A dramatic last minute winner saw Newcastle United win 1-0 and secure all 3 points against Chelsea at St James’ Park.
The last time these two sides met, a late Marcos Alonso strike was all that separated the teams at Stamford Bridge. The Magpies headed into Saturday’s fixture without a win in their last 4 league games, whilst the Blues had recorded 2 wins in their last 3 league games.
Early on, there was yet another addition to Newcastle’s ever growing weekly injury catalogue, as Jetro Willems went down in the first 10 minutes, clutching his left leg. He was promptly replaced by Matt Ritchie, who sought to replicate his fine mid week form following on from the 4-1 victory over Rochdale.
The closest chance in the first half came for Joelinton, who was denied by the crossbar in the 21st minute. Meeting Emil Krafth’s cross, the Brazilian produced a well timed header that really should have put the home side ahead.
Chelsea’s best opportunity came from Tammy Abraham in the 79th minute, heading a ball just past Martin Dubravka, but Ritchie was there to clear the ball off the line and keep the game level. Joelinton had another opportunity on goal in the closing stages, but put it wide and into the side netting of the Chelsea net.
With the final whistle looming, Newcastle found themselves with a corner in the 93rd minute, which Chelsea managed to clear as the game seemed to be heading for a draw. But Allan Saint-Maximin, on his first game back from injury, produced a cross that found the head of Isaac Hayden, to finally break the deadlock and raise the roof off of St James’ Park.
Today’s victory means Newcastle return to the top half of the Premier League, one point ahead of Arsenal and level on points with 9th place Crystal Palace. Whilst a win for Chelsea would have closed the gap on Manchester City and Leicester, a prime opportunity for Frank Lampard’s men after Man City’s earlier draw against Crystal Palace.
In spite of the fortunate result, there was more concerns about the lack of possession by Steve Bruce’s side. Recording only 30% at home, their season average is now less than 33%: the lowest in the entire league and 7% behind Sean Dyche’s Burnley.
Newcastle’s next fixture is on Tuesday away to Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton, who beat Newcastle 1-2 just a few weeks ago. Before the Magpies return to St James’ Park to host Oxford United in the 4th round of the FA Cup.