Newcastle United Perform Bravely, Give Manchester United One Too Many

Clive Rose

Goals, goals and more goals in entertaining match at Old Trafford.

The first half was promising enough; a goal from Perch and a Manchester United own goal might just have had Toon fans thinking that this was the day to end the club's Old Trafford hoodoo. In fact, but for a Sylvain Marveaux free kick crashing off of the crossbar near the end of the half, it could well have been 3-1 at halftime. They would be wishing for that goal later on.

Overall, it has to be said that the match would have been a truly entertaining one for the neutral observer, and the goals kept coming by the bucketful - Papiss Cisse got a good one from a brilliant piece of play from just-subbed-on Gabriel Obertan while Manchester United pegged back through Patrice Evra and Robin van Persie. The action went end to end and it has to be said that that Newcastle, by and large, were giving as good as they got. Sammy Ameobi would provide a second strike of the woodwork for Newcastle United shortly after being subbed on... a goal that Newcastle would have been wishing for.

Just after Fergie Time had been announced, Newcastle United would once again misplay an offside trap (Danny Simpson not staying with his player, this particular time), and Chicharito would finally get on the scoreboard to give Manchester United their very first lead of the match... a result that is a touch harsh on Newcastle United, but if we're being fair, ultimately was pretty well deserved as Newcastle absolutely still cannot stop their Keystone Cops routines at the back.

Insult to injury: Vurnon Anita was assaulted by Antonio Valencia and is being stretechered off with an apparent serious knee injury (or potential broken leg). Perfect.

Added On Stuff:

This match was the ultimate in frustration. Newcastle produced perhaps some of their best attacking football throughout the match (a little 2011-12ish) and but for two shots off the woodwork might have taken something from this match. Ultimately, however, poor defensive play was our undoing. This expressed itself in two parts:

Part the First: It is endemic of all defending these days, but our defenders need to stop trying to play the dual-role of ref/defender. We concede so many times when we're trying to call offside or, as was the case today, not getting back to defend when trying to get the ref to call a foul up the pitch. We're not good enough back there to do this.

Part the Second: We have absolutely no ability to deal with a ball that drops into the box. We look like chickens with our heads cut off. I know it's hard to practice defending when the ball is randomly pinballing around, but it's much more than bad luck... we just can't deal with it. I'm sick of seeing goals where the scoring player is outnumbered 4 or 5 to one in the vicinity of the ball and still manages to get it in.

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