Newcastle’s attacking enterprise went unrewarded as the League Cup-winning party continued at The Liberty Stadium. With less to play for than Newcastle having secured European football last week with a 5-0 hammering of Bradford City at Wembley, it was the visitors who tried hardest to win the game. Sissoko went close, Cisse blasted over and Debuchy volleyed wide as Alan Pardew’s men went in search of all three points in the second half. Yet it was a rare Swansea attack and double eflection that allowed substitute Luke Moore to strike and win the game for the home side.
Swansea started the game as they had left off at Wembley and dominated the early exchanges, Steven Taylor clearing a Williams effort off the line from a clever Michu pass. Yohan Cabaye, captain for the day in the absence of the injured Coloccini tried to drive The Magpies forward from the centre and saw a free-kick flash wide. A series of corners predictably led to nothing for the black-and-whites playing in their passport-Burgundy away strip. The Magpies now have the unenviable statistic of having gone 59 games since they scored from a corner since Demba Ba notched at Molineux against Wolves last season. It was a half of more yellow cards than genuine goal chances as Cabaye and Tiote both went into the referee’s book after Davies’ wild challenge on Gutierrez went unpunished and Newcastle’s midfield sought their own retribution.
A change of mindset at half-time saw Newcastle seize the attacking initiative. Sissoko looked to grab the game by the scruff of its neck with several trademark roving runs yet despite beating several men, he just couldn’t get it past the brilliant Vorm. Cisse’s golden chance came on the hour mark. He was twenty yards out when the ball sat up nicely for a volley yet his chances of repeating last’s week wonder goal went begging when he blasted over. Matthieu Debuchy, always looking to get forward, looked dangerous down the right and when he found himself unmarked in the area, he drilled wide from a Gutierrez cross.
Manager of the moment, Michael Laudrup, joked before the game that he was looking forward to learning from his opposite number, Alan Pardew, who had guided Newcastle to the last 16 in Europe, over a glass of wine after the game.
It was Pardew, however, who should have been taking notes instead of throwing his notebook petulantly down on the touchline after Laudrup’s attacking substitutions paid off to spectacular effect. Moore had only been on the pitch for seven minutes when he capitalised on a deflected Routledge cross, beating Steven Taylor with a dummy before poking the ball past Robbie Elliot after a slight deflection off Cabaye.
Ultimately, the decision to leave the half-fit Hatem Ben Arfa out of the match-day squad entirely was the Manager of the Year’s downfall as Newcastle failed to breakdown a sturdy Swansea defence yet again and missed his penetrative magic.
Newcastle Manager Alan Pardew told the BBC,
“By any stretch of the imagination, for the away team we were the best team today…It was absolutely galling that we’ve lost.”
Galling indeed for Newcastle fans whose spirits on the day were only brightened by the news that loanee Sammy Ameobi scored on his debut for Middlesbrough.
Man of the Match: Michel Vorm
Newcastle: (4-2-3-1) Elliot; Debuchy, S.Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Tiote (Sub: Shola Ameobi, 90), Cabaye (c); Gutierrez (Sub: Marveaux 90), Sissoko, Gouffran; Cisse.
Swansea (4-2-3-1) Vorm; Rangel, Monk (c), Williams, Davies; Britton (Sub: Moore 76), De Guzman; Dyer (Sub: Ki Sung-Yeung, 60 ), Routledge, Hernandez (Sub:Tiendalli 88); Michu.