Season: 2019-2020

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Newcastle United vs Crystal Palace

Miguel Almirón’s long-awaited first goal for Newcastle United gave Steve Bruce’s men a late 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

It was largely a game to forget, as both sides struggled to find much of a rhythm on a chilly afternoon at St. James’ Park which took until the 83rd minute to liven up.

But when it did, the roof came off as Almirón’s controlled first-time strike – which came thanks in part to Andy Carroll’s cushioned knockdown – won it for the hosts, and extended United’s unbeaten home record in the Premier League to eight games.

That fine run, which stretches back to August, has helped Newcastle up to ninth in the table at Christmas – just three points shy of the top five.

Much of the early running in a drab contest was made by the hosts. Almirón’s delicately-weighted through ball found Isaac Hayden, who rounded Vicente Guaita but lost his footing, recovering only when the angle was too narrow to finish.

Guaita held onto shots from Almirón and the returning Florian Lejeune, playing his first game in eight months after overcoming the cruciate ligament injury he suffered against the Eagles back in April, while Christian Benteke headed a fine cross from Patrick van Aanholt wide at the other end.

It was a half of few openings, but quite a few half-chances. Cheikhou Kouyate headed over before Wilfried Zaha, who was generally well handled by the Magpies, found space in the box and fired low across Dúbravka, who got a strong arm to it before gathering.

The visitors’ captain Luka Milivojevic curled a free kick wide and then, after the restart, James McArthur’s clip was blocked by Dúbravka, who was again in outstanding form. The Scot pulled the trigger again minutes later, but his drive was always swerving well wide of the upright.

From there, after the hour, Palace pressed. Van Aanholt’s corner was turned wide by James Tomkins, who almost immediately had to race back to halt Joelinton’s burst into the box. Once more, with 15 minutes remaining, the Magpies were indebted to Dúbravka, who got down quickly parry Benteke’s powerful shot.

Bruce sent on Dwight Gayle in the closing stages and the frontman partnered Carroll, who had shown his worth in his own penalty area in the second half as he helped Newcastle defend a wave of attacks from the Eagles.

And inside the final ten minutes, Carroll’s presence was felt in the Palace box, and it led to the winner. Fabian Schär hooked a high cross over to the far post where the towering forward was lurking, and his delicate knockdown shunted the ball back into the path of Almirón.

After almost a year of waiting, his first goal for Newcastle finally arrived. Guaita got a hand to it but it was always heading for the corner of the net and, when it did, St. James’ Park erupted, the Paraguayan’s shirt came off, and the game was won.

Match report originally posted here.

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Burnley vs Newcastle United

A second-half header from Burnley’s Chris Wood was enough to condemn Newcastle United to a slender defeat in a forgettable encounter at Turf Moor.

A dreadful afternoon weather-wise was matched by a game low on quality. The decisive moment came shortly before the hour mark, with Wood getting up at the back post to apply the finishing touch to Ashley Westwood’s searching corner.

As might have been expected, such situations were where the Clarets looked at their most threatening, not that they came about too often. And while United enjoyed more of the ball than they have been used to of late, rarely did they look like troubling Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope.

The hosts looked to put the Magpies’ backline under pressure early on, pumping a number of balls forward from deep. However, it was United who carved out the first chance of note, with Andy Carroll sending a fifth-minute header wide from Isaac Hayden’s cross. Dwight McNeil swiftly fired a warning shot back the visitors’ way – forcing Martin Dúbravka into a smart parry from 20 yards – before James Tarkowski nodded the winger’s corner wide of the near post.

After a relatively open start, the two sides started to cancel each other out as the first half progressed. Neither were able to build any sort of momentum in the final third, with niggly fouls a feature throughout. Hayden tried his luck from range after being picked out by Joelinton, but the midfielder’s strike was always rising.

