An efficient performance by Newcastle United in the first-half saw them going in at half-time looking very comfortable being two goals up with Michael Owen bagging a brace. Stoke City were very poor in the first half and were fortunate to not be more than two goals behind.
However, in true Newcastle style, we threw it away thanks to a former player. Like Titus Bramble in the last minute against Wigan, Abdoulaye Faye came back to haunt Newcastle and left us looking for our first win in three games. Our second-half performance was dreadful.
Things are looking very serious now for the Toon. Joe Kinnear’s rant for the free-kick given which led to Stoke’s second goal reeks of desperation. It’s not the ref’s fault or the linesman’s fault, the fact of the matter is this – if we can’t defend a last minute free-kick against a newly promoted Championship side, then things are not looking good for the rest of the season.
Another thing, just when will Kinnear realise that bringing on Viduka for Martins is not going to do us any favours? We need an outlet upfront, someone who’s quick and can turn his defender inside out, Viduka is not that, and nor is Michael Owen. If you’re going to sub someone, especially since Stoke bypass the midfield with their direct style of play, take off a midfielder and throw Viduka on.
The only positive thing going for us today is that the teams around us lost. Aside from that, I’m not exactly looking forward to the Christmas schedule with this lot. It’s going to be a long old season supporting the Toon, but what’s new?