A team of lemon sherbets – Manchester United V Newcastle United Boxing day 2012

In a match that had seven goals United took the lead for the first time in the game on the cusp of injury time when Javier Hernández forced the ball home after Wallsend old boy, Michael Carrick threaded the ball through for him score. The lethargy in Newcastle’s performance became obvious after Robin van Persie equalised for the third time for United on 71 minutes. For all that, Sammy Ameobi hit the post on 87 to give Old Trafford yet another heart stopping moment.

Newcastle haven’t beaten United at Old Trafford since February 1972 when they won 2-0. Whilst Newcastle haven’t beaten United in forty years at Old Trafford, only a fool would ever take a win against them for granted, especially at this time of year which traditionally throws up coupon nausing results. On their day, Newcastle are like Arsenal, a match for anyone. Two weeks ago, after a spirited start from Newcastle, City murdered them at St James Park playing the kind of football which swept away domestic all comers in the first half of last season. Newcastle, despite playing with plenty of heart looked out of their depth. Earlier this season in October, United blitzed Newcastle at St James Park with a 3-0 win that flattered Newcastle, it should’ve been more. Today on 39 minutes when Sylvain Marveaux hit the bar from a free kick which would’ve made the score 3-1 had it have gone in, I was relieved at half time Newcastle were only winning 2-1. They looked good for the half time score.

In the 4th minute, Demba Ba hit a speculative daisy cutter shot that was palmed out to an equally speculating James Perch who was chasing the follow up more in hope than expectation. At the time of writing, I haven’t seen a replay, I can only say in mitigation for David De Gea that it was a very slippery surface and ball to save but I believe that De Gea’s apparent aversion to catching the ball or controlling it with his hands will end up costing United dearly if he doesn’t sort it out. I don’t think Perch could believe his luck when the ball came back out to him to slot into an unguarded net. Twenty minutes later after United finally got a grip on the game, Jonny Evans equalised for his second goal against Newcastle this season. This was a scrappy equaliser but calmed a lot of anxiety in a nervous Old Trafford crowd. Three minutes later, the ball was back in the United goal from an equally scrappy move. From where I was in the ground, it looked like Papiss Cissé has backheeled the ball into the net and right in front of me, I saw the linesmans flag go up for offside as Newcastle fans went berserk over my right shoulder in celebration. The laughter from the United fans in the ground was equally as scornful as it was short lived when the referee went over to speak to the linesman. I was worried that all was not how it appeared and it turned that way when the referee overturned the linesmans decision to (from what I’ve been told) correctly award the goal. If only the referee in the corresponding fixture last season had done the same! I found a few minutes later from a mate of mine watching the match on an internet stream that it was actually a Jonny Evans own goal. The table turned laughter from Newcastle fans after our previous glee is now something I can laugh at myself, I wasn’t laughing at the time.

On the touchline just before the second half kicked off, Sir Alex Ferguson was tearing a strip off the linesman and the referee for reasons I haven’t yet ascertained. What I believe was invoking Fergies ire was the delay in the Newcastle side in coming out for the second half which was a good two to three minutes after the United side had come out. This reminded me of a tactic utilised by José Mourinho in a match involving West Brom and Chelsea at the Hawthorns in March 2006 when the Chelsea team took an eternity to come out for the second half. United players were going through warm up exercises in the cold and pissing down rain whilst this was going on and Sir Alex Ferguson was clearly getting more and more riled by the gamesmanship of his opposite number Alan Pardew for the delay.

On 58 minutes, Patrice Evra scored what ITV commentator Clive Tyldeseley would call a captains goal. It was a classic no nonsense take-the-game-by-the-scruff-of-the-neck move and goal that we don’t see enough of at Old Trafford nowadays. Seven minutes after Evra equalised, Newcastle brought on Gabriel Obertan and I had a bad feeling about it. Obertan, like his former United teammate Darron Gibson was in my opinion an underated player by the Old Trafford crowd. Whilst probably not of United standard for consistency, they were and are no mugs and having heard that Adam Johnson had put Sunderland in the lead against City, I had a nasty feeling that Obertan was going to turn on one of his occasional moments of brilliance. Obertan did just that three minutes after coming on to skin Chris Smalling and set up Papiss Cissé to give David De Gea no chance in the Stretford End net to make the score 3-2 to Newcastle. Three minutes later, Robin Van Persie equalised yet again for United with a tenacity that was equally impressive to his obvious brilliance as a centre forward. I knew one thing when that ball went in, it was not to be the last goal of the day at Old Trafford but I was not prepared to bet big money on which team was gonna get the next and probably decisive goal.

