Unbeaten in 15 games, Newcastle went in to the game against Derby coming off the back of a 5-1 victory over Cardiff at St. James’s Park. However, such is life for a Newcastle United fan, that it all came to a screeching halt at Pride Park.
Sticking with an unchanged line-up which included two wingers, Chris Hughton opted for a pretty attacking approach against Derby. If this is from media or fan pressure, then I hope you’re all happy. It’s clear that steel is needed more than guile away from home (especially if this game is anything to go by).
Rub Hulse managed to get Derby’s first with a header. By all accounts he had the freedom of Pride Park and all that needed to be done was make contact with the ball. Their second came from a penalty as Jonas Gutierrez was deemed guilty of the foul by the ref and Kris Kommons duly obliged as he stepped up to put the penalty away. Things went from bad to worse as the Toon failed to clear a corner and Shaun Barker scored Derby’s third.
Not even a triple substitution could save Newcastle’s blushes as Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands, and Alan Smith failed to add anything extra to Newcastle’s game.
Many have blamed the ref and linesmen for the goal we conceded, and our disallowed goal, but when the Newcastle United players cross the white line, they’re the ones responsible for their performance on the pitch, and they looked nothing like league leaders in this game. To a man the Toon players underperformed, blaming the officials just shifts the responsibility away from the players.
So, our worst defeat came after our largest victory and West Brom go top of the table on goal difference (although we do have a game in hand). Hopefully this will be the kick up the backside the Newcastle players needed as any thought that the league is taken care of is woefully off the mark. Let’s hope for a much improved performance this weekend as we face an in-form Swansea.