Dec 2nd: Toon...1 ManU...0
A flattering scoreline- to them! We dominated the game and Gordon topped it off with the only goal of the match
Nov 28th: PSG...1 Toon...1
Herculean effort by our walking wounded- Man of the Match? More like Men of the Match, the whole team gave their all, brilliant save from Pope, stout defence, almost keeping the world's best player quiet, and a brilliant goal from Izak. To be one nil up in the 98th minute was brilliant, only to be robbed at the last by a ref's really dodgy decision. The handball rule needs serious revision, as for VAR, what's the point when even a halfwit could see it was no penalty?
Nov 25th: Toon...4 Chelsea...1
Convincing win with the returning Izak getting us up and running, then two quick fire goals early in the second half put the result beyond doubt. They were down and out going down to ten men before conceding a fourth
Nov 11th: Bournemouth...2 Toon...0
It's said that a good team can somehow win, even when not playing well. There's no doubt that we didn't perform well for most of this game, and it was only thanks to Pope that the scoreline against this relegation threatened side wasn't bigger. Injuries certainly can be cited as an excuse, but today it was us that looked the side scared of relegation. Mebbes the toll of Euro football is valid too, but it doesn't appear too likely that this will be a distraction next season
Nov 7th: Dortmund...2 Toon...0
Questions had been asked about team selection last week for the ManU match, though doubters like myself were proved happily wrong. However, the same trick didn't work tonight, opposition was no team in disarray. Too late our supersubs Miggy and Gordon came on, by then the psycho damage had been done, and we now sit bottom of the Euro table. But still hope we can pull through!
Nov 4th: Toon...1 Arsenal...0
An ill-tempered match in which two players deserved to be red carded, one from each side- though neither was. Our winner was so much disputed that it took three separate eternal VAR inquisitions to uphold it. Certainly it looked dubious, but the important thing is that, unlike earlier this season, we more than held our own with the so-called Big Boys
Nov 1st: ManU...0 Toon...3 (League Cip)
All credit to Howe, because I thought his team selection was handing the home team a huge advantage. But he had correctly calculated the shambles that are the Reds at present, though he did strike a bit lucky when he had to bring on Miggy after only two minutes. Miggy took a brilliant goal to silence the home supporters, though the credit must be due to Liv who ran half the pitch before delivering a telling pass to Miggy. Thereafter our fans joyously chanted his name. The second half began with them pressing with much more intent, and the only question was, how well could our second string defend? We needn't have worried, and indeed an inevitable breakaway saw Willock net our third, his first since his long absence through injury. All in all, a surprisingly satisfying evening, the only surprise being that having entrusted so many players who are normally on the bench, Howe brought on our big guns for the final half hour. Still, we kept a clean sheet and took some revenge for that Cup Final defeat last February
Oct 28th: Wolves...2 Toon..2
Not sure if we dropped two points, or won one. Twice we held the lead, firstly through Callum's fine second attempt ar a shot, and then a very doubtful penalty, which Callum thankfully converted. But it was a dubious award, that's why I feel a draw was fair enough. In truth, a few of our team seemed to have the equivalent of jet lag, after apparently playing in too many matches, so thank goodness tonight for those who kept their energy levels high, I specially single out Bruno, Miggy, Wor Sean and Schar
Oct 25th: Toon...0 Dortmund...1
Reality check- was there just a tiny hint of complacency and over-confidence before the match? But after the frenetic opening, with Pope forced into making two good saves, we knew we had a game on. We gave nearly as good as we got, but their goal was seemingly inevitable. Also inevitable, I felt, was the fact that we were never gonna score, even despite hitting the crossbar twice. No, they were the better side, beating us at our own pressing game
Oct 21st: Toon...4 Palace...0
Never thought I'd be writing this: Murphy- Man of the Match!
Oct 8th: West Ham...2 Toon...2
Izak's two goals shot us into the lead after a poorish first half display. Then it was a disappontment to concede a second goal near the death, and we were left reflecting- if only Izak's shot hasn't hit the post, but gone in for his hat trick... Still maybe as Bruno possibly ought to have been off the pitch, a draw was a fair result!
Oct 4th: Toon...4 PSG...1
Be honest- you'd never have predicted this scoreline except in your dreams. The French high flyers were grounded by our team, who gave it their all. At three nil up, we were in heaven! Miggy had opened the scoring, then Wor Dan, after an interminable VAR check, grabbed a second, and Wor Sean made it paradise. However with over half an hour to go, they did pull one back, and the ground was swept with a tension tempered with optimism. As the minutes wore on, it became evident that despite their dominance in possession, they weren't gonna make it. Then as five minutes injury time began, Schar grabbed our fourth and a sense of relief and joy whirled around
Sept 30th: Toon...2 Burnley...0
Expected win, but we worked for it and deserved it. Brilliant goal from Miggy from 30 yards to get us moving!
