ONSIDE: Defeat may haunt Newcastle United come final reckoning

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RIGHT. Let us get this straight from the off.

Just because Newcastle United fans launch a few “you don’t know what you are doing” chants at a subsequently defensive Alan Pardew does not mean that fans and club are suddenly engaged in civil war or even, as no doubt some clever headline writer will view it, civil wor.

Hopefully any minor unrest will quickly be forgotten about so that all concerned can unite to give the Magpies the best chance possible of Premier League survival.

So I best get my own grumbles out of the way about Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Reading as quickly as you can say Adam Le Fondre.

You don’t pilot an under-achieving club like Newcastle United to fifth like Pardew did last season without knowing what you are doing at least some of the time.

But that does not mean that you are immune from making mistakes.

Starting with Saturday’s substitution of Yohan Cabaye, you can understand from the manager’s point of view that his midfield talisman was always in danger of coming off because it was his first start after a two-month lay-off.

What appeared to anger the crowd more was that Cabaye’s departure followed the substition of the team’s only other mildly creative force, Sylvain Marveaux, five minutes earlier.

Pardew seemed to counter this accusation with a less convincing retort that Marveaux too was injured.

Yet even if the manager was right on both fronts then neither decision makes up for what I consider to be his biggest crime of the afternoon.

Reading’s 97-year-old left-back Ian Harte was slow when he was fast.

So when Gabriel Obertan, quite possibly Newcastle’s quickest and worst footballer in the same breath, came on then you think Pardew would have played him down Harte’s flank? Err, no.

Pardew cannot blame absent players or injuries for Saturday’s second-half surrender to two-goal Le Fondre.

Newcastle still had enough on paper to finish off mediocre opposition like Reading and may regret not doing so come May’s final reckoning.