Looking Forward

 

Newcastle United  (Away)

FA Cup Sixth Round

Sunday 13th March 2005

There are few places where you will find such a grand setting for such an under-achieving club.  Some 45 years since their last major piece of silverware and with a support that is loyal, Newcastle will be looking to push on through two routes to win a trophy this season.  And with Alan Shearer announcing that this will be his last season for the club, there is a groundswell of emotion sweeping the Magpies on to a tin pot.  However, the same was happening to Tottenham in 1995 with Jurgen Klinsmann's involvement and the fact that Spurs had been thrown out of the competition before it even started.  You know what happened there.

With Shearer, Patrick Kluivert and Shola Ameobi (also the pet name of Danny Baker's dog Bingo), there is an array of attacking ability there, with options available with differing talents.   Shearer has an innate knack of being the Johnny on the spot to score at regular intervals.  Ledley King is a much improved player and Spurs might be able to keep their focus to shut out the threat the former England striker poses.  Kluivert is an enigma.  A highly talented player, he seems to be one who not have the mental strength to put it into practice week after week like Shearer.  He is on a decent run of scoring at the moment ( a couple of goals lately including the winner against Chelsea in the last round), so might be confident for this FA Cup encounter.  Ameobi has been linked with Tottenham in Hoddle's reign, but has not been able t forge a permanent place in the Newcastle team.  Rangy enough to be a threat in the air and good on the ground too, he is still a little lightweight and rumours of his move away from the Toon continue.

The defence is backed up by keeper Shay Given.  Short in stature, he is a good shot stopper, but with players like O'Brien and Boumsong in front of him, he lets them deal with the aerial bombardment.  He can be prone to the odd error and with a side who can attack like Spurs can (on their day), he could be found out if enough shots on target test him.  It is reported that former Chelsea defender Celestine Babayaro might not make the game, but will probably be picked to provide an attacking intent on the left flank, while our old boy Stephen Carr will try to do the same on the other wing.  There is a certain irony that Carr left Spurs to find more success and league-wise (at the moment) his side have struggled more than Spurs.  However, he has not been part of  the team, as he has missed much of the season with injury.  In central defence Titus Bramble and Andy O'Brien are most likely to join the strapping Jean Alain Boumsong in that area of the back four.  Aaron Hughes is another defender who has played anywhere along the back line this season, so might feature from the bench to give Souness some flexibility.  Youngster Stephen Taylor has been phased into the side this season through injuries to others, but he had a 'mare at Highbury, so can be got at. Spurs could find some joy by exploiting the nature of the defence, by getting to the by-line and pulling the ball back low rather than trying to out-jump the hulking Newcastle defenders.

The midfield area is packed with options for Souness to choose from.  The objectionable Lee Bowyer is back in favour and has even been scoring a few from midfield and his battle with Michael Brown might be an interesting one, with Brownie one to get tuck in and make a nuisance of himself.  Amdy Faye has come in from Portsmouth to add athleticism to the midfield and the ability to break up the opposition's moves.  The home side have a number of players who can run forward from their midfield - Laurent Robert, Kieron Dyer, Jermain Jenas and James Milner.  Milner has slipped to the fringe of the squad, but Robert has a knack of hitting important goals and has overcome his early row with the new manager.  He can be a dangerous opponent, especially with his powerful and swerving shot and free-kicks.  Dyer and Jenas are similar players and it is unlikely that they will both feature.  Both have good engines and run between the boxes, but they are both most prominent when hitting on the break.

It's a difficult task for Tottenham, even though they have won at St. James Park already this season, but if they perform to their potential, they are more than capable of being a match for Newcastle.  That is why I am going for  ...

PREDICTION : -   Newcastle United  1   Tottenham Hotspur  1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.

PLAYERS UNAVAILABLE

NEWCASTLE UNITED :  Robbie Elliott (knee); Darren Ambrose (thigh); Celestine Babayaro (knee); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Andy Reid (cup-tied); Michael Dawson (cup-tied); Pedro Mendes (broken toe); - (-); 

Coverage

TV :
Sky Sports 1 - Live coverage
Fox Sports International Pay-per-view (US)
Setanta Sports Closed-circuit (US)
Rogers Sportsnet (Canada)
11am ET; 8am PT 

Radio :  
BBC Radio London - 94.9FM (London area)
BBC Radio Five Live 606/939 MW

Internet :
www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast  - subscribers only
Planet football - http://play.www.planetfootball.servecast.net/downloads/sky/spurs_match_new.ram (free - only available when match is on)
BBC Radio London - Live webcast     http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/sport/localradio/index.shtml

