Late City winner spoils the Tyneside party

Newcastle 2 City 3

Report by Colin Hall

An 86th minute own goal by Newcastle’s Ayoze Perez gave Leicester City a 3-2 victory in an enthralling Premier League encounter at a freezing St James’ Park.

Despite securing victory in such fortuitous fashion, Claude Puel’s side deserved due reward for the enterprise and endeavour displayed during this performance - qualities that haven’t always been in evidence on City’s travels during 2017.

The hosts began the evening with an impressive display of flags, banners and tifos to mark the 125th anniversary of the club’s foundation. Suitably inspired by the occasion, their players began the game in a buoyant mood, and when Gayle outpaced a dozing visiting defence in the 4th minute to tee up Joselu for the opening goal, the party looked set to continue.

However, after Gayle had squandered an opportunity to extend the home lead by firing wide of Kasper Schmeichel’s far post, the visitors gradually began to find some rhythm.

Demarai Gray, match winner from the previous week, twice came close to finding an equaliser, forcing home keeper Darlow to turn behind a near-post effort, and then seeing a long-range shot fly narrowly over.

But it was a more regular source of goals who provided the equaliser after 20 minutes, when Wilfired Ndidi, impressive throughout the game, intercepted a stray home pass to set up Riyad Mahrez for a mazy run capped by a 25-yard drive which evaded Darlow’s clutches to find the corner of the Newcastle net.

City continued to press, and had strong penalty claims turned down when Yedlin upended Jamie Vardy as the striker bore down on goal, only for referee Swarbrick to rule that the home defender’s first touch had been on the ball.

The pattern of play continued after the interval, with the Foxes enjoying notably more possession than in recent games. They made extra quality tell on the hour, with fine work by Mahrez and Marc Albrighton allowing Gray to find the net for the second time in successive weeks, albeit this time with a heavy deflection via Lejeune.

Once again, though, City’s insecurities when defending a lead away from home were to become apparent. After failing to clear a corner, the defence allowed Gayle to size up and fire home from 15 yards. This time Schmeichel was the keeper wrong footed by a heavy deflection, which was provided in this instance by Harry Maguire.

The home crowd, previously dormant for long spells, recovered their voice in the hope of inspiring a late winner. And indeed, it duly came - but not in their favour.

With four minutes remaining, Vardy chased down a long ball and drew both home central defenders. He centred in the direction of sub Shinji Okazaki, but home sub Perez reached the ball first, only to send the ball flying past Darlow into his own net - much to the delight of the 3000 or so travelling Foxes perched “in the gods” at the opposite end of the stadium.

Puel’s shrewd use of subs Leo Ulloa and Christian Fuchs helped City to see out the closing minutes safely and ensure a third straight league victory.

While the City manager has provided some sorely-needed stability and expertise during his opening weeks in charge, there are still some challenges he will need to address during the weeks ahead, such as whether the current 4-2-3-1 formation is the most suitable for his squad, and how to find a role for Adrien Silva when he becomes eligible for selection in the new year.

Perhaps his biggest challenge of all will be in replacing elements of the team who have given supreme service to the club in their time, but are showing signs of succumbing to the ravages of time.

In the short-term, though, Puel is making City a team to be feared again - a development that can only be welcomed by all within the Foxes’ fan base.

Newcastle (4-4-2): Darlow: Yedlin, Lejeune, Clark, Manquillo; Ritchie (Atsu 64), Hayden, Merino, Murphy (Perez 71); Joselu (Mitrovic 88), Gayle. Subs not used: Elliot, Lascelles, Shelvey, Diame.

Scorers: Joselu 4, Gayle 73           Bookings: Lejeune, Hayden.

City (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Iborra, Ndidi; Mahrez (Fuchs 89), Gray (Okazaki 73), Albrighton; Vardy (Ulloa 90). Subs not used: Iheanacho, King, Hamer, Dragovic.

Scorers: Mahrez 20, Gray 60, Perez (og) 86.       Booking: Gray.

Referee: Neil Swarbrick.     Attendance: 52 117.

