Cole (2) Banger
My day at St.James Park started at around 6.45am. I'd been told that tickets were on sale. I joined the most fanatical supporters and waited before 3 hours
before getting a seat for 15 pounds in the Exhibition Stand. I have to say i
have nothing but admiration for the supporters of Newcastle. A group of young
lads behind me had queued the previous morning for 2 hours only to be told that
tickets were to go sale the next day.
The ground is amazing. Although i support Southampton there is pratically no away end, so i took my place in the newly all seater Exhibition Stand. A terrific view of the new pitch and stadium was what i got for my money.
Sir John Hall's millions have tranformed the ground into one of the best in the country, but have they turned the team into one of the best. The simple anwser is YES. For the first quarter of an hour Saints were swamped. Grobbelaars
responded to chants of "Dodgy Keeper" by pointing at Srnicek, then nearly gaveaway an early goal. Richard Hall cleared. Saints soaked up the early pressure and started to play some nice football. Kenna playing well down the right flank.
Saints had chances to take a surprise lead, Banger and Le Tissier both going
close, but on the half hour with the Newcastle fans starting to become agitated
the team went up a gear, the Saints dropped down two. Grobbelaar made a good
stop from Prince Albert, Watson scored easily.
Beardsley wasn't missed. Ruel Fox revelled in his new role, and six minutes later crossed low, past the oustretched Grobbelaar to give Watson his second.
The Saints defence crumbled and following a complete hash up by Benali, Cole
stole the ball had eons to adjust himself, talk to the bank manager, and take
his girlfiend out to dinner, before turning and scoring. Not one defender made
Widdrington came off at half time, Heeney on in his place. Saints looked better,but maybe because the toon had dropped a gear. Banger scored a consolation (52) with a well taken goal. Peacock appealing for offside, the youngster ran on
and put the ball well past Srnicek. The crowd went quiet. A Saints comeback
Unfortunately not. The Geordies started again, Fox went off, Mathie came on.
The Saints gifted Newcastle another goal Benali***ed up again, allowing Cole
to run on and score. Vension hit the bar following a harsh back pass decision,
but Robert Lee completed a great day for the town with a well taken goal (85).
Newcastle fans cheered "We are top of the league", they carry on in this style,
that's where they'll stay. The defence is solid, even when they do make errors,
there is always someone covering. Peacock looks confidant next to Albert, a man
who believes Central Defenders play in the opposing penalty area. The midfield
is tight, Robert Lee was outstanding, Watson is a revelation, whilst Fox and
Cole, who won't be one season wonder, were amazing upfront. The one weak link inthe side is Srnicek, but the toon can afford to have a "dodgy keeper".
Saints can't. Grobbelaar may be a showman, a conductor in big Lawrie's orchestrabut with a defence in complete disarray around him, he needs to keep his mind onthe job. Benali was crap. Hall looked ok, but needs the maturity of Ken Monkou
to help marshal the defence. Magilton, Maddison and Allen played ok, Heeney
gave the Saints much needed drive in the second half. Fortunatelt they're not asmuch a one man team. Le Tissier was nowhere in the game. He had a few touches
but seem to have expended all his energy signing autographs for the Newcastle
supporters during the warm up!
Banger fought hard up front, against a solid defence, and took his chance well.
He needs a partner and quickly. Le Tissier needs to play better. This was a
case of men against boys.
Overall, despite seeing my team being overturned by the future Champions, i enjoyed being at St. James Park. Newcastle play good attractive football, thier
supporters are mad, and it's ***y freezing. 15 quid was nowt to pay for
football of this quality. If only the opponents could have at least part way