 

 

Newcastle United   1    Tottenham Hotspur   0      (Half-time score : 1-0)
FA Cup Sixth Round Venue :   St. James' Park
Sunday 13th March 2005 Kick Off :  16.00 p.m.
Crowd :   51,307 Referee :   Rob Styles (Hampshire)
Weather :  Dry, some sunshine, chilly
Teams : - 
Newcastle United :

Given

Carr
Bramble (Jenas 40)
Boumsong
Hughes

Dyer
Faye
Bowyer
Robert (Milner 82)

Shearer
Kluivert (Ameobi 69)

Unused subs: 
Butt
Harper

Tottenham Hotspur :

Robinson

Pamarot (Marney 80)
King (c)
Naybet (Gardner 88)
Atouba (Keane 64)

Davies
Brown
Carrick
Ziegler

Kanoute
Defoe

Unused subs: 
Cerny
Edman

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Newcastle United Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Newcastle United

Kluivert 5

Tottenham Hotspur

None

Cards : -  
Newcastle United

   

Boumsong (diving) 25
Ameobi (foul) 82
Shearer (foul) 90


     

Tottenham Hotspur

   

Atouba (foul) 9
Brown (foul) 47
Pamarot (foul) 48
Naybet (dissent) 74
Ziegler (foul) 78
Davies (foul) 90

     

Match Report : -  
My over-riding memory of this 0-1 Sixth Round FA Cup defeat will be one of how the team performed like the home side, while Newcastle hung on for two thirds of the match after taking an early lead.

For all the sentimental rubbish spouted about Alan Shearer's last chance to win a trophy with his beloved Newcastle, the Magpies showed what a limited outfit they are and although they have organisation at the back as one of their improved points, the stats showed that they could not stop Spurs getting 12 shots on goal, seven of which were on target.  Their biggest ally in their victory was Rob Styles, who seems hell-bent on booking everything in yellow that moved and giving all the decisions to the former England captain's club to ensure they progressed to the semi-finals.  Once there they will get drawn against Manchester United and lose.  Personally, I would like them to get tot he final and lose, but hey, like Spurs losing today, you can't have everything.

The early goal came as Newcastle came out quicker than Spurs.  A couple of corners had preceded the break on the right that lead to the goal.  Atouba had some early problems with Dyer's pace wide on the right and when the ball broke from a tackle, King had to go out there to challenge Shearer.  He got the break of the ball and proceeded to move into the area and pull the ball back to Kluivert, who was unmarked a couple of yards out and he swept the ball past Robinson.

Atouba's difficulty against Dyer continued with a foul that earned him a ninth minute yellow card and this was the first of many that Styles saw as bookable offences for Spurs, while Newcastle's players received warnings when they had committed their third foul (I know because the official held up three fingers and then waved Faye away).  Spurs were grateful for a sharp-eyed assistant who flagged Kluivert offside, before he went through to put the ball away.

It took 20 minutes for Spurs to get a shot on target, with Ziegler hitting a fairly easy shot to save for Given.  When play moved to the Spurs end, Newcastle won a corner and when Bramble headed it over, Styles decided it was a corner !!  The performance of the official was flawed from both teams point of view.  When Brown challenged Boumsong in the area, with the Newcastle defender going down, the ref pulled out a yellow card to punish him for diving ... which he didn't.

Fredi was making good runs and taking the ball well, however it was delivered to him.  A couple of times he got wide, but the lack of support meant he had to delay the delivery into the danger area and they were cut out.  One big problem for Tottenham seemed to be the lack of forward movement from the midfield.  The gap between them and the forwards made it difficult to get any momentum behind our attacks.  Fredi did turn to hit a low shot that Given saved and then he moved to the near post to meet Defoe's cross, but he got too far in front of the post and could only turn the effort into the side-netting.  Jermain was getting buffeted around, but stuck to his task and he pulled out a shot that stung the Magpies keeper's hands in the 38th minute.

Spurs might have made more of the fact that bramble's groin injury removed him from the action and Jenas was brought on at left back, but there was little move to exploit this defensive weakness and the teams left the field at half-time with the one goal separating the sides.

At the start of the second half, Jol had obviously told Spurs to go out and take the game to the home side.  And that was when Newcastle had to defend to a man in front of a Spurs onslaught.  It did not explain the early bookings of Brown and Pamarot (this for the Frenchman's first foul), but it did heap pressure on the home defence.  Thim threw in a long throw and it came to Davies on the 'D' of the box and his volley went a yard the wrong side of Given's right post.  Then a 58th minute corner by Ziegler saw King and Brown have shots blocked as desperation entered the Newcastle game.

