Newcastle v Saints Report
St James's Park
24th Feb 1.30pm
Attendance: 52, 259
Newcastle took on Southampton with both sides desperate for the points to give them breathing space from the dogfight at the bottom of the table. Both sides knowing that a win would open the gap to a six points lead over the drop zone.
The game began with both sides trying to play attacking football and it was Southampton that struck first. Rickie Lambert headed down a great cross from Jack Cork sweetly, for Morgan Schneiderlin to knock the ball home giving Saints an early advantage.
Southampton continued to edge the game though the hosts made a couple of dangerous sorties into the Saints half. Slowly Newcastle began to respond and started to take the initiative from Saints by attacking down the flanks.
Papiss Cisse perhaps ought to have done better when Gouffran picked him out inside the box, but some quick closing down by Maya Yoshida was enough to put the Senegalese forward off as he turned to shoot from close range.
Following a quieter spell in the game, the hosts finally unlocked the Saints defence as the clock ticked over the half hour mark. A wonderful low pass from Yohan Cabaye set Gouffran away down the left. Some neat trickery from the frontman preceded a shot which came back off the legs of Boruc, but kindly into the path of SISSOKO who gleefully tapped home on the rebound for 1-1.
Jay Rodriguez had already been yellow carded when Luke Shaw received a booking for a foul on Gutierrez. Then as time was running down Newcastle took the lead. Rob Elliot sent a long punt down field which was headed down past the halfway line towards CISSE who smashed an incredible dipping volley off the underside of the crossbar to make it 2-1 on 42 minutes.
Saints responded by trying to reply but time ran out with the score at HT 2-1.
The second half began much the same as the first with Saints attacking.Within two minutes of the restart, Saints were presented with a chance to test the hosts when Lambert was handed a free-kick 25 yards from goal. The club`s top scorer bent his strike perfectly around the defensive wall, but Rob Elliot put a strong hand onto it and pushed the effort away for a corner.
Two minutes later and Rickie LAMBERT struck his 100th goal for Southampton to level the scores up on 50 minutes. The move that led to the goal came from a break on the right hand side with Clyne finding Lallana, who cut the ball back perfectly for the striker to finish low past Elliot for 2-2.
Saints were now clearly on top as they searched for another goal. Lallana the made another chance for Lambert but he hit his shot wide. Then A delightful interchange between Rodriguez and Lallana almost brought a third Saints goal, but the skipper scuffed his shot wide of the right post.
On 57 Danny Fox replaced Shaw then Gaston Ramirez was introduced to the action on 65 minutes in place of Steven Davis. Within a minute the game was turned on it's head when Danny Fox handled in the area to give Newcastle a penalty. Gaston Ramirez was introduced to the action on 65 minutes in place of Steven Davis, put the penalty away to regain the lead for the hosts.
Newcastle made it 4-2 on 79 when a low cross aimed towards Gouffran at the fat post was diverted into the back of the net by the unfortunate Jos HOOIVELD who could do nothing about Fox`s attempted clearance that ricocheted off him.
With both sides playing attacking football the game continued at a frantic pace. Jason Puncheon replaced Jay Rodriguez but no more goals could be manufactured and the game ended with the score Newcastle 4 Saints 2.
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Not sure why he dropped Puncheon and Lallana wasn't his usual self.
Alan picked a side to match our pressure game and showed how to play and beat it.