Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Newcastle holds tough against Man City

With each turn of the screw the Magpies are showing that they are a team worthy of loyal supporters. Against all odds, week after week they are giving their heart and soul on the pitch and fighting on for the crest. Todays match against Manchester City isn't simply a rallying cry but a shot across the bow to those who think Newcastle will go down for the count. City with all its fortunes and talk of filling hardware cases came within five minutes of losing to Newcastle which played a man down from the thirteenth minute and had to fight hard to earn a 2-2 draw. Moral victory, absolutely but even more than that because it showed amongst a professionals that the players heart and banding together on the pitch still reigns supreme.

The match started with a call that even in my most biased vision was "questionable" when referee Rob Style ruled Habib Beye had taken down Robinho in the area. Without a doubt there was contact but it was a good hard tackle where contact with the ball was made first. While this is a subjective call at best, if this is to be called as a penalty is aggressive tackling being pushed out of the game? However that is besides the point because with Habib Beye receiving the straight-red, they now would be playing a man down after the thirteenth minute. After Robinho successfully converted from the spot, Newcastle dusted itself off and made the proper tactical adjustments. As the match went on the Magpies seemed to gain confidence and a minute before the break a Man City defensive blunder lead to Shola Ameobi in-clear and shuttling the ball to the back of the net.

After the break Newcastle came out with resolve, confident that they could withstand the challenges. After a number of close calls by City, Newcastle won a corner and on Geremi's in swing, Richard Dunne attempted to re-direct it but it ended up perfectly placed in the opposite corner behind 'keeper Joe Hart with twenty-seven minutes remaining. Searching for the equalizer Mark Hughes called immediately upon Wales international Ched Evans for Dietmar Hamman. Quick on the pace, he immediately created a opportunity that was thwarted by Steven Taylor but it wasn't until five minutes remaining that Stephen Ireland leveled the match off a fine through-ball by Robinho. While disappointed with the draw, it was a brilliant match for Newcastle and something to build upon.

Newcastle heads off to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland next week.