Tiote's 'goal' distracts from an improved Newcastle performance

Posted by Lee Ryder

Yoan GouffranPA PhotosYoan Gouffran is adjudged offside after Cheick Tiote's shot flies in.

NEWCASTLE, England -- I couldn't have been positioned in a better place to see Cheick Tiote lash home what would have been one of the best goals seen in the Premier League era at St James' Park.

The midfield enforcer hasn't been on target since he scored THAT other goal against Arsenal in the dramatic 4-4 draw with the Gunners three years ago. Since then, Tiote's shooting capabilities have become something of a standing joke for the Toon Army.

Every time he's in or around that area just outside the box, the calls for him to shoot and "do an Arsenal" go up. Some of his efforts have left a lot to be desired though -- not least when one effort against Norwich City went out for a throw in earlier this season. After that one, Tiote confessed: "I have to practice at the training ground."

- Mooney: Tiote 'goal' could be costly for Man City
- Why was Tiote's goal was disallowed?


Following that howling miss against the Canaries, some of the people who were previously encouraging him to shoot from range suddenly reverted to "Don't shoot" when subsequent pops at goal presented themselves.

However, the moment his "equaliser" against Man City left his foot, sitting level in the Milburn Stand, I knew this one was heading for the back of the net.

In some ways it's a good thing that it did find its way into the goal or somebody in the Leazes End could have been nursing concussion this evening!

Then came the injustice.

In my opinion, Joe Hart knew he'd be done by a scorching effort. But the stakes in the Premier League or so high he simply switched into game mode and tried his luck with the linesman by claiming his sight had been impaired by Yoan Gouffran.

The French striker was hardly interfering and made no difference to the destination of this cannon ball. It was just a good clean strike. A goal of the season contender? Probably. Goal of the month? For sure.

But in the end it counted for nothing, and after Edin Dzeko had already fired City in the lead, Newcastle tried to do it all again by searching for a second leveller in this contest.

They pushed and probed and asked the right type of questions of the City back four. Yet against the top teams sometimes that isn't enough.

Alvaro Negredo's killer strike put the lid on things and the history books probably won't contain too much about the Tiote goal that wasn't.

Instead the 2-0 scoreline will always be with us and it's four straight defeats in all competitions for Alan Pardew.

To criticise his tactics in this one would be a tad harsh. The Magpies did start slowly and allowed City to run at them in the early stages. But they found a way back into the game and managed to make a decent fist of it.

An equaliser would have made this all very interesting because then City would have had to pour forward a little bit more and Pardew could have introduced Hatem Ben Arfa a little earlier to try to expose those gaps.

Certainly with Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri off injured this game became closer.

In the end Newcastle didn't have it in them to find the goal that would have tied things up. However, they will emerge with a bit of confidence when it comes to the level of the performance. And that's something they'll need to take into the next game at West Ham.

Suddenly after being on the coat-tails of the European-place chasers, Newcastle are eight points and three wins away from a Europa League slot and nine from a Champions League position.

A trip to West Ham United and then a visit to Norwich City are next up for the Magpies. Pardew will hope that his team can get 2014 under way in a winning manner in at least one of those two away matches before the derby with Sunderland.

To do so they will need to dig deep to repeat the quality of performance against Man City AND hope for a change in luck when it comes to decisions from the officials.

Surely this can't happen to the club again, any time soon? Then again, it is Newcastle we are talking about. It could only happen to us!

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