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation

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Going to Southampton ?

Southampton SO14 5FP

By Car

From the M3 take the A33 into Southampton. Continue on the A33 until you reach the junction with the A3024 Northam Road and turn left onto this road towards Northam. Then turn right onto the B3038, Britannia Road for the stadium. 

Southampton Football Club advises all supporters not to travel by private car into the surrounding areas of the Stadium. Due to parking restrictions operating on a match day they recommend all supporters to use local City Council Car Parks. 

The Club recommends that you make use of the following City Council Car Parks:

1. Bedford Place Multi-storey Car Park – SO15 2QW

2. Grosvenor Square Multi-storey Car Park – SO15 2GR

3. West Park Road Multi-storey Car Park – SO15 1AP

4. Marlands Multi-storey Car Park – SO15 1BA

5. Eastgate Multi-storey Car Park – SO14 3HH

Parking is also available near the Marina or Woolston and may enable a quicker getaway after the match.

Shuttle buses

In addition to the scheduled bus services, there are shuttle bus services in operation on match days from the Central Train Station and the Town Quay Ferry Terminal. These services will commence two hours before the match kicks off and will continue to run until kick off. The service will also be in operation after the match to take passengers back to the railway station/ferry terminal. The service is not a numbered bus service and will simply say "Stadium Shuttle" on inbound journeys and "Rail/Ferry Shuttle" on outbound journeys.

Simply show your match ticket or season ticket booklet in order to use the shuttle bus service for £2- £3 per return journey.
Bluestar 18 bus goes by the stadium

By Foot

The stadium is about 20 minutes walk from the City Centre and train station and is a sign posted walk route.

By Train

Train takes approx 4-5 hours but you will need to catch the 10-00pm train to get back early the following morning, otherwise it will take 8hrs

Offpeak return £93-70

Where to drink

There are not many pubs located close to the stadium, so the choice for away fans is limited. There is the Waterfront Bar in William Street, which is an area called Shamrock Quay. In the Ocean Village is "The Admiral Sir Lucius Curtis" public house. This large establishment has an an excellent choice of beers, friendly bar staff and a mix of both home and away fans'.

Most fans seem to end up in the city centre before the game, where there are plenty of pubs to choose from. Please remember though that if you do drink in the centre, that the stadium is a good twenty minute walk away. Otherwise alcohol is served within the ground.
 
Please check the cost and times of trains etc. All information is provided in good faith but the Foxes Trust cannot be held responsible for any errors. With thanks to Southampton FC and the Football Ground Guide

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Next Up – Newcastle – 9th December 2017

Next Up – Newcastle – 9th December 2017

Manager Rafael Benitez

Founded 1892 Ground St James' Park

Address St James' Park Strawberry Place Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4ST

Capacity 52,345
Squad:

1              Republic of Ireland         GK          Rob Elliot

2              Republic of Ireland         DF           Ciaran Clark

3              Wales                               DF           Paul Dummett

4              England                            MF          Jack Colback

6              England                            DF           Jamaal Lascelles (captain)

7              England                            FW         Jacob Murphy

8              England                            MF          Jonjo Shelvey

9              England                            FW         Dwight Gayle

10           Senegal                             MF          Mohamed Diamé

11           Scotland                            MF          Matt Ritchie

14           England                              MF          Isaac Hayden

16           England                              MF          Rolando Aarons

17           Spain                                   FW         Ayoze Pérez

18           Dem Rep of the Congo    DF           Chancel Mbemba

19           Spain                                   DF           Javier Manquillo

20           France                                 DF           Florian Lejeune

21           Spain                                   FW         Joselu

22           United States                     DF           DeAndre Yedlin

23           Spain                                    MF          Mikel Merino

24           Senegal                                MF          Henri Saivet

25           France                                  DF           Massadio Haïdara

26           England                                GK          Karl Darlow

27           Spain                                     DF           Jesús Gámez

30           Ghana                                   MF          Christian Atsu

41           England                                 GK          Freddie Woodman

42           England                                 DF           Jamie Sterry

45           Serbia                                   FW         Aleksandar Mitrović

We have tried our best to ensure factual accuracy at the date of going to press – apologies in advance for any errors or out of date information.
For the very latest updates please follow the link below to the club web site: http://www.nufc.co.uk

Going to Newcastle ?

