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 monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
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

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower