City Tame The Toon, But Only Just!
St. James' Park, Newcastle
2 October 2009, 15:00
City and their more illustrious opponents Newcastle shared the spoils at a packed St James' Park.
Playing the North-East giants for the first time in 14-years, City gave a good account of ourselves to claim a very credible point against the under-achieving Toon superstars.
The only change from the side that turned over Blackpool in midweek was in goal, with Dean Gerken replacing Adriano Basso, who had popped his groin in the warm-up.
The Geordies, playing in front of the third biggest crowd in the country on the weekend, started brightly.
Marlon Harewood, making his first start since arriving on loan from Aston Villa, could only fire against the post after being slipped in by pacy striker partner Peter Lovenkrands on 9 minutes. Alan Smith could only blaze the rebound over the bar.
Six minutes later, Cole Skuse tried his luck from the edge of the box only for his crashing volley to be deflected narrowly over Steve Harper's cross-bar.
Lee Johnson was unlucky not to run onto a wayward Danny Simpson back pass and Nicky Maynard narrowly missed the target after a surging run into the box.
City certainly weren't being overrawed by their impressive surroundings and were being superbly backed by the nigh-on 3,000 travelling hoards.
Gerken tipped away a hooked effort from Alan Smith as half-time approached and it was to set the tone for the early stages of the second half.
The former Darlington keeper pulled off two tremendous, point-blank saves on 60, first denying Danny Guthrie volley before Kevin Nolan's six-yard header was pushed clear.
Newcastle's upped the tempo and saw their best chance fall to England Under-21 defender Steven Taylor, who looked on in disbelief as Gerken firstly tipped his header onto the bar only for Lovenkrands to fire the rebound back onto the bar!
But the game's major talking point arrived 15 minutes from time.
Half-time replacement Jamie McCombe was hopelessly done for pace by Harewood who was scythed down in the box by the clumsy defender.
Your's truely turned his back expecting the penalty to be given but much to mine and 43,000 others amazement, referee Graham Salisbury waved away their protests. It was an absolute stone-waller!
The incident seemed to knock the stuffing out of the home side as City clung on for a well-earned, if slightly fortuiotous, point.
NEWCASTLE (4-4-2): Harper, Simpson, S. Taylor, Khizanishvili , R. Taylor, Guthrie, Smith, Nolan, Gutierrez (Carroll 65), Harewood, Lovenkrands (Ranger 85).
CITY (4-4-2): Gerken, Orr, Carey, Nyatanga, McAllister (McCombe 46), Elliott, Johnson (Williams 72), Skuse, Sno, Saborio (Haynes 59), Maynard.
REFEREE: Graham Salisbury
Called into the team at the last minute and played a blinder. Made some awesome saves to keep us in it.
Dean Gerken 8
Bradley Orr 7
Jamie McAllister 6
Lewin Nyatanga 7
Louis Carey 7
Marvin Elliott 6
Lee Johnson 6
Cole Skuse 7
Evander Sno 6
Nicky Maynard 6
Alvaro Saborio 6
Jamie McCombe 4
Danny Haynes 6
Gavin Williams 5
Had us set up to hit on the counter and it worked very well against Newcastle. The enforced sub of McCombe disjointed us a bit in the second half but made sure the boys weren't in their shells amongst these impressive surroundings.
Did all that was asked of him but lacked ideas to really break us down. Will no doubt have moaned his arse off about the blatant penalty.
Good Point, Well Earned
I was particularly impressed how Johnson made sure the players weren't frightened by the opposition or the ground.
Just hope he keeps faith with Gerken for Peterborough as he will rightly take the plaudits for his performance.
Cider Army Invasion
Yes, they turned out in numbers but made next to no noise and were comprehensively outsung by 'little' Bristol City and the 2,800 who travelled.
Had a great weekend up there though, which is why the report is late. Same again for Boro anyone???