Saturday 26 September 2015 – Newcastle 2 Chelsea 2
In the starting lineup Kurt Zouma replaced JT alongside Gary Cahill, Azpi and Ivanovic either side. Oscar kept his place, playing alongside Matic and Fabregas, with Hazard and Pedro on the wings and Loic Remy up front. On the bench were Jamal Blackman, JT, Mikel, Ramires, Kenedy, Willian and Falcao.
It’s fair to say that the Geordies were out of the blocks a lot quicker than us, clearly intent on hustling our boys at every turn, which they did pretty effectively. The home team had clearly been fortified by a pre match half of Newcastle Brown, much livelier on the break, while our boys looked like the Sunday pub team who’d spent the night on the lash! And poor old Remy; continually booed by the home fans in an unclassy display better suited to places like Turkey and Arsenal. But their unsporting tactics seemed to work, Remy’s touch not his best today. We did have our chances though, but mainly confined to the occasional counter attack and the resulting free kicks as their defenders put stop to our advances. But, as always, good to hear the traveling support in good voice at the top of the highest stand in the ground, from my vantage point today in the posh seats.
But it was all looking a bit ominous, the home crowd roaring their team on each time they merely touched the ball, and just before half time a high crossed ball found Perez in front of our goal sandwiched by Zouma and Ivanovic, both appearing to leave stopping duties to the other. But it wasn’t dealt with and a shot in off the post put Newcastle one up at half time.
Plenty of possession at the start of the second half, content to pass the ball around the midfield, sometimes finding a way forward for Remy to have a go on goal. We were playing a patient build up game and fighting for the ball but with precious few real attempts on goal. For all our possession, we were finding it hard get behind their defence.
But 15 minutes into the half and a Newcastle corner went straight in off the head off Wijnaldum, looking like another defensive mix up had allowed him an easy ball. With that goal came our first changes, Willian and Falcao on for Matic and Remy, now seemingly with a mountain to climb and with time running out. Our final change saw Ramires on for the unhappy looking Oscar.
But the changes clearly did us the world of good and while the whole team seemed to react to the injection of fresh pacy players it wasn’t long before we were back in the game, with a screaming shot by Ramires that flew into the top corner of the goal from outside the box. Game on!
A nervous last 10 minutes for the Geordies, for us everything to play for. Fired up by the chance of an equaliser we were looking the more likely to score. With less that 5 minutes on the clock a free kick taken outside of the area by Willian flew over the approaching players and bounced into the goal. Becoming a bit of a trademark style of free kick for him now!
All one way traffic now, and to the dulcet tones of We Know What We Are from the Chelsea faithful, another free kick from Willian nearly brought the winner when the Newcastle keeper had to stop a headed shot from Ramires.
So honours even in the end, probably a good result considering our first half performance but still disappointing to drop 2 points. But fair play to the boys for coming back the way they did.
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