A drab end to the first half was followed by a similarly turgid start to the second. The only flicker of goalmouth action in the meantime came courtesy of a hopeful punt forward from Westwood, which bounced between Dúbravka and two Magpies defenders before dropping wide.

With 56 minutes on the clock, though, Federico Fernández was adjudged to have given away a corner after coming under pressure from Wood deep on the Burnley left. In came the delivery from Westwood and, with Dúbravka unable to get near it, the New Zealand international rose high at the far post to head the ball home via the underside of the crossbar.

Ten minutes later, the Magpies’ stopper was forced into a crucial body stop to keep out a strike from Jack Cork, who had robbed Sean Longstaff midway inside the visitors’ half. The midfielder had options to his right but opted to go it alone – passing up a fine opportunity to plunge Steve Bruce’s side into further trouble.

The Magpies’ boss proceeded to go for the jugular, introducing both Dwight Gayle and Yoshinori Muto as the final quarter of an hour approached. And it was the former who squandered United’s only opportunity of drawing level, firing wide first-time from Joelinton’s low cross after the Brazilian outmuscled Erik Pieters.

Match report originally posted here.

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Newcastle United vs Southampton

Newcastle United fought back from a goal down to beat Southampton at St. James’ Park and move into the top half of the Premier League table.

The Magpies rode their luck at times – offering little in the first half and falling behind to Danny Ings’ strike early into the second – but they came to life in the final quarter of the game.

Jonjo Shelvey capped off a remarkable eight-day spell by notching the leveller, before defender Federico Fernández fired home an 87th-minute winner after substitute Sean Longstaff’s strike was parried.

Crucial defensive interventions at either end of the pitch provided the only moments of note during the opening quarter of an hour. Following a period of possession from Southampton, the Magpies were the first to really threaten, with Allan Saint-Maximin embarking on a typically marauding run down the left. He looked to tee up Miguel Almirón inside the penalty area, but Jan Bednarek slid in to deny the Paraguayan a shot at goal. The Saints countered quickly, and only a fine headed clearance from Fernández stopped Ings from meeting Cédric Soares’ teasing cross.

Newcastle nearly shot themselves in the foot after 18 minutes, with Jetro Willems’ mis-hit pass cut out by Nathan Redmond in a dangerous position. The Southampton forward soon found himself one on one with Martin Dúbravka but the Magpies’ stopper held firm, frustrating Redmond for a second time just seconds later after United failed to deal with the resultant corner.

That was as close as either side came prior to the break. The Saints continued to get into one or two inviting positions but lacked a final pass. Moussa Djenepo’s wayward ball with 40 minutes on the clock largely summed up their efforts, the winger having had plenty of time to pick out a teammate further forward after Willems again ceded possession deep inside his own half.

Newcastle looked a little more purposeful as the second half began – Shelvey seeing a shot blocked by Redmond 20 yards out – but Steve Bruce’s side found themselves trailing after being sliced apart by a long ball. Jack Stephens delivered it, Ings ran onto it, and after shrugging off Fernández’s challenge the former Liverpool frontman coolly slotted home.

Things almost got worse very quickly for United as the Saints attacked in their numbers two minutes later. With options either side, Shane Long chose to play in Cédric down the right, and the full back stung the palms of Dúbravka with a fizzing drive.

At that point, a first home defeat since the opening weekend of the season looked a real possibility for the Magpies. However, they managed to steady the ship, and after 68 minutes they restored parity. The move which led to their equaliser was started and finished by Shelvey, sparked by a foul from Cédric on Almirón just to the left of the area. Shelvey’s set-piece was headed away but the attack was kept alive by substitute Andy Carroll, who did superbly to dig in a cross from the right byline for the in-form midfielder to nod in at the far post.

The game now appeared to be there for United’s taking, though head injuries to both Fabian Schär and Paul Dummett halted any momentum they might have been able to build after drawing level. Southampton still posed a threat themselves, full back Ryan Bertrand heading off target from a decent position after Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side won successive corners.