Sept 27th: Toon...1 Man City...0 (League Cup)
What painful watching was the first half, with us hardly able to get out of our own half. But the same defensive determination shown at Milan, kept us in the match, and arguably we had the best, the only chance of the first half when Murphy broke away and could have scored. The second half was utter contrast, joyful watching as our two subs and a new attacking zest changed the game. Once Izaak had scored, Man City were on the back foot, and though their subs threatened to change their fortunes, we had something to hold on to... and we did! It was a tense wait for that final whistle, but we beat the champs!
Sept 24th: Sheffield Utd...0 Toon...8
Yes, we were expected to win this, but the margin was convincing, even if our opponents wilted. First goal was a beauty, Gordon centering for Wor Sean to poke the ball in. Then a Trippier corner, powerfully headed in by Wor Dan. A Trippier free kick saw another headed goal, from Botman. The rot had now set in, even Whitley Bay could have beaten this lot! Wilson, who spurned one good chance and two other half chances, finally made it count, then followed more goals, almost too many to count. The pick perhaps, was Bruno's fine through pass which Miggy ran on to and put away with aplomb. A confidence booster and no mistake!
Sept 19th: AC Milan...0 Toon...0
Our return to the Chumps League was certainly notthing like the swashbuckling days of Asprilla and Keegan! Howe wisely took a pragmatic approach, just as Rafa might have done, recognising that a point would be a good result, and indeed so it proved. Not pretty, but realistic
Sept 16th: Toon...1 Brentford...0
Thankfully we won, result more important than performance. But not convincing, specially as the away side made all the running in the first quarter. We did match them later and were lucky to receive a soft penalty, which Wilson put firmly into the net. Perhaps it was no more than we deserved, for the same player had bundled the ball into the net a few minutes earlier, only to be harshly penalised. No, this wasn't convincing, a contrast to last season's 5-1 win over this team, but at least it was a confidence booster
Sept 2nd: Brighton...3 Toon...1
This became simply embarrassing. After a promising start, we tailed away so badly, players looking anything but sharp, as though pre-season had exhausted them. Our pressing game has been effective, but we have been found out and have no Plan B. After the Liverpool debacle, I suggested Pope be replaced, and today he looked a liability, but several others, Bruno and Burn in particular looked pedestrian. Oh, how we missed the creative flair of Maxi! Excuses are that we have had a tough group of fixtures to start our campaign, but the obvious point is that if we can't beat the likes of Brighton, Top Four is as far off as it was under the Ash*** era. Our next match at home to Brentford was always a Must Win, but now it becomes an Absolute Must. I think, I hope, we will manage that, though, I'll say it again, Howe has done us proud in the past, but is not proven as a long term winner
Aug 27th: Toon...1 Liverpool...2
Not often you see grown men in tears- but we threw away a sure-fire win. After a combative opening, a red card was bound to come, fortunately it went to their top defender. By this time, we already had the lead, Gordon pouncing on a typical Liverpool defensive error, and slotting the ball away with distinction. With them reduced to ten men, and visibly shocked, we failed to grab half a doxen good chances to increase our lead, Gordon perhaps got too swollen headed and tried a couple of long range shots, which had they gone in, we'd have admired. Miggy skied a couple of chances, Thankfully they looked too dazed, though such profligacy encouraged them and in the end the ten scored twice against our dispirited side. I don't usually comment on players, but I must this time. Gordon looked most threatening and it was poor management to take him off. Pope faffed around a lot and though not to blame for the goals, Dub should be considered for the next match. Botman made a rare blunder for their first goal, and he and Schar had a less than distinguished game. Bruno for once was wasteful, and much as Burn is a nice Geordie, he looked very suspect today. Let's hope this was just a blip
Aug 19th: ManC...1 Toon...0
Always going to be tough, this was a wake-up reminder why, even though we are in the Chumps League, we have a long long way to go before we reach the heights. But on the positive side, we kept them down to a single goal, and did have a couple of chances in the second half - Bruno scuffed a shot, and then Wilson was almost through on goal... but in general this had to be gallant defending against a top team
Aug 12th: Newcastle...5 Villa...1
What a splendid start to the season! Even us Toon fans hardly predicted such a sizeable win! Frenetic opening, with newcomer Tonali scoring in six minutes. Then sudden hush as their new man equalised. But Izak proved his worth firing in our second. Thereafter it was mostly one way traffic, the only surprise was that SJP wasn't as full of wild cheering as it should have been. Maybe it was disbelief at the scoreline?
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