Monthly Archives: November 2016

Mitrovic a different man thanks to Rafa

A liability, unproven, reckless? Now a fan favourite and set to fire Newcastle to promotion?

When Newcastle were relegated last May an overhaul was expected and one has taken place which has finally got the club singing from the same hymn book.

One of those players who may have been cast aside under the Rafa revolution was Alexsandar Mitrovic. Often described as a liability, the Serbian had to wait his turn in the early stages of this season and why wouldn’t he with Newcastle winning and striker Dwight Gayle in the form of his life.

However, when Gayle picked up an injury Mitro has come in to lead the line in the last three matches where he has played a starring role in the toon’s latest victories.

Since joining Newcastle, Mitrovic has always been a fan favourite, but his impact on the pitch has often been more destructive than successful.  However, under Rafa, the aggression which is part of what makes him the player he is, appears controlled and is allowing his natural ability as a striker to come to the fore.

Despite the lack of quality in the Belgium league his scoring record for Anderlecht before he joined the Magpies shows if given the chance he will be able to put the ball in the net.

I was at the Newcastle Cardiff game before the international break where Mitrovic was given a huge boost from Rafa. Despite Gayle being fit again, the Serbian was given the nod and he led the line well as the Geordies won 2-1. One moment that stood out was Newcastle’s first goal, with the striker playing a fantastic one-two before setting up Christian Atsu for a tap-in at the far post. You feel earlier in his Newcastle career, he would have been more selfish and it may not have resulted in a goal.

The options Newcastle have available are the envy of everyone else in the Championship and Rafa has a choice of two of the form players in the country to choose from up top. He has already played down talk of starting with both and who are we to argue, one up-front seems to be doing ok doesn’t it.

Benitez taking complete control of the club has been the huge change at Newcastle and is one thing that everyone at the club from Mike Ashley down to those attending on a match day can agree on.

This weekend Newcastle face a very tough looking trip to Leeds United in a fixture that has long been sold out. With Leeds in good form as well everything is set up for a fantastic clash live on Sky on Sunday afternoon. Will Mitrovic or Gayle start up-front? Regardless both could well have a huge role to play at Elland Road.



Darlington 1-1 AFC Fylde Analysis


Coming back from Heritage Park yesterday more than anything else I was proud. Not just of yesterday’s performance, but of what the club has achieved as a whole.

In what could prove to be our final league game at Heritage Park it will have been a time to reflect for many people of where we have come in the last four and a bit seasons.

Every comment seen on our forum, twitter and facebook, from our fans has been positive about yesterday. When we played that first game at Bishop Auckland, most of us will not have known what to expect, but how many would have seen us second in the National North in November 2016.

As for the game itself, what else can be said, a great performance all-round from those in Black and White. We appeared to have the fairytale ending at Heritage Park, only for the linesman’s flag to take a little shine off the day. If that had counted and we had won, it would have been no more than we would have deserved.

Considering the budget and the players that AFC Fylde have at their disposal, you would not have been able to tell which side was the full-time outfit.

For the first twenty minutes we were the better side, without creating much, before the visitors showed why they are top of the table. A couple of players stood out for Fylde, the youngest in midfield and then the obvious Danny Rowe. For a 10/15 spell in the first half he looked dangerous twisting and turning our defenders inside out and his finish was of the quality which wouldn’t go out of place much higher up the football pyramid.

However, what I was most surprised about yesterday, was apart from this spell we kept him and his teammates very quiet, with Rowe rarely getting a sight of goal in the second half. This was from a defence that included Terry Galbraith having to play CB and Jordan Watson, who is yet to have a full run in the team starting at LB.

Liam Marrs had his best game in a Quakers shirt at RB and Josh Gillies once again showed his quality. How it took till nearly full-time for Fylde’s RB to get booked I’m not sure, as especially during the second half, fouling Gillies seemed to be his only way of stopping the winger.

David Syers, who came in for his first start, could have had 3/4 in another match, but finishing wise it was just not his day.

The amount of great set pieces and crosses into the box it appeared just a matter of time until we went ahead, alas it was not to be.

It has to give us hope though that others will be able to take points off AFC Fylde, as well as ourselves in the return game.

My final point on yesterday was the crowd, 2001, a virtual capacity crowd. Our attendances this season have been a great improvement from last year and yesterday was a fitting way to leave Bishop Auckland, if it proves to be the final game.

The next month or so will be an exciting time for all involved in the club and it is guaranteed that the first game whichever one it is at Blackwell Meadows is bound to be a fantastic occasion. It seems like after the last two years though it is destined to be Salford City.

You never know anyway, the FA Trophy draw is tomorrow and if we get drawn at home we will have at least one more game in our temporary home.