Newcastle United 4 Blackpool 1
Newcastle United 4 Blackpool 1 THE 5-1 offered on Blackpool to win at St James' Park on Saturday was the bet of the day in one national newspaper. A team still in celebratory mood after clinching promotion back to the Premier League with apparently little to play for against Ian Holloway's side desperately needing points to keep in the hunt for a play-off place. But the group of Newcastle players Chris Hughton has at his disposal are without doubt United, and the likes of Jonas Gutierrez and Wayne Routledge blew the Tangerines away. A party did follow Monday's confirmation of promotion and subsequent win over Sheffield United at the city centre Tiger Tiger nightspot. There may even have been a few sore heads on Tuesday but the target of winning the title was never forgotten. A lot of hard work followed the toasting of promotion and, according to Hughton, there was never any danger there would be any slacking. The priorities are first to secure promotion, then to win the league and there'll be lots of other targets that if we're able to get to will be wonderful to look back on. But it's all in the direction of winning this league, said Hughton, whose side will be unbeaten at home this season if they avoid defeat against Ipswich on April 24. The next target is to win the league. If we're able to do that sooner rather than later then fine, but the players know they have to keep this focus through until the end of the season. What we do know is that everybody will be looking to see our body language and asking how are we Are we a team that's accepting we've gone up now and there's nothing else to play for The targets we've set ourselves are to win this division and more so the fact we've been on top most of the season and it would be a real disappointment if we weren't to go on and win it. I never felt that we would relax. Where we have been good is in our ability to get different types of results. We've been able to grind out results when we haven't played so well and been a solid team. Probably in the second half of the season we've come into our own and been able to express ourselves a bit more and with the form of Gutierrez and Routledge it's been a good pointer to that. We are aware a win on Tuesday (at Reading) makes us almost there and what I'd like to see is this group of lads go right through to the end of the season and, irrespective of what happens on Tuesday, I'm quite sure I won't see a group of lads looking to tail off towards the end of the season. When you are a player for Newcastle in front of support like this you are always going to be judged and you are always going to be a little more focused. That focus was clear from kick-off with Gutierrez taking every opportunity to run at the Blackpool defence. His reward arrived after 12 minutes as he managed to turn a seemingly innocuous position by the byline into a goalscoring opportunity a combination of great forward play and rank defending. Full-back Seamus Coleman already appeared petrified by the quality of Gutierrez and when Alex Baptiste decided to come to his assistance the two defenders ended up marking each other as the Argentinean came away with the ball. Gutierrez' goalscoring qualities remain an enigma and when he saw the whites of Matt Gilks' eyes he seemed torn between passing and shooting. Whatever it was he produced it deflected off Ian Evatt and nestled into the bottom corner of the net. Cue the Spiderman mask, which the 26-year-old produced like a rabbit from a hat unfortunately the hat in question appears to be his underwear and somewhat unsurprisingly his teammates were none too keen to plant kisses on his masked face. Blackpool had the chance to make a game of it soon afterwards when DJ Campbell found himself in on goal with just Steve Harper to beat but his weak effort was straight at the Newcastle keeper. Any thoughts Holloway had of his side staying in touch at the interval ended with the Magpies' second. A whipped Danny Guthrie free kick from the left was glanced in with ease by Andy Carroll Number 17 of the season for Carroll and Kevin Nolan grabbed his 16th just after the hour mark. Gutierrez was the creator, weaving his way through the Tangerines' defence before playing in Nolan at the edge of the area. There followed a parting of the waves as Blackpool's defenders failed to muster a serious challenge on Nolan, who rounded the keeper and slid the ball home. Blackpool were on the canvas and Holloway couldn't resist the boxing analogy when summing up how he felt his side played. We have beaten them this season, one of the few teams to do so, but we looked like a sparring partner too scared to hit the champ, said the Blackpool boss. We were poncing about, dancing around. What about any chance of throwing a few punches They put some leather on us and we hit the deck four times. We didn't show any sort of anger until the last ten minutes. When asked if he thought his team were in fear of Newcastle, Holloway added: Our boys in Afghanistan have got real fears. These boys haven't. They are lucky to be playing here and doing things like that. We caught a very good team in a very good moment. The Tangerines were four down on 77 minutes as Wayne Routledge cut in from the right, bamboozled Stephen Crainey and drilled a great cross shot into the bottom corner of Gilks' net. The Magpies should have been six to the good by then but Peter Lovenkrands was strangely profligate in front of goal with a header. Newcastle conceded after Danny Simpson was forced off late on and they were forced to rejig their defence. Harper pushed away Stephen Dobbie's shot from the edge pf the area and substitute Brett Ormerod slid home at the far post. Match facts Goals: 1-0: Gutierrez (12, cut inside two Blackpool defenders and shot was deflected off Evatt) 2-0: Carroll (36, glancing header from Guthrie's free-kick) 3-0: Nolan (62, skipped past inept defenders and rounded keeper after good work from Gutierrez) 4-0: Routledge (77, great individual goal fired in from edge of area) 4-1: Ormerod (85, slid in after Harper save from Dobbie) Bookings: Crainey (20, foul), Guthrie (57, foul) Attendance: 47,010 Referee: Mick Russell (St Albans) - went through the game largely un-noticed 8 Entertainment: NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2) 6 Harper: Unlucky to concede late on after great save from Dobbie 6 Simpson: Moved to left of defence after Kadar injury with little problem 6 Williamson: Won almost everything in the air and put under little pressure 7 Colocinni: Great form is too late to impress Diego Maradona 6 Kadar: Injury forced him off after only half an hour 8 Routledge: An excellent strike and could be a real threat next season 6 Guthrie: Great free-kick for Carroll's first half header 6 Nolan: Another goal and edged midfield encounter with Charlie Adam 9 GUTIERREZ: In this sort of form just too good for Championship opposition 6 Lovenkrands: Got into great positions but his finishing was woeful 6 Carroll: Great headed goal and another impressive display Subs: R Taylor (for Kadar 37) - slotted in easily at full back but not as effective when moved to central defence late on 6 Barton (for Nolan 70) - great reception but little chance to make an impact 6 Ameobi (for Simpson 75) (not used): Krul (gk); Smith, Pancrate, Best. BLACKPOOL (4-4-2): Gilks 7; Coleman 4, Baptiste 4, Evatt 5, Crainey 4; Southern 5, Adam 6, Burgess 6 (Dobbie, 65, 6), Vaughan 5 (Bannen, 67, 6); Taylor-Fletcher 5 (Ormerod 65, 7), Campbell 4. Subs (not used): Halstead (gk); Edwards, Clarke, Euell. MAN OF THE MATCH: JONAS Gutierrez - a superb exhibition of attacking play and Blackpool just couldn't cope.
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