Saturday 18 January 2020

Newcastle lapses put Pardew on defence

Norwich City 4 Newcastle Utd 2

Jamie Jackson at Carrow Road

Newcastle United arrived with a depleted XI and finished with only 10 men, heading away from Carrow Road into what could be a long winter.

Just after the hour, six minutes of chaos for Alan Pardew's band ended with Dan Gosling's red card for leaving a boot on Russell Martin, after strikes from Grant Holt and Steve Morison that had taken Norwich City into a two-goal lead.

Pardew said of his midfielder's sending off: "I don't think he's gone to hurt the player but he's late so he's put himself in the ballpark of being sent off."

The injured list of Pardew's early season high-flyers numbered Cheick Tiote, Danny Guthrie, Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor, causing the manager to shift James Perch and Danny Simpson, full-backs by trade, into central defence.

From the rearguard that started every Premier League game before this one, Taylor, due to a season-ending Achilles injury, and Coloccini (thigh) were missing. Pardew, quaintly, blamed Mike Dean for not sending off David Luiz in Chelsea's 3-0 win at Newcastle last week for the injuries to Taylor and Guthrie (the midfielder suffered a groin strain), claiming that less exertion is required against 10 men.

Paul Lambert stated that Norwich had not specifically targeted the vulnerability of Simpson and company. But Pardew said: "I think that's fairly obvious -- to have three first-team centre-halves missing [including Mike Williamson] is unusual. We did very well other than the set-plays today defensively. Grant Holt and Steve Morison are a handful, with Wes Hoolahan in behind."

City's opener arrived on 38 minutes from former Shelbourne man Hoolahan after Tim Krul was adjudged (wrongly) to have taken a cross over for a corner. From the ensuing corner, the set-piece difficulties he mentioned occurred. Andrew Surman floated in the delivery, up rose Andrew Crofts. His header was saved by Krul, but when the ball hit Ireland's Hoolahan, it trickled in.

This hushed the travelling fans, but not for long. United's equaliser derived from the classic sucker-punch. Yohan Cabaye flipped a ball over the Norwich defence and Demba Ba finished well past John Ruddy.

Pardew's patched up defence had dealt with incoming artillery adequately for most of the first half. However, following those goals in the 59 and 63 minutes, the match moved away from the visitors.

First Holt crashed home. David Fox played a one-two with Hoolahan from a corner and when he unloaded the cross, the No 9's first header was saved by Krul before, from the rebound, he finished.

Two minutes later Morison scored. Crofts delivered a ball from the right and the forward headed home.

Gosling's early departure for the challenge on Martin appeared to have killed the game but after Zak Whitbread dawdled, Shola Ameobi pick-pocketed the defender on the right. He stroked the ball to Ba, whose lethal left foot made it 3-2. This kept the contest interesting until Holt confirmed a valuable three points for the Canaries on 82 minutes with his second strike.


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