With just two and a half minutes of normal time remaining, though, Newcastle grabbed the goal which continued their upward trajectory in the Premier League. Longstaff had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes when he let fly from 20 yards, and his effort was too powerful for goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to gather. Cue Fernández, who was on hand to smash the loose ball into the roof of the net to complete a fine United comeback.

Match report originally posted here.

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Sheffield United vs Newcastle United

Goals either side of half time from Allan Saint-Maximin and Jonjo Shelvey gave Newcastle United an impressive 2-0 victory at Sheffield United on Thursday night.

Saint-Maximin’s first goal for the club – a smart header after quarter of an hour – opened the scoring at Bramall Lane, though it was mainly goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka’s brilliance that ensured they held their lead until the break.

And with 20 minutes left, and the Blades still pressing for an equaliser, stand-in skipper Shelvey’s second of the week – after his leveller against Manchester City on Saturday – made the points safe with a VAR check confirming his strike, which came as the result of some excellent opportunism from the midfielder.

The result moves Steve Bruce’s side up to 11th in the Premier League table, just two points adrift of sixth place.

Though Saint-Maximin’s goal was the difference at the break, the Magpies were heavily indebted to goalkeeper Dúbravka for his outstanding display in the first 45 minutes. The Blades moved swiftly through the gears early on, and Enda Stevens’ deflected cross would have given them a fifth-minute lead were it not for the visitors’ number one, who turned it over at the last second.

Midfielder Ollie Norwood controlled much of the hosts’ rhythm, while his set pieces were an almost constant cause for Newcastle concern. One delivery, a low corner, found its way through a packed box to Billy Sharp, but Dúbravka just about got there first and blocked it from close range.

Sharp’s strike partner Oli McBurnie curled an effort over as Chris Wilder’s men continued to push, but somewhat against the run of play it was Bruce’s side who went ahead. Isaac Hayden’s shot was blocked but the Magpies recycled the ball, with Manquillo sending over a fine cross from the right and Saint-Maximin stooping to nod his first goal for the club beyond Dean Henderson.

But back came the Blades. Another wonderful stop kept out McBurnie’s header – which looked bound for the bottom corner – while Sharp slid another opening wide and Norwood teed up John Egan, whose header was also well held by United’s Slovakian stopper. Dúbravka would most likely have been helpless, though, had Sharp connected with Jack O’Connell’s teasing centre, which just evaded him in the six-yard box.

Dúbravka – who beat away a Norowod free kick at the end of the first period – continued to frustrate Sheffield United after the restart, jumping up after a clash with Sharp to turn McBurnie’s header over the bar.

Shelvey, disciplined and measured again in the middle of the park, repelled John Fleck’s shot before Sharp tried again with a diving header, with the assistant referee – who had his flag up – combining with Dúbravka’s save to keep the score at 1-0.

But with 20 minutes left, and with the hosts having just thrown on Lys Mousset as they sought a leveller, the Magpies made it two – with the help of VAR. Andy Carroll, on his first start since his return to the club in the summer, won an aerial challenge and flicked Paul Dummett long ball in behind the Blades’ defence. The assistant’s flag went up, with Carroll presumed to be offside, but referee Stuart Attwell allowed play to continue, despite Wilder’s side seeming to have stopped.

But Shelvey saw an opportunity as confusion reigned. He ran onto the loose ball and calmly slotted past Henderson, who had been appealing for offside moments later. Attwell consulted VAR, with replays showing Carroll was onside when he won the header, and allowed the goal to stand, sparking celebrations in the away end.

It was a bizarre way to go 2-0 up, but it all but secured the points for Newcastle. Shelvey’s goal disrupted the Blades’ flow and, though substitute David McGoldrick had a half-chance on the volley soon after, Bruce’s charges protected their lead well to seal a terrific victory on the road.

Match report originally posted here.

