Manager: Rafa Benitez ("Benny T'Wizz")
Feb 25th: Toon 2 Bristol City 2
All the gossip before the match that Rooney might just possibly sign for us next season turned our heads. We're not in the Premiership yet, as Bristol reminded us. By half time, Wor Dummy had lived up to his name with an absurd back pass, leaving us two in arrears. In a spirited second half, that well known Og was our man of the match. Both our goals seemed to me to come from their players! At least we salvaged a point, but relinquished our hold on top spot, now inherited by the team we play next
Feb 20th: Toon 2 Villa 0
Though this was a less impressive performance than that against Norwich, we took the three points with some ease. A Goofy goal in the first half, and in the second after a lot of pressure, a corner led to a tap in that was credited as an o.g. At times we toyed with them arrogantly passing, but never utterly convincing in attack. On a sobering conclusion, let us be thankful that though we were relegated last season along with Villa, we are in a lot healthier position than they who might even be facing an unlikely drop out of the Championship, if they play like they did tonight. No, let's be very grateful to the changes Benny T'Wizz has worked- and hope for more
Feb 14th: Norwich 2 Toon 2
From the kick off our slick passing lead to the perfect start, a goal from Perez within the first half minute! But our right hand side looked vulnerable, with the normally excellent Ritchie and Yedlin outthought by their left sided players. After what I thought was a clear push, they centred, and equalised. Let's pass over how they went ahead. We can all make the odd mistake. Our Number 26, Darlow, turned into a tragi-comic figure with his attempt at a clearance, thereafter the home fans taunted him mercilessly. Just before half time we had the ball in the net, but apparently it was disallowed. I thought we were much stronger in the second half, with the introduction of Diame, in a much deeper role than heretofore.The pressure was beginning to tell. Ritchie hit the crossbar, and my goal line technology- my eyes actually- was certain he had scored. But it was only what we deserved when The Captain (picture) headed the ball in, and if anyone were to get the winner in the dying minutes, it looked certain to be us. We nearly did
Feb 11th: Wolves 0 Toon 1
Wor Jack, whom some say is becoming a Liability, nearly got us off to the perfect start, but their goalie snuffed his shot out. Twenty minutes in and this same player gave away a needless free kick, from which they ought to have scored. Minutes later, Mitro proved he really is A Liability when he should have been red carded. This was a match of containment and patience, rewarded just before half time when a Shelvey free kick fell to Our Liability who poked it in- and there was I urging Rafa to take him off! But he was subbed at the interval, leaving Goofy, who was after all signed as a forward, to lead the line, only making one air shot. Anyway it was mostly defending we needed, relying on quick breaks, creating some half chances: on one Diame shot when he'd have done much better to cross. Last ditch defending at the end, excellently done, for they never had a serious shot on target
Feb 4th: Toon 1 Derby 0
The football gods were with us as we scraped a most welcome victory. This was something like the last match only with the halves reversed. In the first we were fairly strong, Ritchie put us ahead, albeit by a fortuitous deflection, and we squandered other opportunities. The second half saw the team and crowd nervous, fearful of their scoring, praying for the final whistle. Thankfully it never came- their equaliser that is, not the whistle
Feb 1st: Toon 2 QPR 2
After our cup misery, and a barren transfer window, instant cheer in the very first minute with a Shelvey piledriver. Then it was more like the Toon we all know, for they did not lie down as they had earlier in the season when we trounced them. For the rest of the half, it was they who had the shots on target. It was hardly a shock when they equalised with half time looming. Frankly we were second best, so it was all the more pleasing when Ritchie showed his class and restored our undeserved lead. But we were on top now, and Goofy then Perez (twice) really ought to have made the match safe. Certainly our play was improved but old boy Lualua centred and we panicked... Own goal! Was this the curse of Sky Live coverage yet again? But no excuses- momentum is a huge asset in football, and we lost all ours by fielding a weak team in the cup and losing badly. Benny T'wizz take note- for sure promotion is our only goal this season, but which sides have the momentum at the moment? Leeds and Reading, certainly not us!
Jan 28th: Oxford 3 Toon 0 (FA Cup)
If the humiliating scoreline weren't bad enough- yet another cup failure- even worse has been the rumour that the dreaded Ash*** has started poking his fourpennyworth into club business yet again, so what is happening to Benny Twizz's control of our Klub? Surely it cannot possibly be back to the bad old days? Oh, as for the match, the key moment was Mitro winning a penalty then failing to convert. After that Oxford took heart and even got a second and third. What miserable unimportance attached to the cup. Unhappy days!