Atouba was taken off to introduce the third forward, Robbie Keane, who had an immediate effect.  Kanoute outstripped Jenas and drew a low ball back to Keano, who shot high, bringing a good save from Given.  As the rebound fell in front of goal, Defoe cracked a fierce volley, that the Irish goalie also fisted out.  The yellow cards kept coming and the foul by Ziegler on Dyer saw him enter the book before Naybet ranted at the ref for not being allowed to take a free-kick and he followed the Swiss midfielder.

Jermain was having trouble controlling the ball today and he let a couple of good chances slip away with a heavy first touch, but he ended a long free-kick with a shot that flew wide.  With Marney on for Pamarot, the intent was to push on down the right and he only really got one opportunity to do so and that resulted in a poor cross that Given gathered at the near post.  Defoe hit another hard shot that Given beat out and as it bounce dup Ledley headed it goalwards, only for Faye to head clear in the 82nd minute.

Two minutes later, Lee Bowyer rolled around the ball in the penalty area, but nothing was given - probably rightly, but what was wrong with our "goal" in the 89th minute was confounding.  Substitute Tony Gardner rose to head a corner goalwards, which Bowyer stopped with an outstretched arm and Robbie Keane was on hand to volley in past the keeper.  But Styles produced another anomalous decision out of his repertoire to rule it out.  What for ... who knows ?  I just hope that Styles does.

Spurs were pushing forward for the equaliser and left themselves open at the back, something Dyer took advantage of as he raced clear, but Paul Robinson stopped his drive and it was back up the other end for a thrilling finale.  Carrick knocked a ball into the box and Given failed to punch clear, but it came to Kanoute's head and his goal-bound try was headed away by Hughes.  Still not finished, Spurs thrust the ball into the area once more and as it bounced it Bowyer appeared to move his arm to guide the ball down, but it was asking too much of Styles to have been in a good position to see it.

So, out of the Cup, but with the warm(ish) glow of having been the better team for the majority of the match.  The one thing that the team need to learn from this defeat though is that with all the possession in the world, they must convert it into goals ... otherwise (nearly) all is lost.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - MICHAEL BROWN

Stan Chun

 

ROB(BED) BLIND

 

The intervention of the referee Rob Styles made sure that it was 1999 all over again with a defeat by Newcastle United in the latter stages of the FA Cup.

That day where we were denied a blatant penalty, we could have had at least one today and a good goal disallowed.  However, all we got for the constant attacking was a single goal defeat and the rest of the league season to look forward to.

The problem came with two elements of our game.  

Firstly, the killer was was missing from the team's play.

Secondly, the chances Spurs had, they failed to direct wide of Given.  The Newcastle goalie made some very good saves, but the efforts on goal rarely made his presence superfluous.  Spurs huffed and puffed, but could not blow the Toon House crumbling down.

Some dodgy moments in defence featured all bar Pamarot.  Balls headed straight up into the air.  Clearances sliced sideways and tackles not being connected with.  With Tottenham on the back foot from the start, Newcastle cashed in on their early dominance.  Breaking through a sliding King tackle, Shearer slotted the ball into Kluivert's path and he firmly rapped the ball past Robinson.

Unfortunately, Spurs did not make the most of the most of the fact that they dominated 60% of the match.  There were few opportunities that the home side made, until Spurs threw everything forward towards the end of the match, while Tottenham carved out chance after chance, but they could not score.  Some of that was the fault of the forwards and some the fault of the referee.  Yes, the official is an easy target.  Even more so when he  makes such elementary errors.  Some came from giving throw-ins the wrong way, some giving corners the wrong way and some ignoring his assistant who flags for one decision, while the ref over-rules him to show his authority.  

Whatever happens, at the moment, we seem destined not to get decisions which other teams do.  Therefore, we have to rely on nobody else but ourselves for a result and at the moment, it is hard when teams fail to open up.  The Fulham game showed what we can do if we persist, but it still took time.  The SCBC match and this one showed what happens when we are slightly off target with our finishing.

When the Spurs fans sung "We Are Tottenham" at top volume against a silent background of black'n'white shirts ... you almost believed it.  Certainly more than the crowing of the Magpie fans at the end.  Shearer's year ?  Perhaps he will go all the way, but I would prefer him to go the same way as Shergar.  But then he would never go quietly !!

