Monday, September 15, 2008

Tiger (de)feat

Newcastle Utd 1 - 2 Hull City

I'd love to say that this result came as a surprise, but after the two weeks we've had, it really didn't.

On a day of protests, which clearly seem to have done their job in galvanising the fat controller to invite offers for the club, it was a shame that the exhortations from the stands couldn't galvanise the team to greater things.

With the game evenly matched, a Geremi free-kick landed on the head of Michael Owen, only for Hull keeper Boaz Myhill to save well and keep the Premiership new boys in the match. A goal at that stage, and the vocal majority in the stands would surely have roared the team to victory. As it was, it was Hull striker Marlon King who was to have the decisive influence on the game.

Firstly, King gave Hull a barely deserved lead when he converted a penalty at the Gallowgate end after Nicky Butt had been somewhat unfortunate to be penalised for a foul on Peter Halmosi.

However, whilst we might have been a tad unfortunate to be one down at half time, there was nobody to blame but our own suicidal defensive tendencies after the interval when, with forty minutes to go we committed the cardinal sin of not keeping the extra man back at a corner. With two on two, Hull broke swiftly, and King was able to evade N'Zogbia's non-challenge and fire Hull into an unassailable lead.

Whilst N'Zogbia was partly to blame for the second, he was at least able to turn provider at the other end when his shot rebounded off the post into the path of debutant Xisco, and the man whose transfer may have been the straw to break the camel's back, netted a consolation goal with eight minutes remaining.

Unfortunately, Newcastle could do little to threaten a time-wasting Hull team, and when Danny Guthrie's frustration boiled over into a vicious kick at Craig Fagan (which has apparently left the Hull man with a broken leg) it was no surprise to see him red carded. Whilst his frustration was perhaps understandable, by lashing out Guthrie has merely contrived to further weaken our already stretched squad.

With Ashley's post match announcement showing that, at least at board level, it's a case of message received, attention must now turn to the pitch where the task of managing the club during a period of uncertainty is going to prove a testing one, during which we all need to pull together to carry the team forward.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian


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