Jan 21st: Toon 4 Rotherham 0
Against the side rock bottom, this should always have been a walkover, but for much of the first half it was not so. We were fortunate to go ahead in injury time before the break, and once in the lead, we never looked like relinquishing it. So in the end comfortable, hardly the test that, say, an away match versus Chelsea next season will be. We've a long way to go before then! Next up would have been our top of the league clash away to Hughton's Brighton, but fourth round FA cup commitments have postponed what is likely to be a decisive encounter
Jan 18th: Toon 3 Birmingham 1 (FA Cup)
Despite a partly second string side, we progress to the fourth round for the first time in living memory- well perhaps not that long ago since we won in the FA Cup, but since nobody seems to rate it in comparison with the league, it's good to recall our last FA Cup final triumph sixty two years back. Now that really is only just in living memory, I was nobbut a lad and I can remember listening to our replay win over lowly York on the radio. Then it seemed to mean something, the FA Cup...
Jan 14th: Brentford 1 Toon 2
A big thanks to Sky- they cancelled their Live Coverage which has been a curse (see end of Jan 2nd report). As a result the omens were with us, and we took a deserved lead through the ubiquitous Gayle. But then a string of injuries disrupted our flow after all. Gayle himself had to be subbed, and we looked second best after this. Deja vu from the Birmingham match- they scored and we hung on. But this time there actually was a fairytale ending, with a late winner snatched to be honest, against the run of play. But with those around us losing, we are, pro tem, back on top of the Championship!
Jan 7th: Birmingham 1 Toon 1 (FA Cup)
The afternoon started brightly when forgotten man Murphy scored after only five minutes. From then on we showed skill but not for the first time conceded to a sucker punch. Half time 1-1. Same at full time. Replay which wasn't wanted really. Don't forget ten years ago we had a home replay against this same lot and crashed out miserably 1-5
Jan 2nd 2017: Blackburn 1 Toon 0
After a cagey start Diame shot from 30 yards and hit the crossbar, so close! Minutes later Gayle fired from a tight angle, our first shot on target- saved! Now we dominated, but last ditch defending kept us out. Darlow might well have gone off for an early cuppa before half time, but somehow we couldn't make the breakthrough. Goofy hit our first shot in the second period- just wide. A free kick and at last we scored! No, the goal has been disallowed, a dubious offside decision there. Another free kick- goal! But again chalked off, this time for handball, perhaps justifiable. Clark's shot got tipped over the bar. The home team were gaining confidence from our ill fortune, plus the dubious refereeing, and it was almost inevitable that from their free kick they scored, their only shot on target in the match. Fans incredulous. I reckon it is the curse of live Sky coverage. A result our play did not deserve
Dec 30th: Toon 3 Forest 1
Let's not pretend this was a glorious win, but it was very satisfying poetic justice against the team who beat us at the start of this month when the absurd ref dwindled our team down to nine good men and true. Tonight it was Forest's turn to see red, when their captain was foolishly and needlessly sent off for two bookables, the second for dissent. It turned the match, for though we had taken an early lead, we failed to capitalise and allowed them back into parity. It was pretty stodgy, until the sending off, after which Gayle took full advantage restoring our lead with a fine shot. He made victory a certainty when he was lying semi injured in their box. A cross hurtled in, like Lazarus of old he rose to his feet, and chested the ball down and followed it into the net
Dec 26th: Toon 0 Owls 1
Christmas cheer was absent at SJP in a match that sometimes had more the cut and thrust of a cup tie. While Toon played well, forcing one fine save and several others from their goalie, we were outthought and outplayed and it was only Darlow with two worldies that kept us level. However even he couldn't resist their pressure and we conceded early in the second half. Pleased to say this spurred us to greater pressure and we looked almost certain to equalise, though we never did
Dec 17th: Burton 1 Toon 2
Billed as David v Goliath, thankfully in our version it was Goliath who emerged the victor. In a ground with seating the size of a small pea, it was great to hear Benny's name "Rafa" being shouted round the crowd- well round our supporters anyway. We took the lead thanks to a great Ritchie cross, on to which Gayle latched, scoring his latest. Then the spirit of Christmas took us over, we kindly gifted them an equaliser. However Diame gave us the lead again, and thenceforth we were more Scrooge like. True, after this the game had chances both ends, but David doesn't always beat Goliath.
