Newcastle Match Report

This was the most entertaining match since our victory over Liverpool in late January. In fact, perhaps the first half was our best half of the entire season. We were literally on fire from the outset. Perhaps the visiting Paolo di Canio had gone into the dressing room and given a pre match motivational team talk? Newcastle were not at the races and until they scored they had not had a shot. Indeed, they only had one shot in the second half.

Let’s start with the midfield. Faubert and Ljungberg ran Newcastle ragged down the wings for the first twenty minutes. What a shame Freddie was stretchered off with a cracked rib (and may miss the Euros) mid way through the first half to be replaced the Boa Morte. Scott Parker was absolutely immense, especially in the first half, while Mark Noble took his goal brilliantly and combined superbly with Parker both defensively and in attack. But special pride of place goes to Julien Faubert, who showed some amazing bursts of pace and put in some excellent crosses. He really showed that he will be immense for us next season, and if Parker hadn’t been so brilliant, he would have been my man of the match. Parker is now on England form.

Defensively, James Tomkins looked superb, apart from being to blame for the first goal. His heading was spot on and he was tough in his tackled. He’s also a danger at corners in the opponents’ box. He did make a mistake for the goal, but he’ll learn from it. Lucas Neill had a few hairy moments in the second half. George McCartney was brilliant (again) bombing down the left and put in a real attacking performance. And John Pantsil had his best game for us so far. He really can be a joy to watch with his hugely enthusiastic attitude.

Up front Dean Ashton was busy all over the place and a constant threat. His goal was a classic striker’s goal, where he made something out of very little. Bobby Zamora was at his most frustrating. He tried and tried but absolutely nothing he tried came off. Carlton Cole looked far better when he came on and should retain his place for the Man U game, although I suspect we will play 4-5-1 at Old Trafford.

Uriah Rennie certainly had a game of two halves. He had a good first half but his decisions in the second half defied logic. It shows how times change when instead of “The referee’s a bastard” we heard constant chants of “You’re not fit to be a referee”. How quaint.

And finally, why oh why was their no pre match announcement that Paolo di Canio was “in da Stafium”? The crowd sooned spotted him and we all went wild, revisiting old memories with sporadic and very loud chants of the Paolo di Canio Rigoletto chant. He’s still a hero to many of us and the best player I have ever seen in a West Ham shirt. And the scores on the doors…

Green 8
McCartney 8
Neill 6
Tomkins 7
Pantsil 8
Noble 8
Parker 9
Ljungberg 8 (Boa Morte 5)
Faubert 9
Ashton 8
Zamora 6 (Cole 7)

PS And for once I predicted the score correctly!

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21 Responses to Newcastle Match Report

  1. devo says:

    and paulo de canio 10

  2. claire says:

    Watch for Ashton’s goal on MOTD tonight. It’s a stormer.
    And to be able to sing the Paolo di Canio song again to the man himself – (he was in a box at the Bobby Moore end of the Doc Martens stand) was a most wonderful and emotional exoerience.

  3. pjd says:

    yeah plenty of good things today.i agree faubert was great,parker and noble look good as a pairing.tomkins is gonna be a great player i think.cant wait to see a fit bellamy to partner ashton cos zamora and cole are just not premiership players.one thing pissed me off was curbishleys post match interview “they got their attacking football today”.they being us the fans.personaly i think as the club as a we not a them or us.as for urine rennie ,what a self important arrogant twat,and a piss poor ref as well.as for big treats welcome home PAOLO DI CANIO…………

  4. DaDon says:

    Thoroughly entertaining (if ultimately frustrating) game. We dominated, really, but the fatal flaws at the back struck again. I would agree that first half hour was the best we’ve played all season – and yet there was only one difference in the team from last week. Maybe booing does work…

    One thing to add about Rennie – he missed a stonewall penalty when Owen handled and he was standing less than five yards away with an unimpeded view. Utterly incompetent.

  5. jon.london colney says:

    i can see curbs quiting soon.he dont seem up for it anymore and the first sign of an easy way out i bet he takes it.pards will be gone soon so watch and see …

    dam i missed sir di canio today,im guuted but hope they show something on the tele.

    ant wait for next season,if curbs is right were gona havea blinda!!!

    yer right.

  6. Dave says:

    Jon,when you say pards will be gone soon so wait and see…if you mean that if curbs quits pards will be back,then you must be joking,i for one dont want him back,we must go forward not back

  7. jon.london colney says:

    dave i mean if pards goes then curbs has an easy way out.charlton will come knocking !!!

    just watched the game,we were so much better this week.zd man was superb but unlucky and ashton well what a player he will be next season if fit.

  8. TrevorH says:

    It was a good game and probably a fair result at the end of the season when there isn’t much to play for. The only disappointment was that Uriah Rennie is still refereeing. He really is very poor and this is one ref that we never seem to get anything from. Ipswich at home in the play offs, Charlton away in the relegation season are just two that bring back bad memories of poor refereeing. It is supposed to even out but it doesn’t with Rennie.

    For all said and done, this has been a good season and Curbishley deserves some credit. He is poor with the media which doesn’t help, but until we lost 12-0 in a week, our defence has been the best that I have seen it for years. He does play a more attacking game when he has players fit so do give him some credit. If Bellamy and Ashton had been fit for most of the season, we probably would have been a bit higher in the league.

