Poor Newcastle and Magic Miller Propel Derby to First Win
A corner for Derby in the first 13 seconds may have been an early signal to Newcastle fans that they may leave with nothing, but Newcastle fought back and played some half decent football before Kenny Miller opened the scoring from just shy of thirty yards.
The best chance for Newcaslte actually came from a Derby corner - cleared at the near post, James Milner was able to run with the ball and play in Owen who took it round Derby keeper, Stephen Bywater, but went too wide. His cross was tipped by Bywater just behind Rozenhal, who had burst from central defence to support the attack. Rozenhal adjusted his run but his stretched left foot shot just skimmed wide with two Derby players on the line.
Newcastle still looked most dangerous and had numerous set plays around the Derby penalty area, but the delivery and effort on goal was simply awful.
Then in the space of 30 seconds, Newcastle had a penalty claim turned down and Derby opened the scoring. Dean Leacock marked Rozenhal at every set play in the Derby penalty area - and did a very good job on him all night, though a little physical - on this occasion he clearly had hold of Rozenhal with his arms around his body. The referee was in a good position - seemed to see it - did nothing. In fairness it may have been a harsh penalty to give, but the decision was made extra bitter. Newcastle failed to deal with the resulting goal kick and the ball dropped to Miller 25 yards out. He looped the ball past a stunned Steven Harper.
In the second half Newcastle built pressure, but they never truly threatened an equaliser. More poor set pieces and no creativity in the middle of the park highlighted the fact that Newcaslte may struggle to break down teams who set out to defend.
But the main reason that Newcastle looked poor was because Derby shined. Derby were first to every ball, put pressure on when Newcastle were in possession and never stopped until the final whistle.
Newcastle were slow on the ball with no real urgency, even in the last 10 minutes. Their passing was poor and their support play was lacking. It was an arrogant display from a Newcaslte side expecting to beat Derby comfortably after the drubbing they took from Liverpool.
The Newcastle defense had a relatively decent game other than the goal - though they struggled in the air - Steve Harper didn't have a telling save to make but Derby did look dangerous on the break without producing the final touch.
The performance will have those predicting a fruitful season for Newcasltle - myself included - to look back at previous seasons and wonder whether this will be just another season of disappointment. Hopefully with the return of creative players like Duff, Barton and Emre Newcastle will be able to produce better football in the future
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