Remember back to last Christmas and our plight under the Brolleyman, and how things have changed- for the better, even if we are in the Championship. I wonder where we'll be Christmas 2017?
Dec 14th: Wigan 0 Toon 2
After early possession, it was a quick break that saw Diame fire in our first shot on target. More even for a while, we gradually asserted ourselves and half way thru the first half it was Diame again, with a fine run from the half way line that netted us a deserved lead. Half time was looming when Shelvey broke thru and all but scored. More even was the second half, with the home team threatening, but our skill and mebbes their lack of it, plus some good fortune, kept them out. Then Goofy won the ball and crossed and sub Atsu fired in our second. Comfortable?- why aye man
Dec 10th Toon 4 Birmingham 0
Dinosaur Monty was very pleased that he, for once, correctly predicted this 4 nil scoreline, but even more pleased by our returning to winning ways. It was an impressive victory with Gayle's contribution of a hat trick, one header, and one with each of his feet. Thus we are restored to top of the table!
Dec 2nd Forest 2 Toon 1
9: After dominating the opening, it's Darlow who has to make the first save, non-textbook style
10: Ritchie has Toon's first shot, but it's off target.
26: after continued dominance without any cutting edge, Goofy shoots, but just wide.
29: Yedlin crosses, Gayle heads- corner.
30: A short corner. An obvious penalty on Hayden not given.
31: Shelvey, who has controlled the game is a hot head, and deservedly red carded.
33: The resulting penalty, against the run of play, is thankfully saved!
36: Toon free kick, Ritchie heads it into the net, but a dubious foul is awarded by the poor ref.
38 Handball, penalty for Toon! But it is not given. The ref is clearly no fan of Toon.
44; Despte being down to ten men, we continue to impress, and Ritchie's stinging shot puts us one up.
46: At Hull they equalised immediately: and they nearly did here also. Wor Dummy is red carded for the slightest of contacts. A soft penalty, unlike the first. Gimme the ref's numberplate. Darlow saves us again.
48: Stroke of half time, deja vu, but Darlow saves, and the rebound.
Second half- Toon down to Nine.
51: Inevitably, thanks to the ref, Forest pressure pays off: 1 all. Someone says his numberplate is BF1BUM. He really has had a horrendous game: nine against twelve is very tough!
65: Thanks to their uselessness, we are still in it, and Gayle fires our first shot of the half, on target.
73: Headed off our line. The inevitable seems inevitable despite our praiseworthy resistance.
77: A rare attack, Hayden shoots wide.
85: Painful. After a telling corner we capitulate. Blame BUM.
Toon gave a good performance, but sadly this match was dominated by the antics of a certain BUM
League Cup: Nov 29th Hull 1 Toon 1 (we lost on penalties)
"Grandad, what is silverware?" I paused and replied sadly as Goofy gave an imitation of his namesake in the final shot of our penalty shootout, "it's sommat I vaguely recall when I was nobbut a bairn like you." "Well," persisted my grandson, "what colour is it?" "Oh, I answered wracking my memory, I'll show yer next time we see the Toon Trophy room." "Ah," came back the wise reply, "is it that cup all smothered with dust?"
Tonight we were the stronger side, but even against ten men for extra time, we couldn't hold on to our deserved lead. A minute after getting what everyone believed was our passport to the semis, we had conceded. As for that shootout, it doesn't take even a Brolleyman to realise we must practise our penaltytaking. The main concern must be that have we expended so much energy, so will we be fit enough for our league game in 72 hours?
Nov 26th Toon 0 Blackburn 1
I think Benny T'Wizz did right to ring the changes, even though it failed to pay off. In some ways we can be almost glad that Kev's team's record of nine straight wins was not surpassed, since complacency could have drifted in- we have not yet arrived, though we're getting there!
