For 84 minutes, the match between Newcastle and Swansea was a shining example of how a match drawing at 0-0 could be every bit as exciting as a high scoring match. From the opening whistle, the attacking impetus would swing from team to team with both sides creating some chances but lacking the finishing touch. Neither side would prove very effective in disrupting the other's plans offensively which made for an open, attractive watch.
Newcastle would survive a couple of scares early, notably in the 9th minute when Rob Elliot's indecisiveness led to a Swansea chance that ended up coming to nothing and also survived a penalty shout for the home side when the ball struck Mathieu Debuchy's arm in the box - for me it always looked like ball to arm and not arm to ball... I wouldn't have been too aggrieved had it not been given on the other end, I don't think. In the face of a rather lengthy spell in the first half that Swansea dominated and looked especially potent, Newcastle's defense did just about enough to keep the scores level at 0 going into the halftime break.
Much like Swansea had a long stretch in the first half where they dominated the attacking play, Newcastle had their own stretch in the second half that would see:
- Papiss Cissé lash over from inside the box when he might have done better to try something less spectacular
- Yohan Cabaye had a tremendous dipping effort from around 25 yards tipped onto the crossbar by Michel Vorm
- Yoan Gouffran put a mildly contested (read: probably should have done better) shot over the crossbar
- Moussa Sissoko thundered a strike from around 25 yards that Vorm again got to (even if on replay it looked like the shot may wither hit the outside of the post or swerve wide)
- Mathieu Debuchy struck wide off of a tremendously spotted and nicely executed cross from Cheik Tiote
Ultimately, Swansea's defense and the quality of Michel Vorm would keep the Welsh side in a position to capitalize when the inevitable happened - former Newcastle winger Wayne Routledge controlled the ball and was able to shake Mathieu Debuchy to get a cross into the box. Somehow (because it's 2012-13, I guess) our defense lost all shape as the ball found Luke Moore in the box. Steven Taylor dove across to try to block the shot that Moore didn't take, Yohan Cabaye tried to block the shot that Moore did take, which deflected off of him and left Rob Elliot doing his best turtle-on-his-back impression as he was helpless to get to the ball. This was in the 85th minute, and Newcastle never really threatened to pull the point back after that point.
It's a very, very frustrating way to lose a match, although you can't say Swansea were undeserving winners. When our defense finally went shambolic as it is wont to do, they were able to capitalize. As frustrating as the end result is, it's hard to be nihilistic about it as we looked sooooo soooo good for such long stretches of the match. It's not that the chances weren't there today. We had ideas on the attacking end and most of the answers on the defensive end. Swansea did make it difficult on us in the final third, Michel Vorm is quite good at what he does (recall there were some who were shouting for him to be the replacement for Maarten Stekelenburg for the Dutch National Team when Tim Krul got the gloves) and we just weren't able to finish chances on the day. You never like to lose matches, especially when you're in the bottom half of the table, but we did acquit ourselves rather well today.