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12 January 2013
• Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
Referee: A. Taylor
• Attendance: 26752
Nevertheless, both sides have stopped the rot and will welcome a clean sheet that may just inspire an improved run of form. I've been Tim Poole and you've been great readers. Until next time!
He certainly won't complain though, after seeing his side dominated by the hosts for the duration of the 90. A point might even hurt Chris Hughton such was the level of his team's superiority.
Alan Pardew will be delighted to end Newcastle's run of three league defeats, although his side's form sheet now reads just one win in seven.
FULL-TIME and it finishes 0-0 here in what turned out to be an initially promising contest that did indeed fade away by the minute.
90' + 3'
CHANCE! Surely the last chance of the match sees Holt come ever so close to giving the hosts the three points. His header flies over and the full-time whistle blows shortly thereafter.
90' + 1'
Again, I must stress that the quality of the set-pieces have been absolutely abysmal today. Were one or two of them at least decent, we might have seen some goals today. Norwich waste another one that is cleared before it even reaches the box.
Three minutes of injury time have been added on!
Well, the answer's no - for now, at least. Another free-kick is sent straight into the wall.
A free-kick is awarded to the Magpies in the hosts' half - can the visitors, who have been anonymous for the majority of the clash, steal a winner?
Both managers look nervous and you get the impression a game of chess has broken out - with an impending stalemate the preferred outcome.
Yellow Card Mathieu Debuchy
Mathieu Debuchy's debut finally provides something of note... a yellow card. And a needless one a that - rash challenge.
It is all Norwich at the minute, though my earlier prediction of goals is looking shaky. Can the Canaries find a winner?
Krul is there again for the visitors! Norwich seem to have identified the right flank as the area to consistently exploit and another cross finds its way towards Holt, but Krul gets to the ball before the big front man.
Marveaux delivers another competent corner but the result is far from effective for the visitors. Coloccini unleashes a wild volley on the turn and - while it was certainly fun to watch - Newcastle are no nearer to opening the scoring.
Yet another cross from the right-hand side is sent into the danger area, but a composed Krul collects with ease. The Dutch shot stopper has been solid for the visitors today and could easily be said to be the sole factor for the Newcastle floodgates not having already opened.
The ball finds itself straight down the other end, as Marveaux takes a corner for Newcastle. Nothing comes of it but at least the Magpies have learned that Anita is not the man to take their set-pieces!
CHANCE! For Norwich. The home side are continuing to put the pressure on. Some great play down the right-hand side ends up with a cross finding its way to Pilkington, who turned expertly but had his shot parried by Krul. Another shot was taken on the rebound but sent well over the bar.
Still no sign of a breakthrough whatsoever. Though, with Holt now on, Norwich fans should be confident that if that one chances comes... They will have a man who can convert it.
Holt was given the captain's armband as soon as he came on. The previous holder, Martin, showed no hesitation in handing it straight over.
Pilkington goes from hero to villain, however, as his corner goes straight to the goalkeeper's hands once more. The level of set-pieces today has been simply dreadful.
The home side are now piling on the pressure as a quickly taken free-kick leaves Pilkington free down the left side of the danger area. The midfielder smashes his shot across the box and Williamson clears it for a corner.
Pilkington sends a cross into Holt - just what the Canaries need - but the service lets the front man down as an air ball drifts way over the Norwich captain's head.
Loud cheers from the home support as Holt is brought on, and my calls for him to enter the fray are vindicated.
Now we're talking! Russell Martin almost bags his fourth goal in three league games with a sensational volley from range that clips the post and rolls out. Very unlucky there, the defender.
Jackson is bullied off the ball by Coloccini. Any calls for Holt's introduction?
Marveaux makes a cracking run down the middle and launches a stinging shot at goal from range. The ball whistles over but provides Newcastle's most dangerous moment so far.
Both sides swap roles as Anita attempts a low through ball and the Canaries pump a long pass up towards Snodgrass. Neither move proves effective.
Will either manager look to make changes? This game has potential, surely neither side will want to settle for a 0-0 draw when one moment of magic could turn the tide?
Snodgrass sends a low cross into the Newcastle box. It is dealt with by a dramatic lunge from a Newcastle defender. The pass, however, was not going to a Norwich shirt. Rather dramatic lunge indeed.
That substitution was the first 'event' of the game. And that says it all. Although it doesn't do justice to a lot of good work being carried out in the middle of the park by both sides.
