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Sub Standard - 04/09/2002

Sub Standard
In the back of the net!
   John Beresford

Once again we went down to Anfield and were exposed at the back, but you can’t blame me – this time!! Seriously though, you just can’t afford to give the ball away so cheaply when you’re playing teams with the passing ability of Liverpool. How we managed to go into the break level, I really don’t know. However, all the hard work was seemingly undone with a very sloppy goal from Hamman. Something has to change, and with Sir Bobby in charge, it was Newcastle managed to turn things around.

When I saw all three subs coming on at once – at such an early time in the second half, I did wonder if it was a wise move. But with the benefit of hindsight it was a masterstroke. In such a move the whole team was lifted, and I bet the Liverpool defence looked at Robert and Bellamy and wondered what was going to happen.

Shortly afterwards Dabi gave away the penalty and Liverpool looked home and dry. Just a word about Dabizas, I was telephoned by a journalist after the game and I picked up on the fact that he wanted me to throw some mud at Newcastle’s defence – an in particular Dabi. For me, Nikos is having a great season and out of all the defenders he seems to be the one getting to the ball more than all of them. He was particularly outstanding in the away game to Zeljeznicar – probably his best performance for the club in a long time. Two more things about Dabi, he always gives 100% and never looks to hide, and he’s always useful in front of goal. He’s his managers first choice and I agree with Sir Bobby. A lot of the defensive problems were caused by the system of playing such a flat, high line.

However, when Bellamy and Robert got the ball – especially with Gerrard being subbed, you could sense that something was going to happen. They cause much trouble for defences with Bellamy’s runs and Robert’s crosses that even the Liverpool defence was rocking. It was great to see Speedo get the first, but I jumped out of my chair when Al climbed (legitimately) above Hyppia and hammered in the equaliser. If the game had gone on ten minutes longer, I’m sure the three points would have been coming back to Tyneside.

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