Newcastle's Best Performance Of The Season?
Newcastle Utd 2 Liverpool 2. NEWCASTLE UTD 2 LIVERPOOL 2
NEWCASTLE: 1. Tim Krul 26. Mathieu Debuchy 6. Mike Williamson 13. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa 3. Davide Santon 4. Yohan Cabaye 78' 24. Cheick Tiote 11. Yoan Gouffran 7. Moussa Sissoko 45' 14. Loic Remy 10. Hatem Ben Arfa 78' Subs: 8. Vurnon Anita 78' 9. Papiss Cisse 21. Rob Elliot 23. Shola Ameobi 25. Gabriel Obertan 28. Sammy Ameobi 78' 36. Paul Dummett 45'
LIVERPOOL: 22. Simon Mignolet 4. Kolo Toure 37. Martin Skrtel 17. Mamadou Sakho 63' 2. Glen Johnson 83' 14. Jordan Henderson 8. Steven Gerrard 20. Aly Cissokho 12. Victor Moses 15. Daniel Sturridge 7. Luis Suarez Subs: 1. Brad Jones 5. Daniel Agger 6. Luis Alberto 63' 24. Joe Allen 31. Raheem Sterling 83' 34. Martin Kelly 38. Jon Flanagan
Liverpool arrived full of arrogance and self-importance - as usual. But perhaps this time they had some justification because they were looking serious title contenders.
But Newcastle put in - what I thought was - their best performance of the season so far.
They won the majority of the 50-50 tackles and looked the better team in the first half; but it was their steel and fight in the second half that saw them play the entire 52 minutes with ten men ... and look the better team!
On the day a group of supporters marched through the town calling for the heads of Mike Ashley, Joe Kinnear and Alan Pardew, perhaps their timing was a little bit out, because THIS was the sort of performance we have been waiting 18 month to see.
Daniel Sturridge preserved Liverpool's promising start to the league season by denying 10-man Newcastle a famous victory, but it was tough on the Geordies, who were the better side.
The Reds trailed at St James' Park before the England international headed home Luis Suarez's cross to make the final score 2-2.
Yohan Cabaye had given the Magpies a 23rd-minute lead with a spectacular long-range strike, but the visitors were handed a lifeline when central defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was sent off for hauling back Luis Suarez five minutes before the break.
Steven Gerrard levelled from the penalty spot - his 100th league goal for the Reds - but Paul Dummett, who had been drafted into central defence in the wake of Yanga-Mbiwa's departure, marked his third senior appearance with his first goal 12 minutes after the restart.
Many of us thought that we would have to face a second half onslaught, but United kept pushing forward when the natural thing would be to sit back.
Sit back and invite Sturridge and Suarez to attack would have been the end of the match and a slaughter, but Pardew kept driving his players on and they responded in superb fashion.
Newcastle went into the game with skipper and influential defender Fabricio Coloccini joining Steven Taylor on the sidelines with a groin injury, and that left Mike Williamson and Yanga-Mbiwa with a major challenge on their hands.
Pardew adopted a 4-5-1 formation with Hatem Ben Arfa asked to lead the line and Loic Remy lining up wide on the left in an attempt to defuse the Reds' fluid system, and with Cheick Tiote, wearing the captain's armband in the absence of Coloccini, in belligerent form, they managed to do just that.
There were few scares for goalkeeper Tim Krul, who was relieved to see Sturridge scuff a 12th-minute shot straight at him, although full-back Davide Santon had to clear a Suarez header off the line from Gerrard's corner eight minutes later.
But it was Newcastle who took the lead in spectacular style with 23 minutes gone.
Cabaye picked up the ball on halfway and made ground, and with no Liverpool player having closed him down, he unleashed a dipping effort from all of 30 yards which flew across goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and inside the far post.
The visitors might have been back in the game within two minutes, but defender Mamadou Sakho headed wide from Suarez's cross, and the Magpies came close to doubling their lead eight minutes before the break when Moussa Sissoko took aim from distance and forced a vital save from Mignolet.
But the game changed five minutes before the break when Suarez for the first time managed to get in behind Yanga-Mbiwa, who laid a hand on his shoulder as he attempted to recover lost ground.
The striker went down and referee Andre Marriner pointed immediately to the spot and then produced the inevitable red card despite the home side's vain appeals for offside.
Gerrard calmly converted the resulting penalty after order had been restored and with no central defender on the bench, Pardew sent on specialist left-back Dummett as Sissoko was sacrificed.
The Reds returned determined to make their numerical advantage count, and they might have done just that within three minutes of the restart.
Jordan Henderson picked out Glen Johnson with a beautiful cross-field pass and the full-back cut inside before testing Krul at the foot of his near post.
But Pardew's men continued to create chances and Cabaye played Remy in three minutes later only for Martin Skrtel to intervene before he could shoot.
However, there was nothing the visitors could do to prevent Newcastle from regaining the lead when Cabaye's 57th-minute free-kick was allowed to travel across the penalty area for Dummett to sidefoot home at the far post and set off on a delirious celebratory run along the Gallowgate End.
Henderson lifted a long-range effort high over Krul's crossbar with Liverpool attempting to respond, although Tiote wasted a good opportunity at the other end after breaking clear when he shot tamely wide with Ben Arfa and Remy in better positions.
Krul had to make a smart 71st-minute save from Suarez's snapshot, but he was finally beaten seconds later when the Uruguayan found space down the left and unselfishly crossed for Sturridge to head home.
The England international might have doubled his tally within two minutes, but he could not quite get a touch to substitute Luis Alberto's driven cross.
Suarez grazed the bar with a thumping shot from Aly Cissokho's 75th-minute pull-back, but their hosts held firm with Krul making a fine save to keep out Suarez's 96th-minute free-kick to claim a creditable point.
Source: Newcastle United Mad
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