One huge step for City: Newcastle 0 – 2 City

After all the excitement and tension of the derby on Monday, here we were with another huge game on Sunday – and the family derby to boot! Billy and I had set the ground rules: Enemies only for 90+ minutes, not the whole day; Absolutely no texting during the match or half time; neither of us is responsible for anything that happens on the pitch, the ref, or other fans of our clubs! It’s taken a few years for us to learn these rules need setting – I’ll let you guess which of us needed the rules to be set! ๐Ÿ˜‰

We decided to take the bus to town as this is the one fixture a season when I can have a matchday drink or two, and we popped in to see Paul at work on the way. (Work being a betting shop) Billy put a betting slip in front of me but I am superstitious and didn’t want to bet on either the City or Swansea games. Eventually I chose first/last scorer in our match (Ben Arfa for both) and hoped it was a safe enough one to win or lose ๐Ÿ˜‰ On arriving at our usual pre-match pub we soon found the North_East Blues and the Irish Blues as well as some other Blue individuals I know, before Billy’s Toon gang arrived. Pre-match socialising was therefore a whirlwind of trying to see everyone and be everywhere at once for a couple of hours. When I was ready to head to the stadium, I left Billy to his drinking and walked up alone – nerves not quite as bad as they had been earlier, thanks to two halves (of lager) ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good job I am used to those stairs up to level 7 and paced myself though there were plenty of others who didn’t, and a few who were even managing to sing as they climbed.

The consensus of opinion in the pub had been that this was a tough game to call. Two in-form teams with much for which to play. Two loyal followings supporting their team all the way. Two decent managers who have done well this season.

The opening 15 minutes of the match followed City’s frequent pattern of needing to settle into it. We away fans hadn’t sat down (and never did) but if we had, the nerves would have soon had us on our feet I think. We did find our pace and come in to it after this period and in general for this half we had more of the possession and frequently took the ball forwards only to faff about in and around the area trying to tippy-tappy the ball in. By contrast, when they did get the ball, Newcastle made a determined break for goal and looked like they’d take any chance of a shot they could get – my poor heart! Newcastle started to look more dangerous towards the whistle and both keepers made a couple of good saves to keep it 0-0 at half time.

City’s half time team talk must have been good because the second half was all about us; we dominated the game though still couldn’t make the break through and Newcastle still gave us a scare or two. Eventually the obvious substitution was made – De Jong came on allowing Yaya to come further forwards and what a difference this made! Sure enough, our big-game player sent us wild with a 70th minute goal ๐Ÿ™‚ We went nuts in the away end, and despite non-stop singing up to now, we somehow managed to crank up the volume in celebration. Neil, who was next to me, says I burst his eardrum with my ecstatic screaming ๐Ÿ˜€ OMG! Could we do this? We dared to believe and a happy Poznan broke out, giving me more bruises to add to my football tally, but I wasn’t complaining!

A poor quality photo of the TV footage just about showing me finishing celebratory cuddles after the goal:

Both sides then had a couple of great chances that came to nothing and our nerves were as stretched as ever. It didn’t help that as soon as we’d scored, the stadium’s digital clock went off so we couldn’t see how long we had to hang on for. It seemed forever! And then almost at full time, Yaya sent us delirious again with another beautiful goal. Oh how we went wild! Surely now we’d done it? We had 3 added minutes to endure, but then the whistle went and we jumped, cheered, clapped and sang our hearts out! We were so proud and so delighted to have witnessed a great second half performance against an excellent team.

Another poor photo from TV – my back at full time as we were leaving:

The ref was poor in terms of starting off card-happy and booking players without cause and then letting them get away with things for which they more deserved to be booked! However, he was equally so with both teams and certainly didn’t change the game or its outcome. Both sets of fans were excellent, singing in support of their own team rather than abusing the other, and applauded each others’ players which was nice.(See NUFC and MCFC fans’ tweets here) Best chant of the day: “Fergie’s cracking up….he’s cracking up…he’s cracking up.. ๐Ÿ˜€

Eventually it was time to head back to the pub and I walked there with Rick, hoping Billy would get the chance to stay behind for Newcastle players’ lap of honour as it was their last home game of the season. We were walking amongst hundreds of home fans of course, but were touched at how many made a point of wishing us luck with winning the title. When we got back to the pub I headed for the corner where Billy would be when in so he wouldn’t worry about me (I had also sent him a couple of texts of course) and Chris bought me a drink as he was the first of the gang to get back. We had another enjoyable couple of hours in there with friendly Toon v City singing and relaxed banter (a couple of City fans did go slightly too far at one point and it could have kicked off, but they settled down and all was well) and we all watched the Swansea match. There was even a Swansea fan in ๐Ÿ™‚ I think we all expected a home win but I bet Fergie and Co were very disappointed with only 2 goals ๐Ÿ˜€

After a record 3 drinks for me (5 over the whole day) Billy and got the bus back home, munching a picnic on the way. He needed the loo so we popped in to Donnie’s for that and stayed for one more drink to chat with Steph who was on her own behind the bar. SIX drinks! Still, I reckon I deserved it after what City’s put me through ๐Ÿ˜‰

So there we have it – City are in pole position to win the title at the last game of the season the next Sunday. City and ManUre equal on points but we have an 8 goal advantage. You’d hope we can beat relegation threatened QPR at home but this IS City! So my nerves will be stretched to their limits again as the game approaches. As an aside, I’d love QPR to survive (mainly thanks to them having Shaun and Ned in their team) but would like it to be because Bolton have lost their own match rather than having QPR beat us.

Do I dare to start believing yet………?

MCFC’s 60-second highlights here
MCFC’s extended highlights here
Fan YouTube video here
if you fancy getting caught up in the mood
Well respected NUFC site’s match report here – a good read though the author didn’t see our Poznan & Shawcross was booked on his debut for us ๐Ÿ˜‰

Excellent song – listen to the words, try not to cry near the end! ๐Ÿ˜‰ :

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