You can see what the hosts are trying, quick passes into space along the ground. But it's not bearing fruit at the moment. Yohan Cabaye comes on for Obertan, meanwhile. A welcome sight for Magpies fans.
Almost providing that cutting edge is another effective through ball from the Norwich midfield, but a brilliant sliding tackle stops the ball from reaching Snodgrass down the right wing.
I initially predicted goals and a fast-paced encounter... I'll stick with those predictions but a 0-0 seems more likely to play out after 53 minutes of play. There is still a quick pace to the game, but it certainly lacks cutting edge.
Another poor cross inspires another clearance. This time it's a Norwich cross, although Garrido linked up well with Pilkington in the build-up.
The pressure almost pays off as Hoolahan tries another cheeky through ball, but it is duly cut out by the Newcastle defence. The Magpies look to counter immediately but the ball ends up behind the goalposts after a very poor cross indeed from Obertan.
The home side have had all of the ball in the opening five minutes of this second half, with the visitors yet to get a look in.
The Canaries look to have come out with poise and purpose after the restart. Johnson comes close with a shot from the edge of the area, which is deflected out for a corner.
And we're off again, the hosts kicking off the action in this second half.
Either way, ready-set-go, we should be in for an entertaining second half. The bottom line is that even a 0-0 draw ends winless runs for both sides. Can't be bad, eh? Join us for the resumption soon!
The Canaries, meanwhile, are in a similar position. Some of their midfield work has been the highlight of the match so far, with Hoolahan, Pilkington and Snodgrass linking up to extremely good effect. All the hosts need is an end product. Jackson must find his range, or of course there is a fellow called Holt on the bench...
An uneventful half, devoid of many clearcut chances, is brought to a close. But there are signs of promise for both sides if either manager looks closely enough. If the visitors can continue pressing and get Papiss Cisse on the ball with space, they may well be able to make a mark on this game.
HALF-TIME here as the referee decides no added time is needed and draws the half to a close right on the 45-minute mark.
This time, Anita's corner stays on-field but goes straight into the hands of Bunn. Perhaps Alan Pardew should consider assigning his corners to someone else.
Newcastle using the space well now, but as soon as the ball enters the attacking third, someone simply loses his cool and launches a shot wide. In this case, however, Marveaux's strike has won the away side a corner.
The visitors put together a promising attacking move but Obertan sends the resulting shot (you guessed it) way over the bar.
Admittedly, while the game has been far from dull, the accuracy of either side's shooting has left a lot to be desired. Newcastle shade possession by 53% to the home side's 47%, meanwhile.
Jackson holds off two Newcastle defenders to win Javier Garrido another throw-in. But Pilkington sends a shot way over the bar thereafter (it was perhaps worse than Jackson's earlier). He must have left his shooting boots at home.
As is often inevitable in such an encounter, the pace of the game has slowed and the players look settled to go into the break level. However, this is by no means fading into a 'boring' game, with both sides still pushing and probing each other.
Incisive cross from the Newcastle left-back forces a corner after a great sliding clearance. But Anita, unbelievably, sends the corner into the side-netting without the ball even entering the pitch. Absolutely terrible set-piece.
Anita curls a good free-kick into the Norwich box but it is cleared once more. I think we can safely say - and no sarcasm intended - that the goalless scoreline is purely down to solid defending so far today.
Another ambitious through ball from the Canaries midfield but Snodgrass is this time given offside. A key player he remains, nonetheless. Great signing, the former Leeds midfielder.
Snodgrass does supremely well to beat two defenders but misplaces his cross and hands the initiative to the away side, although the ensuing counterattack only leads to a throw-in for the visitors.
The prolific striker is on the bench and may be introduced later on. Both sides are perhaps currently lacking that spark in the box. Some very promising midfield battles developing, though.
Krul collects a tame header from Snodgrass, but the move was an effective one. Good passing from the home side, the ball distributed out wide and a good cross whipped in. The only thing missing: Grant Holt on the end of it.
After David Luiz's haircut, only Marouane Fellaini remains a rival to Fabricio Coloccini's throne as the king of Premier League haircuts. The Argentine defender clears the ball out for a corner, which is also subsequently dealt with by the Newcastle defence.
An inviting through ball into the box from Hoolahan almost released Jackson but Krul came out to bravely collect. Incisive pass from Hoolahan, nonetheless.
It has got to be said: I've seen a lot of 0-0s in my time but this game has certainly been a lively, entertaining encounter, despite there being no goals so far. And the way it's going, a ball should be hitting the back of a net sometime in the not too distant future.
