Newcastle United were held to a goalless draw against Metalist Kharkiv at St James' Park Thursday in a match that will unfortunately be remembered for its questionable officiating.
Alan Pardew fielded a full-strength squad, as many anticipated, and they set about dictating the run of play for the most part. And for the most part, Metalist keeper Oleksander Goryainov was equal to the task, even if Newcastle weren't exactly threatening the goal on possession after possession. At one point, several people in the game thread mentioned that it looked like the Toon attack were out of ideas, and it was a perfect description.
Idea 1: Through ball to Papiss Cisse. Welp, he's offside.
Idea 2: Attack down the wings and cross into the box. Welp, we forgot to select players that can cross.
Idea 3: Dribble the ball into the goal. Welp, the center backs for the other team showed up today.
Idea 4: Insert Shola Ameobi, who couldn't even be bothered to FRAAB. Welp.
To be fair, these are criticisms you make of a side that didn't score, and Newcastle did. Twice. They were called offside (even though they weren't) well after the fact. Twice.
So maybe their ideas weren't that bad.
Regardless, Newcastle now face the difficult task of achieving a result in the Ukraine three days before they're scheduled to play a six-pointer. Holding Metalist to no goals was nice, because now a 1-1 draw or better will be enough. It was also quite comical to see the visitors playing for the draw (unless you count flopping in the box as an offensive tactic), but really that serves to underscore the difficult situation that will present itself in a week's time.
Overall, a disappointing result for many, many reasons. Sure, two goals were scored, but they didn't count. It's hard to make inspiring speeches out of that stuff. At least it didn't happen in the Premier League?