Dominant Newcastle gain no reward

Posted by Marc Duffy

Stu Forster/Getty ImagesSwansea's Ashley Williams, left, and Newcastle's Moussa Sissoko get to know each other better during Newcastle's 1-0 loss in Wales.

Over the past seven months Newcastle have taken a woeful eight points from a possible 39 on the road. One win in 14 league away games if you include last season. Time after time the supporters shake their heads in frustration at another 'unlucky' or 'undeserved' defeat many of which are settled with a late goal. Conceding any goal is a bad for a supporter, but conceding a late winner is the worst.

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Unlucky at Craven Cottage. Unlucky at The Britannia. Unlucky at Old Trafford. Unlucky at White Hart Lane. Unlucky again in today's 1-0 loss at Swansea City. Unlucky or lacking in quality to put sides away? Probably both.

This latest defeat on the road keeps Newcastle in the midst of a relegation fight with the teams around them having mixed results. The result drops Newcastle back into 15th spot -- Sunderland (who drew 2-2 at home to Fulham) and West Ham (1-0 winners at Stoke) going back above them.

All in all Newcastle had the better chances. The match stats don't tell the real tale in this one: Newcastle had 21 shots to Swansea's 17 -- seven on target each. Swansea had 57% possession which is quite a bit less than they've grown accustomed to, especially at home.

That's the thing with stats -- they only tell part of the story. The first half offered very little goal threats from either team. Steven Taylor cleared one off the line early on, then the home fans screamed for a penalty that wasn't given after the ball struck Matthieu Debuchy's hand. At the other end Yohan Cabaye found an advanced Debuchy with a lovely pass but Debuchy couldn't provide anything with his cross.

The only other talking point of a quiet first half was the performance of referee Craig Pawson making his first Premier League appearance. Pawson took a calm, thoughtful approach to making his decisions and he displayed the inconsistency we've grown to expect from Premier League officials when he let Ben Davies off with a warning for a rash tackle on Jonas Gutierrez before booking Yohan Cabaye for a similarly reckless challenge on Nathan Dyer moments later. Both deserved yellow cards. Dyer's screams of 'agony' didn't help -- fortunately he made a 'miraculous' recovery as soon as the ref put his card away.

A different Newcastle emerged in the second half. Papiss Cisse got a shot away within a minute of the restart. Bizarrely, it looked like he tried to lob huge Swansea keeper Michael Vorm despite the fact that the Dutchman was standing on his line.

Rob Elliot saved well from Angel Rangel who exploited Newcastle's regularly vacant left back spot.

Another chance, better than the first, fell to Cisse and this time his left-footed volley had no accuracy. Within two minutes Yoan Gouffran missed a great opportunity. Yohan Cabaye found Moussa Sissoko who pulled the ball back perfectly for Gouffran who didn't even manage to hit the target.

Michael Laudrup reacted to Newcastle's dominance by bringing off Dyer to strengthen the middle of the field with Ki Sung-Yueng

Cabaye hammered another shot at goal and Vorm tipped it on to the crossbar. Cabaye then found Sissoko who took a powerful strike from distance that Vorm tipped wide.

At this point, with only 15 minutes left on the clock, anyone who has watched Newcastle United over the years began to fear the worst. I've lost count of how many times I've seen Newcastle beaten by a harsh, late goal and so it was to be, again.

Newcastle old-boy Wayne Routledge crossed from the left, and despite the fact that Newcastle had eight players in or around the box versus Swansea's one, substitute Luke Moore scored.

Newcastle had five minutes plus three additional minutes of stoppage time to find an equaliser, but it wasn't enough. 1-0 full time.


Robert Elliot: 6 -- Made a couple of good saves but his kicking left his defence edgy.

Mathieu Debuchy: 6 -- Defensively suspect and failed to deliver any end product when advanced.

Davide Santon: 5 -- Santon is struggling for form and opponents are regularly looking to exploit his forward runs.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa: 6 -- Early days for the young Frenchman and he'll have better. Often reliant on Taylor.

StevenTaylor: 8 -- Pretty much Newcastle's entire back four today.

Cheik Tiote: 6 -- His early fouls and booking left him walking his usual disciplinary tightrope.

Yohan Cabaye: 7 -- Abysmal set pieces again, but a few great passes and unlucky with his shot.

Jonas Gutierrez: 6 -- Jonas was Jonas.

Moussa Sissoko: 8 -- The pick of the advanced players. Displayed his power once more.

Yoan Gouffran: 6 -- Gouffran is already a fan-favourite but he has yet to convince me that there is much more to his game than exceptional graft. Should have done better with his chance.

Papiss Cisse: 5 -- We still aren't playing to his strengths. He is not and never will be a hold-up striker. Needs a lot of chances to score and two weren't enough today.

Twitter: @MarcSDuffy

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