    Lets have a clear out – Daily, Gabbidon, Davenport, LBM, Cole or Zamora, Mullins, Bowyer – and hope that we can bring quality players in next season. If we finish 8th next year, that we be further improvement and from there we can have a go at the top 6.

  9. Hammer says:

    Was a good day. Good entertaining first half, we looked like the team we should be,fast and decisive, with good passing and movement. Both our goals were top class and as pjd says, a Bellamy, Ashton front partnership will be awesome, esspecially with Faubert feeding them. I did feel for young Tomkins but he will learn that you cannot commit yourself like that at this level. It is good to be able to give him games like this against top class strikers where his mistakes are not going to crush his confidance. All in all a good day out. Lets hope it’s a preview of the entertainment we can expect next season. Good prediction Iain, my money was on 1-1 but i was not complaining when Ashton scored a great goal out of nothing. COYI. Paolo, Paolo. Happy days.

  10. OzzytheIron says:

    McCartney was putting in some great crosses in the 1st.

    Who’s Hammer of the Year?

    gotta be Green or Noble for me!

  11. Mac says:

    Jon, Curbs would never go back to Charlton. He’s been there and done that. What on earth would he have to achieve?

    Let’s judge Curbs next season when he has everyone fit. Why does everyone have this obsession with getting rid of him? Curbs deserves a break quite frankly. We would have all jumped at tenth place this time last season, but as fans we are never, ever satisfied, so we get on his back.

    Even if we won the premiership, we’d still have half-wits on here complaining we didn’t win it with style.

    Let’s all be realistic, manage our expectations and give the man some deserved time to get it right.

  12. richo says:

    Like ‘Hammer’ stated, hopefully this was a preview of next season. First half was best all season, even though we only got 1 point it goes to show how some entertaining football and a clear commitment from the team brings satisfaction. Now we need to show some character and back this performance up at Old Trafford (wouldn’t it be great to dent their title hopes), and against the villians to finish up.

    Curbishley has annoyed me with nearly every post match interview and it continued this week when he described the fans as “them” Curbs needs to get in touch with the fans and it’s not a good way to win us over. Sure he has acheived safety this season and deserves another crack but that’s about all he has acheived. I for one wanna see consistent entertaining football next season (and if we play poorly admit it, stop dragging out the same tired old ramblings about injuries etc), an improved league position, hopefully a trophy and European qualification. We have to start looking up and setting high standards thats the only way we can move forward.

  13. NunheadHammer says:

    There was a much better atmosphere at the game tonight, and you are spot on with your report Iain, thanks. I think Zamora should have got a 4 – he did nothing right – and LBM was poor -he has no positional sense and runs around chasing shadows a lot of the time. Georgie McCartney was fantastic, so was Scotty Parker. We were unlucky not to have won the match …

  14. DevoDevo says:

    Agree with most of your summary, Iain, although I think Zamora linked up very well with Deano. Deano really should have scored the winner when set up by CC.

    Parker would have been Hammer of the year IMHO had he been fit all season. I don’t think I’ve seen him have a bad game yet?

    Certainly we played more like West Ham should play and perhaps, if we get Dyer, Bellamy and Faubert properly fit next season we might be able to challenge for top 8.

    Despite the first goal, Tomka looked a brilliant prospect once again, ivershadowing the overated skipper.

    All in all, 3 points next week at manure should be the icing on the cake.

  15. DevoDevo says:

    Oh and who is this “Devo” imposter? I’ve not seem them post before! 😉

    Forgot to add that I too was disgusted with Curbishley’s “them” rant. The guy really is a charmless character, who I still want to see replaced for next season with Bilic, hopefully.

  16. DaDon says:

    NunheadHammer – are you sure?! Whilst Zedman wasn’t exactly electric, to say he did ‘nothing right’ is arrant nonsense. He had a hand in both goals and was lively throughout the first half. He ran out of steam in the second, as usual, but some balanced (ie accurate) criticism please.

  17. ironsmith says:

    It was so encouraging to get a glimpse of what may be in store next season!I have seen enough of Faubert now to know that Curbs has bought one of the best right wingers in the game and as well as his electrifying runs watch out for the sublime pass in to the strikers feet inside the area. They could not cope with him and freddie at all and Parker again was brilliant. I have no inclination to dwell on negatives but I was totally perplexed by the substitution for freddie when Solano could have come on and continued the wonderful work done by the injured freddie but no it had to be Jonah Morte. Never mind well done curbs anyway- much more like it!

  18. chris says:

    some news papers gave faubert 5 or 6 out of ten this morning,are they mad! did they see his delivery!!! If beckham had curled them this good it would have been all over papers 9 out 10.If dyer ever returns,faubert at right back and dyer right midfield would be deverstating.

  19. ourmanwhere says:

    “we were literally on fire”

    Wow. Really?

  20. Hammers & Zvezda says:

    Nice first 40 minutes…shame about the rest! I hear Martin Jol is sniffing around Upton Park – God help us! We should really go hard for Slaven Bilic after Croatia win Euro 2008, he has turned good players into a great TEAM to watch!

  21. bubbleicious says:

    agree with Mac; alan curbishley certainly doesnt deserve the opprobrium heaped upon him this season. Admittedly he can be his own worst enemy in terms of not saying what fans want to hear but i think his inability to bullshit is a bonus; its very easy to talk the talk (Warnock, Allardyce anyone?). I’m pleased to see a chap with integrity in charge at West Ham, and I am laying money on top six next season, when hopefully his creative players return. And a little side bet on Ashton being in the England squad very soon.

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