Newcastle 0 Blackpool 2
Blackpool produced a real smash and grab performance to take all three points in a hard-fought but arguably deserved victory at St James' Park in
front of nearly 50,000 fans.
A contentious Charlie Adam penalty just before the break put Blackpool on their way before DJ Campbell rounded off the proceedings with a fine finish for the visitors in the final minute. In
between an outstanding display from Tangerines' goalkeeper Matthew Gilks kept United at bay.
The 2-0 scoreline may have may slightly flattered the visitors but because Newcastle failed to convert their overwhelming possession and chances into goals, they ultimately got what they deserved.
It was Newcastle's first home defeat at home since Fulham in 2009 over 18 months ago - 26 league and cup games.
The Magpies remained unchanged for the fourth successive Premier League game for the visit of Ian Holloway's side. New boys Haten Ben Arfa, Cheik Tiote and Sol Campbell had to be content with a
place next to Ryan Taylor, Peter Lovenkrands, Shola Ameobi and
Tim Krul on the bench.
Ben Arfa did emerge from the dugout for the last 20 minutes and displayed one or two nice touches but was unable to help his side get a result.
Blackpool carved out the first opportunity in the 12th minute, and Steve Harper had to be at his best to produce a superb double save from Campbell and Brett Ormerod, after Adam split the United
defence to keep the home side in the game.
Twelve minutes later Mike Williamson headed against a post from Joey Barton's well-flighted free-kick of the evenly matched contest. Kevin Nolan then should have given Newcastle the lead on the half hour. He found himself in acres of space but somehow only managed to shoot straight at Gilks,
when he got on the end of Andy Carroll's flick.
And with the half-time whistle approaching the visitors took the lead from the penalty spot. It was a decision referee Lee Mason may have got wrong. Alan
Smith looked to have played the ball first, instead of Luke Varney, but if you go to ground as Smith so often does, it's inevitable he'll fall foul of the referee. Adam stepped up and sent
Harper the wrong way in front of the Gallowgate end.
After the break United pressed Holloway's side but could find no way through his well-organised outfit until Gilks denied Barton on the hour, following the United midfielder's mazy run through the
Tangerines' back line.
Substitute Peter Lovenkrands was the next United player to test Gilks but the visitors' goalkeeper was once again equal to the shot from the edge of the box. And when the ball did go past the
keeper it was cleared off the line as in the case of a Wayne Routledge effort 12 minutes from time.
Three minutes from time Gilks again, broke Newcastle's supporters' hearts when he blocked a Carroll volley which looked destined for the net.
And Campbell put the finishing touches on Blackpool's smash and grab when he curled past Harper from the edge of the box in the final minute.
0-1: Adam 45 pen (Sent Harper the wrong way after Smith was adjudged to have fouled Varney)
0-2: Campbell 90 (curled a delightful shot around Harper from the edge of the box)
Bookings: Vaughan (25, foul), Perch (47, foul), Adam (66, foul) Coloccini (72, foul)
Referee: Lee Mason (Billericay) – Got the penalty decision wrong and arguably the most petty official in the top flight 4
7 Harper: Superb double block early on but helpless to stop two goals
4 Perch: Had an uncomfortable afternoon and now only one booking away from suspension
6 Coloccini: Read the game reasonably well and unlucky not to get a red card for a two-footed lunge
6 Williamson: Picture of steadiness and unlucky not to score
5 Enrique: Not up to last season’s standard and his final ball not good enough on the day
5 Routledge: A few nice touches but did not do enough in the final third after the break
7 BARTON: His performance deserved a better result.
4 Smith: Maybe unlucky with the penalty but you can’t reinvent your career as a defensive midfielder on your backside
5 Gutierrez: Looked busy but always ran down blind alleys and created little
5 Nolan: A few decent touches but should have scored in the first half
7 Carroll: Did little wrong. Won headers; held play up; brought players in and yet ended up on losing side
Lovenkrands (for Smith 63): Unable to provide the inspiration 5 Ben Arfa (for Gutierrez 73): Some nice touches and looks good for future 5
Ameobi (for Routledge 81) (not used): Krul, Campbell, Tiote, Taylor R
BLACKPOOL (4-3-3): GILKS 9; Keinan 5, Eardley 5, Evatt 5, Crainey 5; Vaughan 5, Adam 8, Grandin 6 (Carney 84); Varney 7 (Southern, 84), Ormerod 6 (Harewood 65, 5), Campbell 7.
Subs (not used): Halstead, Euell, Phillips, Edwards
MAN OF THE MATCH
MATTHEW GILKS – would have stopped a rampaging bull should it have tried to get past.