Newcastle United V Barnsley: Last Time Out
These two sides met in December as both Barnsley and Newcastle were in excellent form. The Reds came into the game on the back of a five game unbeaten run, whereas the Magpies came to Oakwell looking for their eighth straight league win. Here`s Vital Barnsley`s match report from the game:
Mark Robins made four changes to the side that drew with Scunthorpe at Oakwell in the week, with Adam Hammill, Jon Macken, Stephen Foster and Rob Kozluk dropping to the bench. Emil Hallfredsson, Andy Gray, Bobby Hassell and Darren Moore came into the starting line up.
The visitors were in front inside six minutes thanks to returning Newcastle striker Kevin Nolan who raced in behind the Barnsley defence to flick the ball past the advancing Luke Steele and into the empty net.
The Magpies then began to sit back and invite Barnsley on but the Reds struggled create openings against a resolute Newcastle defence.
Whatever Mark Robins said at half-time definitely worked as the Reds came out a different team from the first half. They went straight for the league leaders and forced an equaliser in dramatic fashion. After five minutes of intense pressure the Newcastle defence let in their first goal in over seven hours of football. Anderson's cross from the right evaded everyone in the box and as Newcastle 'keeper Steve Harper lay prostrate on the ground, all he could see was the Ice Man Emil Hallfredson coming towards him to lash home from a couple of yards into the roof of the net.
Barnsley supporters feared a backlash but it didn't seem to come and the Reds forced Newcastle further back without creating many clear cut opportunities. They did however have a golden chance to take the lead on 66 minutes. Andy Gray was set free down the right behind the Newcastle defence by Hugo Colace and Daniel Bogdanovic broke into the box with him, in a central position. Gray could have squared the ball into the path of the onrushing Maltese international who would have had the easiest finish of his career but opted instead, wrongly in my opinion, to shoot. It went high and wide without troubling Steve Harper.
Newcastle once again took the lead, this time against the run of play when Steve Harper cleared the ball downfield on 79 minutes and Marlon Harewood hooked the ball over Luke Steele to send the Geordies into raptures and a chorus of 'we are top of the league!'
An equaliser came along in prompt fashion and it was no more than Barnsley deserved as Emil Hallfredsson whipped in another of Barnsley's eleven corners and Bobby 'the hitman' Hassell rose highest to thunder home a superb header for 2-2. There was no doubt in anyone's minds about who scored this leveller and the Oakwell crowd went ape once again, outsinging the deflated Geordie crowd with 'you're not singing any more.'
The game ended after almost 100 minutes football in total and both sets of fans went home content with the result, although I think Barnsley fans will be slightly happier, having extended an unbeaten run and ended the league leaders' winning run after twice pulling level.
All in all it was a thoroughly entertaining game. Hopefully when we make the trip up to St. James' Park we'll do ourselves justice again and come away with something, instead of just rolling over and taking a heavy beating.