It was an admirable performance in taking the game to the home side in the Magpies Nest, but one which inevitably failed as we needed a break.  

Do you make your own luck ?

Well, you do ... with a little bit of help form others !!

Benny The Ball

I'm sure all Spurs fans are feeling crestfallen today after yesterday's loss at St. James Park. The really irritating thing is that the team dominated possession, yet didn't test Given nearly enough save for the two fine saves he made from Davis(?) in the second half. The final pass lacked sufficient quality most of the time and merely underlined the need for a genuine creative midfielder a la Hoddle or Ardiles. Still, given the way Spurs dictated the pace for most of the contest, the feeling remained throughout this game that had Spurs scored they would have gone on to win. However, our big shortcoming this season is the team's difficulty in scoring goals away from White Hart Lane. This and a tendency to start slowly. Jol must address these two points if we're to progress.

Starting Atouba at left wing back ahead of Edman (presumably not fit?) proved a costly mistake and Newcastle exploited out lack of pace in this position which, along with some unconvincing tackling by King, lead to their goal.  This was the worse possible start as I felt that our best way of winning this match was to exploit Newcastle's potential to tire in the latter stages after their game in Greece on Thursday; thus, it was critical not to concede an early goal.  If Jol learns anything from this game it is that Atouba should play only at left midfield as his defensive abilities are suspect, to say the least.

Defoe, Keane and Kanoute had poor games with, perhaps, Kanoute's contribution emerging as the most significant.  I feel the value of these three players can never really be measured until the team's approach play delivers the ball to them under the right circumstances, something we're not managing to do, at least away from home, at the moment.  The absence of Mendes proved to be a key factor in this respect and the midfield area clearly needs more of his kind of vision in the form of additional signings (Van Bommel and Hargreaves spring to mind).

Still, enough of the negatives ... On the plus side the team kept possession and controlled the pace of the game well, an aspect that will put them in good stead when they do get into Europe.  There can be little doubt after this display they Martin Jol and Frank Arnesen are on the right path as the team are playing an attractive and intelligent brand of football and the general outlook at the club is more positive now than for the last 20 years.

The question remains can we get that European spot this season ?  Well, if the side play their remaining fixtures with the same kind of commitment and focus as they did against Newcastle there's every chance we can close the gap on the teams above us and grab sixth position.  Away form is going to be vital for all those clubs fighting for a European spot.

We've got to start scoring goals on the road if we're to stand any chance.  With Mido and Read available and with Sean Davis back from injury, plus a little good luck of course (something we're not had much of in recent years) I believe we can do it. 
COME ON YOU SPURS.

Rod Saines

VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE

How did you view Sunday's game ?

Very, very difficult and I think before Christmas we'd have lost the game because we'd not have been able to defend as resolutely as we needed to for as long. Obviously getting the early goal set the tone for the match. When we scored I think Souness was of the view, what we have we hold. We looked to have tired legs out there particularly in the 2nd half and it looked like the long trip to Greece had caught up with us. Naturally the London media had us down as being lucky. Bramble played for almost a half carrying an injury as Steven Taylor and Andy O'Brien had failed fitness tests. Babayaro was injured which meant only Carr and Boumsong were fit and playing in their natural positions for the entirety of the game. We had Jenas at left-back for the first time in his career. We showed guts, bottle and thoroughly deserved the win because we worked hard from the first kick until the last. Shay's God Given talents didn't serve for us to do anything other than win the game. Dyer had the beating of your defence for the first 20 minutes and in that period we scored when The Lion set up Paddy K. You had loads of possession - you played really well but you never really got to the by-line and had our defenders turning. You played a lot of your football in front of us. Spurs losing means Carrick can walk the streets of his hometown without looking over his shoulder.

When United started sitting back, were you worried?

We are conditioned to expect Newcastle United attack in waves relentlessly at St. James' Park and the only good win being the kind of hiding your side has been on the end of a few times in the recent past. But our expectations are changing and we are thinking more and more about results. If we'd retreated to the edge of the box before Christmas I'd have been worried but now I had more confidence it was part of the game plan rather than simply being pressed back.

Kluivert's "goal" was disallowed.  Do you think he was offside ?

I sit in the North East Corner of the Leazes End and I'm bang on level with the edge of the box. He wasn't offside though the whistle had gone before he put it in the net and Robinson made no effort to get the ball. He wasn't in an offside position when he received the ball and all things being equal I'd expect he'd have scored had the flag not gone up such is his class.