Newcastle 

By Car  NE1 4ST

At the end of the A1(M) continue on the A1 and then the A184 towards Newcastle. Continue along this road, bearing left onto the A189. Continue over the River Tyne on the Redheugh Bridge, from which the ground can be clearly seen. Carry on straight up the dual carriageway (St James Boulevard). This leads directly to the Gallowgate end of the ground. As the ground is so central there are a number of pay and display car parks in the vicinity.

An easier way into the City is to stay on the A1 until the exit for Westerhope. Leave the A1 go straight over two roundabouts and then follow the signs for the Royal Victoria Infirmary (Queen Victoria Road) - parking here is in a multi storey and allows a reasonably quick getaway after the game.

Two park and ride schemes are currently in operation: from Newcastle Great Park (just to the west of the A1) and also the 'Soccerbus' that operates from Metro Centre. With tickets on sale on the buses for £2 return, this offers a great way to avoid the hassle of finding (and paying for) a parking spot in the city centre. The Park & Ride site is ideally located just off the A1 at Newcastle Great Park. It is well signed within Newcastle Great Park and is just one minute from the junction with the A1 - City North/Gosforth (A1056). For those with Sat Nav use the NE13 9NR - the Park & Ride site is on the opposite side of the road to the SAGE building. No need to book, just turn up on the day - both park and rides are operational from around 3 hours before the game and 3 hours afterwards to make your journey as flexible as possible.

Approx 186Mls 3 hours 20 mins

Pubs

You are only a few minutes walk from the main shopping areas of Newcastle. There are plenty of bars to choose from in the city centre, but most away fans tend to favour the pubs opposite and around Newcastle Railway Station. The 'A Head Of Steam' 'The Lounge' and 'O'Neills' are all recommended, but some of these bars will only admit fans if colours are covered and none of them admitted children. Also nearby is a Wetherspoons outlet called the Union Rooms.

By Train

Newcastle Central station is located around 15 minute walk from St. James' Park, and is well signposted. Cross the road from the station, and walk up Pink Lane, passing the Forth Hotel. Turn right onto Clayton Street, then left onto Westgate Street. Outside Tilleys Bar, bear right onto Bath Lane, passing Fujiyama Restaurant. After 200 metres, turn right and then left onto Gallowgate, and the ground will be obvious from here. 

Alternatively, take the Metro from Central Station to Haymarket. Cross the road, and turn left. At Mordon Street (next to the Goose), turn right and then left, walking around the back of Eldon Gardens. The ground is at the end of this road (Strawberry Place), just beyond the Strawberry Pub

Trains take approx 3 hours 20 mins going, last train to get back Saturday is 19-35 which takes nearly 5 hours  Off peak return £102.40

By Bus

Newcastle has two major bus stations, Haymarket (for services from Northumberland and the North) and Eldon Square (services from County Durham and the south). These are located adjacent to each other on Percy Street, next to Haymarket Metro station. From both bus stations, cross over to the far side of the road, then walk up the passageway next to the Goose public house, and turn left. 

The Stagecoach buses which operate within Newcastle and Gateshead city boundaries do not stop at either of the bus stations, but stop in the centre of town, from where the ground is signposted and easily walkable.

Please check the cost and times of trains etc. All information is provided in good faith but the Foxes Trust cannot be held responsible for any errors. Thanks to the Football Ground Guide.

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SEASON’S BEST ENABLES CITY TO OVERCOME KANE’S MEN

CITY 2 SPURS 1

REPORT BY EDDIE BLOUNT

In the corresponding fixture last season, playing without a centre-back in sight, we were hammered 6-1, so this was the sweetest of victories and provided three valuable points that most City supporters will not have budgeted for. Best of all this was the performance of the season to date with City just beating a talented and committed Spurs team in a thrilling, not to say occasionally nerve-wracking match.

