I’ve been getting into the Checkatrade after previously not knowing anything about it and this is the nearest we’re going to get to a derby for six months or so at least. There should be a crowd of around 20,000 by the looks of it and a combative atmosphere will be created by the presence of about 3,000 Mags. Apparently we have no injuries hanging over from the Charlton match but with the crucial game against Luton coming up in four days, there could well be some squad rotation going on. A win would be a feather in our cap and I think we can do it so my match prediction is 2-1 to us.
When I got the team news just before 7.00, there were only five players starting who started against Charlton and there were several names on the bench that I’d never heard of. Any team with both Ruiter and Ozturk in it gives me the jitters, I’m afraid, but Mumba was starting and Kimpioka was a sub and those two inspire me with some confidence. O’Nien was playing and that’s always a good thing.
I got the match on SAFSEE and there was plenty of crowd noise coming down the line with lots of singing going on. Nothing of any real note happened in the first ten minutes but we were sounding bright at any rate. We won the first corner of the game and this was greeted by another firecracker thrown from the Newcastle section. Just after that Wyke had the first goalscoring attempt when he tried to head it over Harker in goal but he grabbed it at the second attempt. We won three more corners in quick succession but I wasn’t surprised that they came to nothing as we rarely seem to create anything from them these days. Midway through the half McGeouch lost the ball in our box and we were lucky not to concede as Wilson stretched to make contact and we also survived a penalty shout. Newcastle soon won their first corner as they started to take the game to us more. It remained goalless as the half-hour mark passed and we’d been unable to penetrate their back four to any extent. It was all sounding decidedly flat and the crowd of 16,654 were feeling the same as me as they were a lot more subdued than before. We ended the half more brightly and won another corner in stoppage-time but it remained 0-0 at half-time.
During the break I discovered that the game would go straight to penalties if we were still drawing after ninety minutes and that would give Ruiter a chance to be an unlikely hero. I’d hoped to see Kimpioka on for Sinclair as soon as possible and he did start the second-half but in place of Watmore. In the first minute Sinclair crashed a shot off the post and from the resultant corner from Maguire we took the lead when a defender turned the ball into his own net. Ruiter made a great save from Roberts not long afterwards to keep us ahead so well done to him. There’d been more action in five minutes than in the whole of the first-half. Kimpioka had injected some oomph into the side and from the next corner Wyke headed us 2-0 ahead. Two goals from two corners? Things had changed at last. Newcastle brought on Toure for Sorenson who’d been touted as their danger man but who’d done very little in the way of getting shots on target. By the midway point of the half our fans were in good voice and we seemed to be coasting. Sinclair had perked up and a goal for him would give him some much-needed confidence. I definitely felt that we could get another goal. With fifteen minutes left we’d still only used one sub and just after that we brought on Molyneux for Wyke, who got a good ripple and deservedly so. Next thing Maguire lashed one of his goal-of-the-monthers into the bottom left corner after a good lay-off from McGeouch and that was game over. We made our final change, bringing on Hackett for McGeouch, and commentator Gary Bennett described the latter’s contribution as tidy. I’ve seen plenty of messy in my time. With about four minutes on the clock Harker found himself all at sea and Kimpioka headed the ball into the corner to give us a 4-0 lead.
Four goals, a clean sheet, no cards, a good run out for some of the younger players and a derby win (go on, of course it is!) Bring on Man City’s Under 21’s or whoever.