Wolves v Newcastle Utd

Round 23 report by Andrew Shead
Wollongong Wolves v Newcastle United

Can't comment on the Adelaide v Perth game, but Newcastle appeared to send a team of statues plus Esala Masi. Words such as woeful, inept, pedestrian and abysmal are too good to describe the Newcastle performance. Really the Wolves should have won by at least 15, but they butchered as many as they scored, and in the last 20 minutes started playing as indivduals and trying to do too much (not to mention Barlow producing some of the shoddiest goalkeeping I have ever seen - I can't understand why they persist with Barlow when Angelov is a better all round keeper). Apart from the last twenty minutes Newcastle were rarely first to the ball, they hardly won any tackles, their passes generally found Wollongong players and the defenders weren't marking anyone. The crowd reaction at the end of the game said it all. You'd expect after scoring 9 goals, the Wolves would have received a standing ovation. However, the applause was muted compared to normal after a Wolves win. There were even some people booing (they may have been Newcastle supporters, but I think they were Wollongong supporters expressing their disappointment that the Wolves didn't go on with the job at 9-1 up).

Two particular phases of play really sum up Newcastle's performance:

One was Ben Blake's goal. Blake received the ball well inside the Wolves half, ran unchallenged to the edge of the Newcastle area and laid it off to an unmarked teammate. Blake continued his run, still completely unmarked, received the ball back and had plenty of time to pick which part of the net he was going to put it in.

Then, Robbie Middleby (one of the smallest players on the field) on several occasions was on the ground whilst challenged by TWO standing Newcastle defenders, and Middleby was still able to win the ball, get to his feet and elude the Newcastle defenders.

After that performance by Newcastle I wonder if they have some major off field problems. There was no motivation, no heart and no effort put in by anyone other than Masi (who would have had a point to prove after being released by the Wolves last season). Don't be fooled by the last three goals scored by Newcastle, they were the result of very poor defensive work and goalkeeping by the Wolves.