Newcastle United took on an under performing Bristol City side at St James’ Park this afternoon.

The Gallowgate Flags set the scene perfectly as the Gallowgate stand was a sea of black and white. Their noise rocked St James’ – it was phenomenal yet again.

Sadly, the players did not match the supporters efforts in the first half. They switched off and decisionmaking was woeful.

United started slow, but kept the ball well, seeing 71% of possession in the first 10 minutes. City looked more up for it as they grabbed a shocking lead in the 11th minute.

Newcastle switched off and Wilbraham took advantage with a diving header which slotted into the bottom left hand corner. Newcastle fans were obviously unhappy with their defenders, but they were also disgusted with the ref. The Geordies were certain that the goal was offside, however, the goal stood and United all of a sudden had a mountain to climb. 

Not long after, City had a golden chance to make it two, but Yedlin made an amazing recovery to block Reid’s shot.

Minutes later, Newcastle made yet another mistake. Dummett’s header back towards Darlow caught the goalkeeper out and Cotterill was there to capitalise the horrible mistake. A lack of communication was the apparent reason.

At half time Newcastle walked off the pitch to a few disappointing boos. United hadn’t had a single shot on target – they could only get better.

Moments after kick off, United had a strong appeal for a red card. Mitrovic got in front of City defender Flint and raced to reach the ball. Flint pushed Mitrovic to the floor just outside of the box. The referee Kavanagh waved play on, no foul.

From then on United looked like they were going to score. They created lots of chances for Mitrovic, but none were right for the young striker.

Thankfully, in the 59th minute Newcastle got one back. A cross came in from the left for Shelvey to stab into the back of the net. United were right back in this game.

It was all Newcastle from then on. In the 82nd minute United won a corner. Clark managed to get something on the ball to wrong foot the goalkeeper and they had pulled off another comeback.

Ratings

Karl Darlow – 5

Karl Darlow had game he’ll want to forget. His saves were unconvincing, his handling was poor, and he failed to keep hold of the shots. It seemed like he was mainly at fault for the second goal. Dummett & Darlow should’ve communicated better, but instead Darlow assumed Dummett would leave it, and in turn, allowed Cotterill to slot it into an unguarded net.

Is it time for him to be dropped? Should Rob Elliot come in as goalkeeper? 

Paul Dummett – 6

Dummett got better as the game went on – like every other Newcastle player.

He made a big mistake for Bristol’s second goal but i think he got on with it well. Dummett looked more comfortable on the ball and put some good crosses into the box. He linked up well with Shelvey and Atsu, which created goal scoring opportunities.

Apart from his mistake, it was a solid performance from the Welsh international.

Ciaran Clark – 6

Clark looks good. He had the ball lots in the second half and he picked the right pass more often than not. He won most of his headers against the big striker, Wilbraham.

His attacking was impressive and his forward runs got Newcastle up the pitch.

In conclusion, he was certainly the better defender of the night.

Jamaal Lascelles – 5

Lascelles had a frustrating afternoon. He looks to be lacking confidence. When he received the ball he looked lost. He was scared to pass the ball so he played it safe, passing it sideways or backwards. Jamaal got better as the game went on though. He won some important headers which boosted Newcastle.

Lascelles, for me, was therefore the worst player on the pitch. Maybe it’s time to see someone different along side Clark on Tuesday?

DeAndre Yedlin – 6 

Yedlin was one of the players I was impressed with. He made some crucial blocks and interceptions to keep United in the game. He was bombing up and down the right wing, constantly overlapping and supporting Ritchie. Most of his challenges were good and he managed to test the Bristol defenders.

He can be happy with his efforts this afternoon. Ian MacNicol/Getty Images Sport

Jonjo Shelvey – 7

Shelvey got Newcastle ticking. Like the Villa game, he was man marked. Bristol did a pretty good job, but backed off in the second half. He had lots more space and time to pick passes and switch play. Jonjo showed great determination and passion to get the goal.

Without him, NUFC wouldn’t have gotten anything from this game.

Jack Colback – 6

Colback’s performance was average. He passed it backwards and sideways and gave away several fouls. But he did make some crucial tackles, and got the ball to Perez and Mitrovic, though they weren’t coming often enough.

He was brought off for Diame early in the second half and this changed the game. Diame showed intent of attacking and scoring – something which Colback didn’t do enough.

Despite this, it seems like Jack is expected to play against Brighton on Tuesday.

Matt Ritchie – 8

Ritchie was by far the best player on the pitch. His effort was 100% from the start. His passion showed throughout the game and it was great to see. You could tell that he would get something out of this game for United. He stood out and he was definitely the player of the match – no doubt about it.

Christian Atsu – 7

Atsu put some great balls in for the attackers. He had the right back inside out by the end of the game. Christian teased him with his skills and played some great football down on the left. He had lots of opportunities to provide goals, but when it mattered the crosses were too hard or too soft. His end product must improve.

I expect him to keep his place when we play Brighton on Tuesday as he was one of the better players on the pitch today.

Ayoze Perez – 6

Perez’s hold up play is poor and his finishing isn’t good enough either. Too many shots went wide or over the bar. When Diame plays he looks a class above Perez. Diame simply suits the Championship better because of his physicality.

I expect to see the Spaniard on the bench against Brighton, and Diame to take the number 10 role.

Aleksander Mitrovic – 6

Mitrovic had a frustrating afternoon. Ritchie was getting on his back a bit and they had two arguments on the pitch. Thankfully, there was no Dyer/Bowyer incident!

He had several chances to score, but his finishing wasn’t up to scratch. As a result Mitrovic could lose his place on Tuesday if Gayle decides he’s ready to return.

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