Steve McClueless Running Out of Time and Excuses as Magpies Fail to Inspire at the Britannia

Steve McClueless Running Out of Time and Excuses as Magpies Fail to Inspire at the Britannia
Mar 3, 2016

Newcastle Stoke

A solo Shaqiri strike separated the two sides at the Britannia on a night which quality was at a premium on a windy evening in Stoke.

Rob Elliot could only look on as the man formerly of Bayern Munich and Inter Milan put the hosts in front.

Newcastle’s lack of creativity and cutting edge in the final third was there for all to see as it took 92 minutes for the Magpies to produce their first real chance of the evening.

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Stoke dominated the early stages but it was Newcastle who had the first piece of attacking play of note as Mitrovic had his shot blocked on 4 minutes.

Shelvey then attempted a shot from outside the box which was easily dealt with by Butland on 5 minutes.

Phil Bardsley’s looping cross on 12 minutes was awkward for Elliot, but the Irishman managed to punch it out of danger.

On 14 minutes, Shaqiri had a low effort saved by Elliot at the near post.

Mitrovic got on to the end of a Shelvey free-kick on 21 minutes, but his header lacked power and was easily gathered by Butland.

Newcastle struggled to keep hold of the ball as Stoke pressed high up the pitch, making life uncomfortable for the visitors.

Bardsley was forced off with injury around the half-hour mark as Marc Muniesa came on to replace the Scotland international.

Newcastle ended the first half on the front foot but it was scoreless at the break, with neither side looking like scoring any time soon.

No substitutions were made at the break as the sides re-entered the pitch to begin the second half.

Gouffran attempted to take on the whole Stoke back four but was easily dealt with on 54 minutes.

The Potters flew down the other end a minute later as Afellay’s strike was hit over the bar.

Crouch and Diouf entered the match for the Potters on 69 minutes as Mark Hughes looked to change things, meanwhile McClaren remained content with the way the match was playing out.

Riviere replaced the injured and ineffective Gouffran with a little less than 20 minutes to go.

McClaren was punished for being content with a point as Shaqiri blasted the hosts in front with just under 10 minutes to play.

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McClaren threw on Perez and Doumbia but it was too little too late for McClaren’s men, despite a late chance for Doumbia which was brilliantly saved by Butland with a strong left hand.

Newcastle never looked like scoring and didn’t deserve anything from the match.

McClaren’s decision to start Gouffran over the likes of Perez and Aarons showed he set up his side for a draw, and it backfired.

As for Stoke, they were not at their best but they have players who can create something out of nothing, something Newcastle don’t seem to have at the minute.

Pressure on McClaren is growing, and if he fails to secure all three points against Bournemouth on Saturday, he could find himself without a job with the final ten games of the season still to play.

Match Ratings

Newcastle United: Elliot (5), Janmaat (5), Taylor (5), Lascelles (5), Dummett (4), Sissoko (2), Shelvey (5), Colback (3), Wijnaldum (4), Gouffran (2), Mitrovic (3)

Subs: Riviere (3), Perez (5), Doumbia (6)

Stoke City: Butland (7), Bardsley (5), Cameron (6), Wollscheid (6), Pieters (6), Shaqiri (7), Whelan (6), Imbula (5), Afellay (6), Arnautovic (6), Walters (4)

Subs: Muniesa (6), Crouch (4), Diouf (4)

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