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West Ham United vs Newcastle United

Goals from Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernandez and Jonjo Shelvey earned Newcastle United a third win of the season as they beat West Ham United 3-2.

Newcastle took the lead after 16 minutes, Joelinton heading Shelvey’s free-kick across goal for Clark to nod in.

Fernandez doubled the lead six minutes later, heading in from Jetro Willems’ deep cross.

The lively Allan Saint-Maximin was twice denied by West Ham goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez as the visitors dominated the first half.

And it was 3-0 just six minutes after the break, with Roberto unable to keep out Shelvey’s low free-kick.

Fabian Balbuena tapped in from close range to halve the deficit on 73 minutes before Robert Snodgrass made it 3-2 with a well-struck volley.

But Newcastle held on to rise to 15th place with 12 points. West Ham drop to 12th, a point ahead of Newcastle.

Match report originally posted here.

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Newcastle United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Newcastle United missed the chance to pull clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone after conceding a second-half equaliser against Wolverhampton Wanderers at St. James’ Park.

The Magpies led at the interval through Jamaal Lascelles’ emphatic header – just their sixth goal in the top flight so far this season.

Visitors Wolves – who played away in Slovakia in the Europa League in midweek – offered little during the first hour, but restored parity through wing back Jonny, who capitalised on a Martin Dúbravka error to volley home.

United ended the game with ten men after Sean Longstaff was shown a straight red card but, despite coming under concerted pressure late on, managed to secure the point which maintained their unbeaten home sequence in the Premier League.

There was little in the way of goalmouth action at either end of the pitch during a listless opening half hour. João Moutinho shot tamely at Dúbravka two minutes in, while Miguel Almirón directed a mis-hit effort wide of the upright after Joelinton had flicked Sean Longstaff’s free kick into his path. Then, Allan Saint-Maximin – who was, not for the first time this season, the Magpies’ liveliest asset early on – saw a right-footed strike blocked by Romain Saïss on the edge of the visitors’ penalty area.

The first moment of real quality took 34 minutes in coming. Matty Longstaff provided it, spraying a superb pass into the channel for Almirón to run onto. The Paraguayan found himself in on goal but, with the angle narrowing, could only fire into the side-netting.

United were starting to up the ante, though. Saint-Maximin saw another strike from range blocked, before Sean Longstaff watched as a right-footed shot trickled wide via a deflection. Wolves managed to deal with the midfielder’s resultant corner, but it was during the same passage of play that the Magpies took the lead. Federico Fernández kept the ball in play on the right and delivered a superb cross into the heart of the danger area, and Lascelles – who, like the Argentine, had still to retreat back – rose high to plant a powerful header into the net.

Much like the first, the second half took some time to get going. Wolves started to probe but only asked serious questions of the Magpies’ backline in fits and starts. The pacey Adama Traoré looked the most likely to make something happen, and on 57 minutes, the wide-man embarked on a marauding run before crossing for Diogo Jota, who headed off-target.

It was only as United started to drop deeper, though, that the visitors really started to fancy their chances of drawing level. The equaliser came with 72 minutes on the clock, Dúbravka palming Matt Doherty’s cross into the path of Jonny 12 yards out, who duly picked out the bottom corner.

Jetro Willems twice threatened to restore the Magpies’ lead, firing viciously wide of the far post with a quarter of an hour remaining before heading a DeAndre Yedlin cross at Rui Patrício two minutes later. However, United’s hopes of a second straight home victory were dealt a hammer blow moments later when the elder Longstaff was given his marching orders for a mistimed challenge on Rúben Neves near the halfway line.

Steve Bruce’s side did at least manage to hold out for a point, though. The closest Wolves came to rubber-stamping their numerical advantage with another goal came during five minutes of stoppage time, when Doherty – who scored a last-gasp winner for the visitors in the same fixture a year ago – flicked Raúl Jiménez’s dinked cross just wide of the far post.

Match report originally posted here.

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