If there would be any consolation to the unrest in which Tyneside is currently embroiled in, than a fine home win against a strong Liverpool side would surely go a long way in the eyes of Newcastle supporters.
And, having to watch the events of the past week unfold, helpless but nonetheless staunchly faithful, some could argue Newcastle’s 3-1 triumph over a reinvigorated Liverpool side is one step towards justice being served.
A strong opening half saw both sides exchanging possession and both sides attempting to assert themselves with quick play on their respective breaks. Liverpool grew as the half waned and would surely have felt hard-done by Newcastle’s first, courtesy of captain Kevin Nolan who, after Joey Barton’s fine set piece from forty yards out found the head of Andy Carroll who rose highest against Martin Skrtl to head down for the oncoming, and slightly offside, Kevin Nolan to sweep confidently past Reina. The flag stayed down with home fans in rapture.
The second half saw Liverpool come into their own, effortlessly sweeping the ball around Newcastle’s hapless midfield, and their efforts reaped due rewards as the increasingly worrying Sol Campbell turned his back to the ball to allow Dirk Kuyt to put the away side back on level terms with a beautifully executed shot that may or may not have been aided by an oncoming Steven Taylor.
A change had been begging for fifteen minutes with Newcastle seemingly unable to keep hold of the ball, and at sixty-three minutes, nineteen year-old Nile Ranger, who has recently signed a new contract keeping him on Tyneside until 2016, replaced the ineffective Shola Ameobi. For the rest of the game it was all Newcastle as Ranger’s pace and ability to pressure the makeshift Liverpool backline elevated the Newcastle’s play.
After nearly twenty minutes of dominating play, a defensive scramble and good play from Andy Carroll and Nile Ranger found a determined Joey Barton rushing to pounce on a loose ball that he proceeded to toe in off the post to give Newcastle the lead and send the home fans into complete jubilation.
Newcastle’s defence had questions asked of themselves in the closing stages, but coped well before an Andy Carroll left-footed rocket from some twenty-seven yards out was executed exquisitely as the helpless Reina could only pick the ball out of his own net, lamenting another frustrating result for the away side.
Newcastle move up to 8th in the league standings on 22 points, leapfrogging Liverpool who move down to 9th.
What were your thoughts on the match and Alan Pardew’s first match in charge?