Nov 20th Leeds 0 Toon 2
We were quickly out of the starting blocks, forcing three corners within the first ten minutes. Crisp sharp passing was tying the home team in knots, and a goal seemed an inevitable and just reward. However it came not from our flashy play but from a long speculative shot on target from 40 yards by Wor Jack. Their goalie fumbled and Gayle gleefully struck it in. But thereafter Leeds showed what an improved side they are. Two important saves by Darlow on the half hour were a prelude to a succession of Leeds corners, but we survived a succession of penalty shouts and half chances to go in at the interval with our lead intact. The second half began where the first left off, with Leeds pressing and it was down to Darlow with a fingertip save that ensured we kept our lead. Then a series of slick passes tore Leeds apart and Gayle pushed the ball home for his and our second. This was at least the third successive game where we were two nil up, the last two saw us concede resulting in a nervy conclusion. So it was pleasing that today we kept a clean sheet and we forge into a healthy five point lead at the top of the table
Nov 5th Toon 2 Cardiff 1
No fireworks today, but a stroll in the park with two good goals, then, same as last week, they got one back and it was a slightly nervous finish. But nothing serious, and we bagged another three points on our way up to the Premiership
Oct 29th Preston 1 Toon 2
Preston again, but away this time. Same result, just about. But Mitro ought to have been awarded a penalty, the ref seemed pretty hard hearted, but eventually our number 45 scored another two goals to bag four in a week against Preston. From then on it was easy. Until the last minutes when they scored and suddenly it was a siege. They hit the woodwork in the eighth, yes eighth, minute of added on time, but we held firm to retain our top of the league spot
Oct 25th Toon 6 Preston 0 (League Cup)
A dazzling six of the best, and though Preston were down to ten men for three quarters of the match, this was still an exciting performance! Mitro and Diame both scored a brace, proving we have, at least at this level, goalscorers a-plenty. Our main concern should be not to get over complacent, with a return match this Saturday against the same team, this time with a full team. But let's not take anything away from this comprehensive victory
Oct 22nd Toon 3 Ipswich 0
A lightning goal in the first minute from forgotten man Perez set the mood. Though we took until later in the second half to double our lead when Ritchie crossed to Perez and Goal! Minutes later, Perez to Ritchie and a third goal. With second placed Norwich losing, we consolidate our position at the top- hurrah!
Oct 18th Barnsley 0 Toon 2
After a mediocre first half, the second commenced with a cheer as anther set piece saw a goalmouth scramble, the ball finally being put in by the reliable Gayle. Soon after the same player made a great break and nicely lobbed their keeper. A comfortable victory in the end, and an even greater reward, for now we stand proudly in top spot in the Championship!
Oct 15th Toon 3 Brentford 1
I had this down for a four nil home victory, and I was nearly right- certainly our first half display was convincing enough to net us the win. Biggest shock this week was why anyone would want to employ our last failed manager, Brolleyman, let alone a side who had already sacked him once. Let's hope those bad old days at Toon never return- just imagine us ever ever contemplating having Brolleyman back in charge!
Oct 1st Rotherham 0 Toon 1
This is the sort of away fixture that offers scant incentive, but in which we need to do well. If it's any consolation, we did enough, even though the performance was mundane.
Sept 28th Toon 4 Norwich 3
This top of the table clash provided thrills a plenty, even if we were outplayed in the early stages. When we went 1-3 down it looked liked curtains, even though we did soon pull one goal back. So all too quickly we were sadly into added on time, and our supreme determination to fight until the very end produced an extraordinary turn round. With only a couple of minutes left, most Toon fans were overjoyed when we equalised. By the end this jubilation had turned to a frenzy as Gayle completed his hat trick netting us the winner, an amazzzing climaxxx!
Sept 24th Villa 1 Toon 1
First of two consecutive matches against clubs relegated with us last season. This ought to have been won at a canter, for we were in total control for the first two thirds. Of all the excellent players, perhaps Yedlin was the most impressive, and it was his cross that was deflected in for our goal. It ought to have been 2-0 and would have if Bale had been on our team, instead Gayle, one on one with the goalie shot straight at him. Then Shola Redivivus (see Sept 10th) contrived to miss a sitter, and we certainly paid for such profligacy. They had a goal which was disallowed for a fractonal offside, much to our relief, but it was clear the writing was on the wall. The post was hit, then a muddle of a corner and their goal. We were hanging on, but generally, apart from our goalie, defended well enough to grab a point, thought how did we ever let them back into the game?
