Bordeaux 2 Toon 0
As we had already qualified for the last 32 of this competition, I don't suppose there has been a game in recent years that didn't really matter ... unless you were ... BORDEAUX 2 NEWCASTLE 0
BORDEAUX: 30. Kevin Olimpa 21. Matthieu Chalme 27. Marc Planus 23. Florian Marange 29. Maxime Poundje 8. Fahid Ben Khalfallah 17. Andre Poko 26. Gregory Sertic 20. Henri Saivet 11. David Bellion 14. Cheick Diabate 88' Subs: 1. Abdoulaye Keita 6. Ludovic Sane 7. Landry N'Guemo 12. Hadi Sacko 88' 19. Nicolas Maurice-Belay
NEWCASTLE: 21. Rob Elliot 34. James Tavernier 6. Mike Williamson 74' 14. James Perch 31. Shane Ferguson 39. Mehdi Abeid 20. Gael Bigirimana 30. Nile Ranger 22. Sylvain Marveaux 28. Sammy Ameobi 46' 23. Shola Ameobi 80' Subs: 1. Tim Krul 2. Fabricio Coloccini 74' 5. Danny Simpson 8. Vurnon Anita 46' 9. Papiss Cisse 80' 17. Romain Amalfitano 49. Adam Campbell
... one of the 1200 Toon fans who made the journey to France.
And after the snow, travel cancellations, and distance travelled - we expected something to lift the spirits.
We travelled via Geneva - simply because it was a less expence than flying to France (once the travel companies realised they could exploit the Newcastle United fans and hike up the prices).
The flight from Scotland was OK, but getting out of Switzerland was a lot more difficult, and we suffered a long delay. But we managed to get to Bordeaux, when there was a period when we thought we would be watching the match on Swiss TV.
It was a good trip - apart from the score (and performance) - and a lot of fun. We drank in Victorie Square most of the day, with the Connemara Irish bar the pick of the bunch.
Toon fans sang: "Don't take me home please, don't take me home, I just don't wanna go to work.
"I wanna stay here and drink all ya beer, please don't take me home."
The team was probably as we expected. A bunch of kids mixed in with the odd experienced pro, and - regardless what Alan Pardew said - it was NOT a "team performance", just a set of individuals thrown together.
We haven't had a midfield leader since the season began, so we didn't expect anyone here to take the game by the scruff of the neck and dictate the play.
It wasn't going to happen.
Cheick Diabate scored the two goals that made sure Bordeaux finished top of Group D, and we can have no complaints, because I don't think we had more than one decent shot at goal all evening. The Mali international striker headed home Fahid Ben Khalfallah's 29th-minute cross to leave James Perch stranded, and then slid a 72nd-minute shot through keeper Rob Elliot's legs to condemn Pardew's Magpies to a first European defeat of the season.
It was little more than the French side deserved as despite manager Francis Gillot making the same number of changes as Pardew, they enjoyed the better of the game apart from a brief flurry at the start of the second half.
But for Elliot, who made important first-half saves from Henri Saivet, Ben Khalfallah - who passed up a glorious opportunity at the death - and former Mackem strike David Bellion, they could have won even more handsomely in front of a crowd of 19,983 at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.
Newcastle needed a victory to snatch top spot back from Bordeaux, but they rarely looked like securing it as few of the youngsters handed a chance to shine managed to do so.
With the two sides having already qualified for the knockout stages and both managers admitting they were not sure how much an advantage finishing top of the group would be, it was no surprise when they made wholesale changes.
Only Mike Williamson and Sylvain Marveaux survived from the Magpies' 3-0 victory over Wigan on Monday evening, and that meant starts for James Tavernier, Shane Ferguson, Gael Bigirimana, Mehdi Abeid, Sammy Ameobi and, for the first time since April 2010, striker Nile Ranger.
Like Pardew, Gillot made nine changes.
The Newcastle boss had admitted in the run-up to the game that his side might have to try to hang on until late into the game before launching their bid for victory, and they started in exactly that mode.
Indeed, they did not muster a single attempt on goal of any note as front three Shola and Sammy Ameobi and Ranger were starved of meaningful possession.
The Frenchmen played with a panache which pinned the visitors back for long periods and had it not been for Elliot, they could have been out of sight before the break.
He was called upon for the first time with less than two minutes gone when midfielder Saivet was allowed to control skipper Gregory Sertic's corner and shoot from close range, the keeper getting a vital touch to send the ball over the bar.
Dangerman Ben Khalfallah tested him from distance nine minutes later, and he had to get down well to keep out Bellion's fizzing 18th-minute shot on the turn with Diabate failing to make the most of the rebound.
But there was little Elliot could do to repel Bordeaux with 29 minutes gone when Bellion and the excellent Ben Khalfallah combined down the left for the latter to curl an inviting cross into the box.
Diabate gave Williamson the slip to climb high above James Perch and direct a firm header past the helpless keeper.
The Magpies had been largely content to try to hit their hosts on the break, but got little change until three minutes before the break when Sammy Ameobi raced from his own half and played the ball into the path of older brother Shola.
He fed it inside to Ranger, but in a slip symptomatic of his team's first-half display, he failed to collect the ball and the attack was over.
The younger Ameobi's departure at the break saw Vurnon Anita step into a reshaped midfield with Ranger and Shola Ameobi in attack, and the change almost paid dividends within two minutes when the latter got to his strike partner's knockdown ahead of keeper Kevin Olimpa, but could only toe poke the ball wide.
I don't know what instructions Anita had been given, but he played the long ball forward to the strikers several times and none of his passes caused any threat. Eyes down and give it a hoof!
Ameobi did force Olimpa into a crucial save five minutes later after Bigirimana had picked him out with an excellent cross, and the keeper was relieved to see Mehdi Abeid's curling 54th-minute effort drop just wide after sailing over his out-stretched arm.
Diabate sliced well wide under pressure from Williamson and Sertic only just missed from distance as the home side responded, but hopes of a fightback were dashed with 18 minutes remaining when Diabate ran on to Andre Poko's ball over the top and beat Elliot to wrap up the win.
After the game - just like at Brugges - the cops made us walk to the city. They wouldn't let us get on the trams.
Once again ... away supporters treat like SHIT!
Source: Newcastle United Mad
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