It is somewhat difficult to react reliably to a match that you have not seen with your eyes. This is, however, the very thing I will attempt to do in this space. After 349782 years straight being drawn away in the FA Cup, Newcastle were finally given a home match. Instead of a friendly draw so far as opponent goes, we were given Blackburn Rovers who, despite their abject awfulness seem to always be able to get a result against the Mags. After a bright first 10 minutes in which it looked like Newcastle were going to dominate the match, we slowly but surely allowed Blackburn back into the match, culminating in an opener from a corner kick that was not cleared, an event that was met with massive sighs from a support base that has seen so any concessions from set pieces this year. The match would go to halftime at 1-0 to Rovers.
In theory, this match should have laid out very well for the Toon on the back of their strong performance against Manchester United mid-week. The tactics that were displayed in the 3-0 dismantling of the champions should have translated directly into this match. For whatever reason, however, it seemed like we were devoid of any specific tactic, still searching for an identity in the sans-Ba/Tiote era. Hatem Ben Arfa was active and influential but to little effect, Leon Best seemed to lack the confidence to play as a true CF and yet Pardew seemed to insist on playing him there.
In fairness, a second defeat to Blackburn is always gong to be met with tremendous amounts of frustration, and especially so given the relative apparent strengths of the squads fielded. On 69 minutes, however, everything changed as Hatem Ben Arfa exhibited the skills that make him a favorite of the Toon Army to slam home after a mazy run into the box and slam home an equalizer which (at least the way it sounded) was all class.
By all accounts, Newcastle were looking very tired as the minutes ticked by towards a replay at Ewood Park, which I'm certain would not have been good for us as Toon fans, nor would it have been good for the planet. Somehow, however, Newcastle made their influence in the last 20 minutes pay off as they mustered up one final attack in the added added time and Spiderman re-emerged to bang home a winner with the last kick of the ball to save the planet from an awful result at St. James' Park.
Several interesting points for talking today - Obertan starts ahead of Raylor on the right... Simmo subs out (radio said it could have just been sickness...) HBA finally plays on the right, then scores his majestic equalizer. It was a frustrating journey, but it's good to see the lads pulling this type of result out again.
[edited for How did the match make you feel? Please jump in and discuss! - OSotP]