It was -4ÂºC and there was a good six inches of snow on the roads when I set off for the game yesterday. It was still snowing heavily and there was no sign of any gritters; I wondered whether or not I’d be able to get back home. :-\
After picking Pete up, it took half an hour to get to the bottom of Ripponden Road, so we arrived too late for a space on our usual car park and had to pay a fiver. It was far too cold for a beer on the street and we couldn’t be bothered queuing in the pub, so we went straight down to the ground. That’s the first time I’ve been to a football game without having a beer, it felt… wrong. 😮
United started with van Nistelrooy on the bench again – could he be on his way out of Old Trafford? Saha and Rooney started and were lively throughout. Giggs and O’Pie were paired in central midfield with Ronaldo and Park on the flanks. The back four of Silvestre, Ferdinand, Brown and Neville were hardly troubled, I think Newcastle only managed a single shot on target in the whole 90 minutes. 😕
It was one of those games where you say “United should have been 10-nil up at half time” and that’s no exaggeration. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring after just 8 minutes, taking advantage of a shocking backpass and chipping Shay Given from the edge of the box. He added his second less than five minutes later, finishing off a great move down the middle by Saha and O’Pie.
Rooney had numerous chances to complete his hat-trick but, despite hitting the post and going close several times, just couldn’t find the net again. Saha had half a dozen good chances but somehow botched them all, causing the fans to start chanting for Ruud – a little unfair, probably. Ronaldo also ballooned a couple of decent chances.
Evra replaced Silvestre at half time and had a decent game; van Nistelrooy came on for Ronaldo near the end and had a couple of chances but couldn’t take them. According to Sky, we had 28 shots on goal today – more than I can remember for a long time. It’s incredible that we only managed to put two of them away.
The atmosphere was great though, it always is when we play Newcastle. I’ll actually be sorry to see the back of Shearer when he retires at the end of the season, I always enjoy the abuse he gets for turning United down all those years ago. I can’t say I’ll miss the unintelligible Geordie chants or the row of bare-chested supporters that they usually bring along (it’s snowing FFS!). =d>
Thankfully the gritters had been out and we made it back to Oldham without any trouble.