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Two words. Job done. I thought Pardew was very much playing with fire with his team selection, I’ll never understand why managers don’t do it the other way around. Try and get the game done and dusted, then bring the first teamers off with 15-20 minutes left. I said in the West Ham TIFOSI that only bad can come of this tie, just get it out the way. I didn’t even care about the way we played, the only thing that really mattered tonight was the result. Gosling was very much involved in the first half in a defensive capacity, but I thought it was Curtis Good who stood out, considering it was the lads debut. Sammy looked busy on Saturday and continued in the same vein tonight, but hard to judge really against this level of opposition. I must confess when we bought Rob Elliot I was a bit nonplussed, but I think he’s a much better keeper now than when he first arrived, and we had him to thank a few times in the first half as Morecambe looked dangerous. Ben Arfa came off the bench and gave us that something extra that we sadly needed to get past the League Two side. Like I said, Pardew was playing with fire with his team selection, but he got away with it and now we’ve got a tasty home tie against Leeds to look forward too. It’s nice to win, nice to score, and nice to have a few shots on target. Is it asking for too much to expect more of the same against Fulham on Saturday? Go on Alan, that’d be dead canny that..

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