And what about Tottenham's disallowed effort and two penalty appeals?

I thought the disallowed goal was much like the above. The whistle had gone before the ball went into the net. Look closely and you'll see our lads have stopped. It looked like there was a nudge on Given and you just don't do that in the modern game. The two penalties? On another day we couldn't have complained if you'd got them. As it happens just before Shay made those two wonder saves I thought Jenas had tugged Kanoute's shirt in the box but it was missed and we got away with it. I think you'll have to put it in context with the rest of the game - at half time I was convinced you'd have someone sent off because you'd put in some cynical challenges in all over the park. I'm still non-plussed as to how you kept 11 men on the park. There's also the small matter of being battered at SJP earlier this season and blagging a rare 1-0 win over us on our patch. You carried the luck that day.

Your view of the ref's performance ?

As ever the London media are making a song and dance about stuff because their darlings have gone out the Cup. Like we give a f**k !  I thought he did okay but he could have stamped down harder on your lot for some very questionable challenges throughout the game.

Thought that it was an odd selection not to have a defender on the bench with Bramble carrying an injury.  Are you really that short ?

The simple truthful answer is yes, we are that short. We had three defenders injured before Bramble announced he was carrying a knock. So much for luck. Our squad is imbalanced. Robson has left a bit of a mess and Souness is still trying to put it right. We were short of defenders before Shepherd flogged Woodgate to Real Madrid and that's the explanation for a dire first half to the season. Souness wanted Distin from Man City in the transfer window and obviously when you see the clip of our bench on Sunday you understand why.

What about this Ramage bloke ?  Is he ready yet ?

I'd say not but I'd say Steven Taylor is. Ramage has barely been involved in the first team picture but he's a local boy and as everyone accepts one Geordie is worth 10 mortal souls. Taylor is very promising. Tony Adams (sorry) rates him very, very highly and not many know more about defenders than him. If he's fit Taylor will play central defender against Olympiakos on Wednesday night.

How did Tottenham's support shape up against other teams fans who come to St. James' Park ?

I've a pretty dim view of the support London clubs bring to SJP - most rarely sell out their allocation and sit silently freezing to death like soft shites on Level 7 of the Leazes End, which in itself is amusing. I didn't expect Spurs to bring the numbers you did. I was impressed. It was a daft k.o. time - the trains back to London couldn't have been the easy that time on a Sunday and of course it was televised which was sure to have put a few soft London puffs off coming to the frozen tundra of Tyneside Daily Shite. So when I took my pew I was surprised at the numbers - twice as many as the flakes from Chelsea - self proclaimed masters of football. I thought you got behind your team pretty well. I did spot some blurts with yellow balloons though having rarely missed a fixture between NUFC and Spurs at the Doctors Waiting Room of White Hart Lane my pals and I were amused by the "1-0 and you still won't sing" and "who the 'kin hell are you" from a club that has never played in the Champions League or the UEFA Cup for some considerable time and languishes in the shadow of its more illustrious neighbour. I think we've won the league title more often than Spurs as well but I'm not prepared to bet on that - four times for us !  We'll put that one down to irony. All that aside you've probably brought the best away support to Newcastle United for the last few seasons. There was some fisticuffs I gather around our fair and noble city but well, we'll just file that one under high spirits. It was a game played in a real Cup tie atmosphere and Spurs fans contributed to that.

Having won through to the semi-finals 1-0 are you confident now you will be up against Man U ?

They have been our nemesis on more occasions than I care to remember but all I ask from our players is that if Man Utd are going to beat us then they have to fight, scrap and give 100% to get to the final. I want our lads to give absolutely everything for our just and righteous cause and regardless of the result I want them to come off the pitch knowing they couldn't do any better. We are massively the underdogs but that doesn't concern me. As long as we make them work hard to beat us, if that's what's going to happen then I'll be satisfied. That said no Newcastle United supporter is travelling to Cardiff to make up the numbers. We desperately want to get to the final. Unlike Arsenal, we'll have no problem selling our tickets for either the semi or the final. Flakes.

Michael Martin, true faith, Newcastle United Fanzine 
www.true-faith.co.uk

 

Other FA Cup Sixth Round scores this weekend :
Blackburn Rovers 1 Leicester City 0 Sunday
Bolton Wanderers 0 Arsenal 1 Saturday
SCBC 0 Manchester United 4 Saturday
Premier League scores from midweek
Chelsea - West Bromwich Albion - Tuesday

 

Back to homepage