Cisse fires a shot in for the visitors but it is low and straight at Bunn between the posts.
The Canaries are finding space well, however, and the away side's defence does appear to be there for the taking.
Back to the subject of Jackson... and it has been a nervy performance from him so far. The home side just found themselves three against two but James Perch tracked back fantastically to clear for a corner.
Another impressive cross from the visitors finds its way straight to Gutierrez, who was well-placed in the box but controlled the ball with his hand and was subsequently penalised.
A wild hit from Jackson.... quite wild. His shot from 20 odd yards out simply keeps on rising. They've just spotted it in the car park outside Carrow Road.
The impressive Mark Bunn must make Chris Hughton feel a lucky manager. It is as though Norwich have two first-choice goalkeepers.
It's the away side's turn to press however as Debuchy sends a cross into the Norwich box and Gabriel Obertan thumps a magnificent volley towards the top-corner of the net. Bunn is on-hand to turn it away, but that was definitely the closest anyone has come to scoring.
A dangerous cross from the home side is collected by Tim Krul, but the hosts are pressing...
A rare venture into the Norwich half sees Jonas Gutierrez race past three Canaries defenders but send his cross wide for a goal-kick.
Hoolahan with some neat footwork for the hosts as he beats his man and whips a quality cross into the box. The visiting defence head clear, however, and are so far proving a match for the home side's efforts.
No clear-cut chances since the first 30 seconds as of yet, but I sense goals in this. Remember, both sides have only won one in of their last six, so should be going all out for the victory.
(Absolutely nothing wrong with long-ball football, I daresay). Just think of Suarez's goal against Newcastle and Van Persie's against West Ham and you realise beautiful goals don't have to be purely tiki-taka.
Tettey almost threads a delicate through ball into the visitors' penalty box but is denied by a sound defensive block. The away side, meanwhile, look keener to pump the ball long.
Dangerous free-kick on the right hand side of the box for the hosts, but safely cleared by a Newcastle header. We may just see a period of dominance from the home side here.
The home side press the visitors in their half and the ever-impressive Robert Snodgrass gets involved in a move that sees the Canaries hold string several impressive passes together. Simeon Jackson eventually loses possession, but we will see much better from him as the game progresses, I am sure.
Newcastle have just about edged possession so far (although it has only been three minutes) and both sides look raring to go, with a fast-paced pin-ball like opening setting the trend (hopefully) for the rest of the 90.
We kick-off here and straight off... a CHANCE! for the away side. A clean ball was whipped in and within 30 seconds of play the ball was in the Norwich box, but Bunn collected well in the face of danger from Papiss Cisse.
So, put your seat-belts/Arsene-Wenger-jackets/blankets on and get ready for another afternoon of Premier League drama. To quote the Lakeside MC... let's... play... (well ok, football in this case obviously). Go!
And for the visitors, Pardew has rung the changes from last Saturday's cup defeat to Brighton. The starting line-up for you: Krul; Debuchy - who makes his debut at right-back for the Magpies - Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Perch, Anita; Obertan, Marveaux, Gutierrez; Cisse. Meanwhile, the subs bench consists of Harper, Tavernier, Bigirimana, Cabaye, Amalfitano, Sammy Ameobi and Ranger.
Team news for our 3pm kick-off: the home side line-up with Bunn; R. Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido; Pilkington, Johnson, Tettey, Snodgrass; Hoolahan; Jackson. Skipper and top-scorer Grant Holt is restricted to starting on the bench due to fitness concerns, and is joined by Rudd, Fox, E. Bennett, Barnett, R. Bennett and Kane.
Combined, both of today's teams have achieved just two wins in their last 12 games, so managers Chris Hughton - against his former side today, lest we forget - and Alan Pardew will no doubt see today's encounter as an opportunity to kick-start a run of form for their respective sides.
However, the best both sides can hope for is a one place rise in the Premier League standings. Norwich - currently 12th - could go 11th with a win, while the visitors could jump from 15th to 14th. Note, though, that Newcastle have not win a single away match so far this season.
Today's game is guaranteed to bring some much-needed respite for at least one side as both teams are on losing streaks heading into the 3pm kick-off. Norwich have lost their last four league games, while Newcastle have lost their last three. Even a draw, therefore, will provide some welcome news for the bottom-half sides.
Greetings and an afternoon of peace (but thrilling Premier League excitement!) to you all. Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! play-by-play commentary of Norwich versus Newcastle; I'm Tim Poole and you - no doubt - are the devoted fans that make football the great sport it is.
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