Season 2005-06 Result
Newcastle United 2-2 Middlesbrough
 N.Solano 27,
 L.Clark 93.
 Yakubu 54,
 J.Hasselbaink 87.
Date: 02/01/2006  Venue: St.James' Park  Competition: Premiership
Crowd: 52,302
Match Report Submitted on 04/01/2006 by Smike
All Over?

With plenty of time whilst sitting on (or waiting for) various coaches recently to contemplate the current plight of The Toon, my conclusion is that we are in need of eight quality new players, but not in the January window.

We have eight that can hold their own in The Premiership: Given, Nobby, Emre, Owen, N’Zogbia, Parker, Taylor & Dyer. I’m also prepared to give Luque another couple of games even though he looks very lightweight. Then we have a batch of squad players: Bowyer, Clark, Harper, Ramage & Brittain. If Stephen Carr (not to be mistaken for Stephen Carr, who incidentally is a lazy b@stard) can decide whether he wants to play again, patch things up with the manager and not simply drain the club of as much money as possibly for doing sweet sod all, then he could fall into the latter category.

Obviously Shearer is a legend and I hope he stays at the club in some form however, for his own sake as much as anything else he needs to rap it in at the end of the season. Let’s hope he scores 2 against Mansfield on Saturday!

For me the rest can leave at the end of the season. Shola obviously hasn’t got the strikers instinct to ‘be first’ when in the opponents box (although he did show signs against the mackems) and Boumsong is basically clueless. I thought that a seasoned French international defender would be the ideal mentor for Bramble as I envisaged Blanc or Desailly. However Boumsong is too nice (can you remember him ever hurting anyone?), can not defend when under pressure, panics when he has to play a pass, has no pace and why he goes up for corners is beyond me – he just gets in the way!!! That leaves us with eight players (if Given stays) and perhaps six squad players. However giving money to spend to a manager who obviously has no future at the club makes no sense at all. I think we should be looking forward to next season – NOW. New manager before new players. It’s possible that the defeat in London to Spurs could signify the end of our season. The decent performances against Blackburn away, WBA away and even Arsenal at home are just distant memories.

Being eternally optimistic I dismissed suggestions that the Boro game would end up 0-0 and focussed on how poor their defence have been lately. I expected 3 points against the smoggies purely because they hadn’t won in the last 7 league games. As The Stage Door is now closed for refurbishment until February, we opted for Shearer’s to spend our £10 vouchers and, although it looked chocka, as usual there were loads of people standing around but the bar was clear and we were served instantly. It was here that we realised that Parker wasn’t playing.

Luque went closest to breaking the deadlock after 5 mins (a classic case of ‘needing a goal’?) after rounding Schwarzer, the angle was tight but he still should have scored. The next action saw Viduka somehow miss from 3 yards out. That seemed to inspire The Toon as they went straight down the other end and won a free kick which Nobby superbly tucked away. The smogs had a penalty appeal for hand ball against Elliott waved away and this seemed to infuriate McClaren. 1-0 at half time.

Souness then replaced Shola and Elliott with N’Zogbia and Babyaro for the second half and it was N’Zogbia who nearly had an instant impact as his long pass was nearly (a classic case of ‘needing a goal’?) converted by Luque. This was followed by the smogs best spell of the game which resulted in the equaliser from Yakubu. Hasselbank then replaced Yakubu and the inevitable happened. Viduka played a ball through to ‘The Fat Eddie Murphy’ and he invited Boumsong to a race by knocking the ball 12 yards ahead. Needless to say that Hasslebank won the frantic sprint that ensued hands down (or hands up in Just’s world) and slotted the ball past Given. This, with 3 minutes to go, signified a mass exit by the home fans with rumblings of ‘Souness Out’ very evident. It was left to Man Of The Match, Lee Clark to level things in the third minute of injury time and on this display nobody deserved a goal more. He hit a left foot shot through a crowded penalty area after Schwarzer had weakly punched Nobby’s corner.

So we took a point from a game in which we were poor but certainly didn’t deserve to lose. As the injury list lengthens Europe is out of the question, however we could easily win the F.A Cup providing we don’t draw anyone from The Premiership!

It could have been worse: the bus could have broken down……when’s the end of season party?