I know Baz will produce his match report later, but I wanted to add some thoughts.
I was up in Coventry this weekend bringing my son back to Uni after the Christmas break. He treated me to the game for a change! I have to say I wasn’t looking forward to it after the previous few performances, 1st half v Brentford aside, and was expecting a tonking.
This was my first game of the season, other than watching on TV, so was interested how we would do. There is talk of pressure on Zola, poor defending, failure to score goals and all round just being a rubbish time.
I chatted with some Newcastle fans on the way to the ground, and they were pretty confident of an easy win. I’m afraid I couldn’t disagree. It was also great to catch up with Aylesbury Blue (Mike) before the start, and for a pint afterwards. Tried to see Baz too, but he was too busy in hospitality to mix with the plebs!
Obviously going 1-0 down inside 5 minutes, those fears were seemed to be realised. However, the serious injury to Mitrovic meant there was a long delay before the restart, that probably played into our hands. We all wish Mitrovic a speedy recovery. According to one Newcastle fan, the fear is he has broken his leg. I haven’t seen that confirmed yet though. *Edit – badly cut knee, but thankfully not a break.
After that, other than the missed open goal, Newcastle never really threatened. We gave a good account of ourselves and certainly had the better chances. Shotton and Davies were excellent and Fabbrini looked terrific, but as Mike said – he did get a lot of space. I was also pleased with Cogley who gave a good account of himself too. Jutkiewicz could, and should, have won it late on as well.
For me lots of positives, passing was good and we did create opportunities however we need that killer ball more often. I Have to say though, our set pieces are woeful. Zola needs to fix that. We also gave the ball away too often when not under pressure. However I was happy on the whole, and actually enjoyed the game.
It was sad to see St Andrews so empty though, and especially the whole of the main stand shut. Why couldn’t the club hand out free children tickets to city primary schools with adults paying to accompany them. I’m sure a couple of those initiatives, will not only get the atmosphere going again but also encourage people back.
Anyway enough of me, I’ll stop there and Baz can give a match report.