Alan Pardew said he needed everything to go for him if he was to beat Manchester City for the first time as Newcastle United manager.
As it was, absolutely nothing went for him on a day of disappointment, controversy and also hope – because United were the equal of a side who are in the hunt for four trophies.
The decision to disallow Cheick Tiote’s goal in the first half was the wrong one.
True, Yoan Gouffran was in front of Joe Hart, but these days that is never given as an infringement unless the ball hit off the Frenchman, which it plainly didn’t.
The law is a bit of a mess. You could argue for both sides of the debate regarding whether a player is interfering with play or not.
However, it all goes back to the point Tiote’s goal would have been awarded by almost any other referee. Mike Jones did not have a great day.
If that wasn’t bad enough for Pardew, Loic Remy had to a great chance to score in the second-half, which he blew.
Not wishing to labour a point, but the club really need to bring in another striker this month.
Bad luck played its part yesterday, but it was another defeat for Newcastle. That’s four in a row now and the season has started to unravel just a little. However, Newcastle played well aside from their slow start.
The early opening goal was just so Manchester City.
Quick passing, good movement off the ball and a deadly finish. Helped by the fact Newcastle’s didn’t do a huge amount to prevent it.
Just eight minutes had passed when David Silva pirouetted to get some space and he fed a ball inside Yoan Gouffran to Aleksandar Kolarov, who had galloped down the left wing.
His low cross was aimed for and found Edin Dzeko who had lost Steven Taylor – and he sent his shot into the top corner.
It could have been worse almost straight away when Kolarov’s low cross was just missed by Alvaro Negredo.
The Spaniard went close again after quarter of an hour when somehow he was allowed a free header from a Sikva cross that was just over.
You feared the worse at this stage, but Newcastle slowly got a foothold in the game and played decent stuff at times in the middle of the park.
The trouble was every time something appeared to be happening, Yaya Toure rather un-sportingly was in the way. He is some player.
Taylor came close to equalising on 32 minutes when he met a Yohan Cabaye cross at the near post and couldn’t quite get his effort on target.
Then Cabaye tested Joe Hart with a fine shot from an angle after he was picked out by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s long ball. Then, on 36 minutes the game changed. If this was 1984 then Gouffran was definitely offside as the ball fizzed past him into the top corner courtesy of Tiote’s superb left-foot shot. This isn’t 1984.
Referee Jones seemed to originally give the goal, had a rethink and after consulting with his assistant, who hadn’t raised his flag, reversed his decision.
Don’t give me the fact anyone was interfering with play. That goal stands 99 per cent of the time.
Pardew couldn’t believe it and neither could the home fans who vented their fury at Jones.
You had to feel sorry for Tiote. He won’t hit another ball so sweet.
After that, Newcastle played well, but with only Remy playing up front it made breaking down the City all-but impossible.
The second half was a tale of missed opportunities. Remy was through on goal on 50 minutes thanks to a Sissoko pass, but didn’t trust his left foot and didn’t shoot. Tim Krul was at his best on 55 minutes when Negredo got a header on target as he out-muscled Taylor, and the Dutch goalkeeper did superbly to get behind the ball.
Cabaye had a number of shots on goal, the best coming on the hour when Hart did well to save down at his right.
Then Remy missed another one. The ball fell kindly to him when Pablo Zabaleta and Vincent Kompany got in the way of one another, but the striker hit his shot too near Hart who saved with his legs. That was as big a moment as the Tiote ‘goal’. He should have scored.
Deep in injury time, Negredo ran through on goal, his shot was saved by Krul andthe ball luckily hit off the striker, who then rolled it in from a few yards, It was that kind of a day.