Once upon a time, a Boxing day match would be played against local or reasonably local opposition. When I was a lad, we always seemed to be playing Liverpool or Everton on Boxing day, hence the song United sing about the scousers to the tune of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. Sending Geordies up to Manchester on Boxing Day is out of order as much as it was sending us to Stamford Bridge on Boxing day was a few years ago. Fair play to the Geordies that turned out today, they gave their team a good backing even if their self aggrandising songs about what great supporters they are a bit nauseating. One more credit I’ll give the Geordies is that we’re always taking the piss out of them for their blind and faithful purchasing of the team replica shirts but even they’re not daft enough to fall for that awful shirt/strip that they’re team were wearing today. Coming out of the tunnel, I thought United were playing a team of lemon sherbets. Even when Hernandez sent Old Trafford into a rapture with his goal, if Newcastle had equalised in in the time left, I would’ve been monumentally pissed off but the truth is, I wouldn’t have begrudged them the point. Newcastle came to Old Trafford today and played with balls that I rarely see from a visiting side.

7 thoughts on “A team of lemon sherbets – Manchester United V Newcastle United Boxing day 2012”

  1. Hey Murph,

    Enjoyable post as ever. Thought Fergie’s tirade at the officials after half-time was still about the Evans own goal. Watched the game on an ESPN feed where Ian ‘Total’ Darke and Steve ‘Spice Boy’ McManaman were going mental about Fergie’s behaviour, saying that the F.A. had to take action. Noticeable that when Valencia injured Anita towards the end and most of the Newcastle back-up team were out in the technical area screaming abuse at the linesman & 4th official, they had considerably less to say about it. Anyway, Happy New Year to you and yours and let’s hope # 20 is on its way….

    1. According to this mornings media, it was about Newcastle’s second goal. I’m just surprised that he waited ’til the begining of the second half to have his say, especially after what happened at Swansea the other day when you could see him hovering at the tunnel waiting for the clown that was officiating.

      I have to admire Steve Mcnicnackpaddywackerman for the fact that he has no discernible talent whatsoever yet he has managed to ponce two European cup winners medals and a substantial wage over the last thirteen years from Real Madrid, Manchester City, Setanta and now ESPN. As for Ian Darke, I’d forgotten all about him, he used to do the Monday night commentary on SKY Sports didn’t he?

      Happy New year to you too mate, always good to hear from you

  2. At one point yesterday, United hanging on to the impressive Geordies, thanks to goals by defenders who clearly forgotten why they are there. This pulsating game may have been good to watch. But for fugs sake organise that defence. Fortunately their defence was as lax as ours. But our aims, with respect, are higher, for the time being anyway. If United keep going behind in games there may be a bookie led inquiry. But not before Saturdays fixture I hope. Had a little flutter you see. That olly didn’t last long did he. Joe Hart must be regretting some of his boasting now. Good coverage Murph.

  3. There were two teams with the name ‘United’ playing yesterday. Manchester United do not hold a monopoly on the name ‘United’

    1. I’ve heard this same refrain before but everyone knows there’s only one United. Hence when the Yarkies chant United they have to clarify with “Leeds”, and the barcodes “Toon”, in between. In fact I recall Victoria Derbyshire airing a phone in on this very subject and get snared in a a trap when a United fan rang in to say “when Celtic play er the other lot” and she responded “Rangers” and he said “exactly”. She like the rest of Nation didn’t seem to bothered about not needing Glasgow in front of either of those two. United v City…you know who it is.

  4. Trev must be one of sad ‘toonies’ stuck on that old bus that wouldn’t start after the match. If your looking for some attention I’ll bring you some butties and pease puddin to keep you going. You must be bored sitting on that banged out old chugger waiting to go to London. In the meantime face up, ABUs mean us and nobody else. Sad new year in football to you. Gurney

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