The first half was the epitome of all that makes the Premiership the best league in the world to watch with both sides able and willing to change defence into attack given the slightest opportunity. Thus the game swung from end to end with a plethora of possible chances at both ends.Vardy had already caused Lloris twice to sprint yards out of his penalty area to cut off through balls to the striker so in all probability Vardy must have realised that at some stage he might have to chip the keeper. If so he was spot on!

On 13 minutes Maguire intercepted a Spurs clearance and characteristically pushed on over half-way from inside his own half before sending an accurate pass to Albrighton standing out on the left touchline. Then the magic really began! Albrighton swivelled the ball on to his right foot and produced the most sumptuous of chips over and between the well-positioned centre-backs. Simultaneously the Premier League’s most predatory striker flashed past the covering defence whilst carefully checking the flight of the ball before positioning himself at full speed to allow the ball to drop over his left shoulder. What happened next took us all by surprise when Vardy without giving any clue as to his intentions incredibly chip-volleyed the ball over the inevitably on-rushing Lloris who was left totally stranded as the ball bounced into the corner of the empty net. Cue deserved pandemonium! You will be pushed to see a better goal anywhere anytime!

The reverse stimulated Spurs into further increasing their efforts and they should have equalised when Sissoko put through by Kane shot straight at Schmeichel with the clearance made by the excellent Iborra as the ball spun towards the goal. They had another good chance when Dele Alli failed to beat the City keeper from close in, the ball finally trickling wide.

It was clear that one goal was not going to be enough and just as we were hoping for the half-time whistle to give us some relief the magic returned. Simpson intercepted the ball in the City penalty area and began a series of close passes mostly made under pressure which got the ball up to the half-way line, Ndidi in possession. He slid the ball out to Mahrez, wide right in space for the first time in the match as Spurs had double-marked him from the start. Mahrez moved menacingly on an increasingly diagonal path towards the Spurs goal, accelerating as he approached the penalty area. At this point I knew that Spurs were in big trouble! They were! The Algerian winger simply drove across the penalty area until the angle was what he wanted and released a sublime left-foot curler which found the top right corner of Lloris’ goal. Amazingly we had seen not one but two supreme goals. Spurs went in at halftime moments later with their tails firmly between their legs!

The second half was a different story. Puel had obviously told the players that ‘What we have we hold.’ This translated into a tactic of sitting back and defending in depth plus not committing too many men to the occasional counter-attack. We still had chances, especially Okazaki and Vardy but we were prepared to concede the majority of possession in an effort to capitalise on our first-half performance. The defence generally did well though sub Llorente and Eriksen both botched clear goal-scoring opportunities. Spurs did manage to get a goal back after 78 minutes when Kane blasted – and I mean blasted – home from close range after a shrewd pass from another sub, Lamella. For the only time Maguire lost Kane, though some linesmen would have flagged him off-side it was that close.

I admit that nerves were somewhat shredded after that but after Llorente’s miss the feeling grew that this was to be our night and thus it was. We now move up to 9th in a tight league but the signs are there that we are becoming a threat for all but the very best, i.e. Man City. It will be very interesting to see how we do against them in the Cup match later this month when presumably both clubs field several squad players.

Finally the match will long be remembered by City youngster Choudhury who made his City debut when replacing the ever-industrious Okazaki some 10 minutes before the end. He did all that could be expected of him in the circumstances with signs of improvement beginning to appear after initial and understandable problems with adapting to the pace of the game. Puel took a gamble when the safer option was to bring on King but it came off. A lucky manager is some way to becoming a good manager!

City:  Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Mahrez (Gray 77), Iborra, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Choudhury 83), Vardy (Slimani 88)

Spurs: LLoris, Sanchez, Dier, Vertonghen, Aurier, Sissoko (Son 57), Dembele (Llorente 69), Rose, Alli, Eriksen (Lamella77), Kane

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation

With apologies for the late publication of this report, our reporter was offline with a technical issue outside of his control

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