Posted by Barrie on Sunday, 9 August 2009

Tim Krul saves Newcastle a point

On Saturday evening, Newcastle United started their first Championship campaign with a trip to league favourites West Bromwich Albion live on British national TV.

Newcastle dominated the game in terms of possession but failed to create many chances and even went in 1-0 down at half time with Shelton Martis knocking in a scrappy goal. In the process, Steve Harper, finally starting a campaign as Newcastle's first choice keeper for the first time in his 16 seasons at the club, was knocked out by his own teammate and never full recovered, being substituted at half time.

The former backup to Pavel Srnicek, Shaka Hislop and Shay Given was replaced by youngster Tim Krul, making his debut. The Dutch goalkeeper made a smart save to deny Robert Koren doubling the lead shortly after half time and then Damien Duff finished off a lovely move to equalise for Newcastle. Krul would be in action shortly after, denying Koren again, and as the match drew to a conclusion, West Brom would start to take over with Luke Moore being denied by the feet of Krul and Graeme Dorrans being denied by the reflexes of the day's Tyneside hero with a stinging close-range volley. Krul was however beaten to a cross by tall defender Jonas Olsson, only to be saved by the flag and ensure Newcastle started their campaign with a point.

It's easy to get carried away with a player's performance in one game, and in this case half a game. But Tim Krul has legitamately put himself in contention for the number 1 spot at Newcastle and could cement that place down with similar performances' to Saturday evening. A bright future awaits the former ADO Den Haag youth.

Newcastle showed on Saturday they should not be taken lightly this season. Whilst they still have Premier League standard players in their squad, if they can remain content and play together as a team, they can be challenging in at the right end of the table after a result like this against the division favourites. They will need to create more chances than they did on Saturday and they cannot afford to implode like they did shortly after West Brom took the lead. They will need to string more passes together also, but the A good half time team talk from Chris Hughton turned them around in the second half and an indication he may finally be ready for the job full time.

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