Sept 20th Toon 2 Wolves 0
Deja vu, this time in the League Cup. Deja vu with the score in reverse. Some kind of revenge, Ritchie taking a well deserved solo goal, then another Goufy piledriver. All in all we could have got more, if we'd tried, but Darlow in goal impressed giving Benny T'wizz a nice dilemma over the number 1 shirt.
Sept 17th Toon 0 Wolves 2
The first of two meetings between these two teams inside a week at SJP. This one was typical Toon- after all that praise heaped on them last time down South, we come up north where it must be grim for us to play so abjectly differently, down to ten men. Let's hope 'tis only a blip, laddie
Sept 13th QPR 0 Toon 6
It's grim down South, at least it was in London as QPR were hit for six by Toon, as the dream that has sustained Toon fans thru the summer finally became reality. We'll not get carried away, we are still in the Championship after all, but the feelgood factor is here and for the first time since the Kev or may be the Wor Bobby era, there is real optimism in Toon
Sept 10th Derby 0 Toon 2
Best performance of the season, if one was to nit pick it would be that we again scored only from set pieces, but what goals they were. Both from corners, Goufy thundered in what in the old days we called an exocet. The second in injury time caught them napping- expecting a short time waster, the Rams were fooled by Shelvey's pass to the back post, where their marking was sheepishly poor. If I can add two further comments... firstly I have maligned Anita in the past, but full marks for his 100% commitment. Secondly, it may be worrying or not, but Diame looks more and more like our old lolloping friend Shola...
Aug 27th Toon 2 Brighton 0
Toon started much the stronger and we took the lead through a fine free kick which C'pn Lascelles headed powerfully into the net. Goufy, surprisingly not on the bus out of Toon, surprised us all with a strong performance, capped with a long distance shot that bounced off the crossbar. After that Brighton began to exert pressure of their own and hit the bar themselves. But a brilliant free kick by Shelvey calmed all nerves and the rest of the game was spent in festive mood, our slightly shaky goalie making one fine save to give us a clean sheet and a deserved three points
Aug 23rd: League Cup Toon 2 Cheltenham 0
Though worrying was the spate of injuries, two Perez goals saw us through
Aug 20th: Bristol City 0 Toon 1
Thank goodness- our first away win of 2016- it's been a long time coming! Though this was a dour performance, it's the result that matters, and the difference on the pitch was our number 9 Gayle, who as well as putting in the winning goal, also hit the post
Aug 17th: Toon 4 Reading 1
Emphatic scoreline, huge relief as we secured our first win of the season. It wasn't as easy as it reads on paper. When we went in at half time, having conceded a late penalty, anxiety brooded over SJP. Even when we went ahead with our own penalty on 50 minutes, Reading were the better side. However a brilliant Gayle free kick calmed all nerves and the same newcomer capped off a joyful evening with one further goal. Toon are on their way!
Aug 13th: Toon 1 Huddersfield 2
The crowd was splendid, the weather sunny, but Toon failed to get going in the first half, and it was hardly a shock when we fell behind. However the mood changed on the hour, once Gayle had put us level, after heading in from a penalty save. It was looking so promising, Toon having all the pressure, Ritchie the best of the bunch, but they hit us on the break, and our disastrous start to the season continues. Not quite what we were expecting, or the pundits predicting
Aug 5th: Fulham 1 Toon 0
It's early days, but the high at the end of last season on Relegation Day, transferred to a more realistic realisation that teams are going to raise their games against us, the favourites for promotion. Not that we looked such tonight. If Only the ref had awarded that penalty for an obvious handball before they scored. If Only our slack defender hadn't allowed the ball to run out for a corner, and instead vigorously chased it away for a throw in. If Only from that corner our new captain had been a bit more vigilant. If Only we had had a man on the post to stop that chot. If Only new boy Ritchie could have put away an easy chance in the second half. If Only the ref had spotted a second obvious penalty that we should have been awarded. Yet the truth is that until they scored, we looked lethargic, as though this were still pre-season. Old boys looked rusty, Ayoze fumbled when he could have shot, even Wor Jack wasn't in it, and was rightly subbed. Anita is amazingly still at the Klub, obviously Benny Twizz likes him. Of the new boys, Gayle was marked out of the match and was utterly ineffective, Hanley looked solid, plodding even, and goalie Sels though making one good save, seemed too fumbling. All in all, not a happy start, so our target of 138 points this season is now beyond us! Can we make over 100 like last time?
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