MAYBE there will be a few more knocks on Alan Pardew’s door this morning.
Newcastle United’s four-game winning streak was brought to an unceremonious end by Swansea City in South Wales last night.
It was bitterly disappointing and bitterly cold.
Had it not been for two refereeing non-decisions – Ben Davies handled a shot from Loic Remy, and a foul on Yoan Gouffran in the box went unpunished – the result might have been different.
But it looked a game too far for previously in-form United, beaten 3-0 by strikes from Nathan Dyer, Jonjo Shelvey and an own goal from Mathieu Dehuchy.
But there was no denying Newcastle were second best on the night.
And United manager Pardew – who revealed on the eve of the game that left-out players had been “knocking on his door” asking to play – now has decisions to make for Saturday’s visit to Manchester United.
Newcastle know they’ll need to be bolder with the ball and stronger without it at Old Trafford, a stadium where the club hasn’t won a game in four decades.
Pardew, without Hatem Ben Arfa (illness) and Papiss Demba Cisse (heel), named an unchanged team.
It was Cisse who had given Newcastle their most memorable visit to the Liberty Stadium in March last year, his two goals seeing a Europe-bound United win 2-0.
But there was nothing memorable about the opening half hour, though Remy did force a fine save from Michel Vorm with a downward header from a right-wing Debuchy cross.
At the other end of the pitch, Alvaro Vazquez – who later limped off the field – and Shelvey missed the target.
Pardew, mindful of Swansea’s overwhelming possession, changed his formation midway through the half.
Moussa Sissoko was switched to a role behind Shola Ameobi, having started the right side of midfield. Remy was also withdrawn into a deeper role, leaving Shola Ameobi as the lone striker.
But chances proved hard to come by for United, who struggled to retain the ball for any length of time.
And Dyer – who replaced Vazquez – put the home side into the lead in first-half injury time with a right-footed effort after goalkeeper Tim Krul had cleared a Alejandro Pozuelo cross from the left.
Swansea, looking to claim a rare home league win, had an urgency about them early in the second half, and Dyer forced a save from Krul with a far-post header.
Ameobi tried a shot on the turn, but Vorm was equal to his effort, while Shelvy shot narrowly wide of Krul’s goal.
Remy couldn’t keep his header from a Yohan Cabaye corner down, but the game was slowly heating up as the temperatures lunged further.
Gouffran broke down the right and cross for Remy, whose shot struck the arm of Davies. Referee Howard Webb waved play on, and Debuchy recklessly slid in on Pablo Hernandez seconds later.
Debuchy – who served a one-match ban for five bookings late last month – was fortunate to stay on the field.
The game had opened up, maybe too much for Newcastle. After a push on Gouffran went unpunished, Pozuelo threaded a through ball between United’s defence for Shelvey, whose shot was blocked by Krul.
But it struck Debuchy, sliding in to challenge Shelvey, and rolled over the line for the home side’s second goal.
Shelvey almost scored a third in the 75th minute with a deft shot, but Krul was able to tip it away for a corner.
But Krul couldn’t stop his 82nd-minute strike, hit first-time from more than 25 yards.
Substitute Massadio Haidara caught Dyer – who had turned the game in Swansea’s favour after coming on – late in the dying minutes, but he also stayed on the pitch.
It was a forgettable night.
And a long journey home for the club’s 1,000-strong travelling support will have seemed that little bit longer today.
Swansea: (4-3-3): Vorm 7; Tiendalli 6, Chico 6, Williams 6, Davies 6; Canas 7, De Guzman 6, Shelvey 8; Pozuelo 7 (Routledge 85), Vazquez 6 (Dyer 29, 7), Hernandez 7 (Lamah 71, 6).
Subs not used: Tremmel, Amat, Taylor, Britton.
Goals: Dyer 45, Debuchy 66 (og), Shelvey 81
Newcastle: (4-4-2): Krul 6; Debuchy 6, Williamson 6 (Yanga-Mbiwa 77), Coloccini 7, Santon 5 (Haidara 56, 6); Sissoko 7, Tiote 6, Cabaye 7, Gouffran 6; Shola Ameobi 6 (Obertan 68, 6), Remy 7.
Subs not used: Elliot, Anita, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett.
Booked: Debuchy, Haidara.
Referee: Howard Webb 6
l easyJet flies to Bristol from Newcastle. Visit easyJet.com to book.