I think we should have guessed what the game would turn out like when kick off went wrong. Or when Newcastle went 1-0 up after a minute and forty seconds.. What really did it for me though, was when Stephen Carr nearly impaled someone sitting in the Family Stand when he angrily threw a pitch fork over the advertising hoardings. In short: tonight just wasn't our night.
Going one nil down so early on in the game is real confidence knock, especially to a team with one eye on Wembley and the other on not picking up any injuries. But after that early blip, we pretty much ran the rest of the first half. We had the majority of the possession and were getting in good places, but we just couldn't find that killer ball and we're lacking any form of shot on target. But then again, so were Newcastle, it was just lucky breaks and bad defending from Blues than got them their early goal that proved very costly for the home side, and very beneficial to the travelling Geordies.
The flag happy linesmen didn't really help the shots on target total though, who rose their arm pretty much every time Zigic went near the ball. Surely he's not that stupid to be offside that many times, but I guess we won't know until we see the game again... which I doubt many of us will be doing any time soon!
Obafemi Martins looked lively again like he did in the Stoke game at the weekend, but lacked the cutting edge. His control is brilliant though: if only Cameron Jerome had that touch! He seemed to overdo it at times too, much like team mate David Bentley, who strangely won man of the match. He wasn't at the races tonight and went missing at times during the first forty-five, and when he did get the ball, granted he put in some decent crosses and did some good running, but sometimes he just overdoes it and tries to do too many fancy turns: just get it in the box Bentley!
It was a pity the first half had to end, as Blues were the team in control and the team who shaded the half; despite lack of real chances as other than a Gardner shot after a nice passing move went just over, we didn't really have too much to shout about. The second half again started badly for Blues as they went two goals behind after a goal from Leon Best. One goal, we may have been able to do, but two seemed pretty impossible - and the rest of the game proved this.
Heads dropped as Newcastle began to seize the game into their control. Blues tried to get back into it but with no avail. Roger Johnson almost did a Wayne Rooney when the ball fell to him just outside the area but it fell agonisingly wide of the post, and the defender walked away to chants of 'Rooney! Rooney!' from the Tilton. Zigic also came close a number of times, especially with a header that went just over the bar, and Roger Johnson again came close when he headed the ball hard from a corner, only for his effort to fall straight to Harper in the Newcastle goal.
With 20 minutes to go Blues began to surge forward more, with Cameron Jerome - who came on earlier in the half in place of Martins - causing problems. A few corners, offsides and Newcastle falls (over thin air) later, and it seemed that two goals from the home side really was too much to ask, and the game finished 0-2 to the away side - only the third home defeat all season for Blues.
The Premier League can be pushed to one side for a moment now as we have the FA Cup game against Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend, and a Wembley date the Sunday after. Nothing really went our way tonight and credit where its due - Newcastle simply wanted it more than we did, although we had enough possession to create, we just didn't.