To all those doubters in the pub…

Thursday, November 2, 2006 23:07 | Filed in Newcastle United

that’s why I said Tim Krul was one to watch.

In short, the 18 year old goalkeeper came in for his Newcastle United debut tonight in Sicily against Palermo, who were joint top of the Italian League. Palermo felt confident enough to rest a number of their regular players, whereas Newcastle were without Owen, Dyer, Parker, Duff, Ameobi, Martins, Carr, Babayaro, Given and Harper owing to injury and had a number of players struggling on with minor injuries. Palermo showed why they thought they could afford to rest players as they controlled possession for the majority of the game, but found Newcastle’s defence resilient and difficult to break down (yes, that’s our famously leaky defence who have now conceded a grand total of one goal in our last five matches). And when they did manage to break the defence down, Tim Krul kept them out time after time. On the one occassion they did get the ball past him, Craig Moore was on hand to keep it out of the net.

And then Albert blooming Luque goes and scores (okay, I could have scored from that cross, but still…).

I know I’ve been critical recently, and, to my mind rightly so, but the lads were exceptional tonight and deserve an awful lot of credit. As well as the outstanding Tim Krul, I’ve got to give a mention to Nicky Butt, who looked like the guy that used to prowl around Manchester United’s midfield again, and not the one who moped around ours two seasons ago. Well bloody done.

As a footnote, it would be all too easy to suggest the lads at the excellent unofficial fansite were a bit too negative:

Judging by the squad we are taking, we have already written off the three points from this game and are focussing on having a team to pick for Saturday’s relegation clash with Sheffield

…but before the match I would have tended to agree with them. The squad looked like it was designed for a “let’s try and keep the score down, and for goodness sake don’t pick up any more injuries” plan. But they rode their luck, they defended well, they dug in well and they won. Great, smashing, super — but let’s get some league points too, okay?

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