Match Report: Adam Le Fondre leaves Alan Pardew floundering

Newcastle United 1 Reading 2: Newcastle supporters turn on their team's manager after questionable substitutions lead to a Reading fightback which further extends a disastrous run

St James' Park

By the time the second goal went in, the Newcastle owner, Mike Ashley, had left – his seat, definitely, the ground, perhaps.

Derek Llambias, the Newcastle managing director, was similarly absent when Adam Le Fondre cast a city into despair.

Llambias had returned by the time Andre Marriner signified that Alan Pardew’s side had lost their 10th Premier League game from the last 14 they have played. There were jeers to greet the confirmation of defeat. There had been jeers for the substitutions of Sylvain Marveaux (tactical) and Yohan Cabaye (fitness related). There had been a dismissive wave of his right arm from Pardew to the criticism of that decision. There had been chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing”. No club teeters from success (fifth top in May) to disaster quite so quickly (currently two points off second bottom).

There had been a Herculean effort to clear St James’ Park and its surrounding areas of snow yesterday morning. It started at 7am, when a team of 200 reacted to Pardew’s desire for the game to be on. That collective desire seemed to end around seven hours later, at half-time, when Newcastle deservedly were a goal to the good.

Cabaye had returned to the starting XI for the first time since early November. It made a significant difference. His clever, crossfield pass led to the opening goal, when Marveaux was fouled on the edge of the Reading penalty area. Cabaye stroked the ball over the wall into the goal. It looked so simple, but nothing at Newcastle truly is. The second half implosion was the season lived out in 45 minutes.

There were decisions to be questioned. The use of Shola Ameobi on the right side of midfield. The withdrawal of Marveaux. The inability to defend simple situations, as in the ones that led to Reading’s goals.

Le Fondre cost Reading £300,000. Brian McDermott said afterwards that you could not buy Le Fondre’s right sock for that price now after his stunning double, from the substitutes’ bench. He also gave an impassioned defence of Pardew, who took him to Reading and gave him a start in coaching. Pardew needs that support right now. There has previously been support from the boardroom as well, but Ashley, on a rare appearance at St James’ Park this season, will have noticed two things: the lack of depth in the squad he has spent five-and-a-half years building, and the growing hostility to his current manager.

Pardew was asked if he was concerned about his position. “No,” he said. “I think I’m strong enough and [I’ve] been in situations before that I can deal with where we’re at. We were well set today. There was a good mood in the camp. It can change quickly when you’re down the bottom. The mood was quite good until the second half. You sensed we were losing a grip of the game. Defensively we need to improve, for sure. We wouldn’t have had an ugly day like we ended up having.

“Once they scored, we had a negative tilt on the game in terms of the stadium and the game. Taking Marveaux off was probably a mistake. It perhaps looked negative, and in a way it was. There was a bad reaction to that and that spread to the team. We looked very nervous after that and it was very difficult to turn that situation around. I didn’t envisage losing Yohan Cabaye. He had trained for 12 days. I thought he could get through the game.”

Newcastle didn’t strengthen in the summer. They will rue that decision until the end of a dreadful season. They are close to signing the French centre-half Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. He could yet be a replacement for Fabricio Coloccini, who has asked to leave and will have talks with the club tomorrow.

It was his defensive partner Mike Williamson who lost Le Fondre for the equalising goal, in the 71st minute, after Jimmy Kebe had crossed low from the Reading right. It was the forward’s first touch. There was a suspicion the ball brushed his hand on the way into the Newcastle goal. Six minutes later, it was more conclusive, Le Fondre turning sharply to crash a right-footed shot into the bottom corner of the net.

“I am proud of everyone,” said McDermott. “You don’t concentrate on what is going on in the crowd. We were concentrating on what we had to do. The most important thing was to keep believing.

“Alan Pardew was manager of the year last year. He brought me to Reading so I’ve got a lot to be grateful and thankful for. He is  a fantastic manager. They’ve had their injuries and maybe they didn’t spend in the summer time the way they could have done.” Even the manager of Reading can see that.

Newcastle (4-1-4-1): Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Anita (Obertan, 80); Ameobi, Cabaye (Bigirimana, 75), Marveaux (Perch, 65), Gutierrez; Cissé.

Reading (4-5-1): Federici; Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte; Kebe, Guthrie (Le Fondre, 70), McAnuff, Leigertwood, McCleary (Akpan, 64); Pogrebnyak.

Referee: Andre Marriner

Man of the match: Le Fondre (Reading)

Match rating: 5/10

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style