Allan Saint-Maximin was the hero as he helped Newcastle United secure a 3-1 win against Burnley at St James’ Park in the Premier League, and move up to 6th in the table.
Both teams were heading into Saturday’s late kickoff on a run of poor results and performances in the league, with the home side in particular looking to impress after barely managing a shot against Brighton and Spurs.Fabian Schar and the aforementioned Saint Maximin made their return to the starting XI, and both men were among Newcastle’s most impressive on the pitch. The Swiss centre back was imperial in defence for the nearly an hour to mark his return from injury.
The Magpies opened the scoring in the 14th minute, where Saint-Maximin received the ball from Callum Wilson, and after some tricky play in front of the entire Burnley defence, the Frenchman found an opening and his shot was perfect enough to beat Nick Pope in the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Former Burnley midfielder Jeff Hendrick should have made it 2-0 before half time: with almost all the time in the world, the Irishman could only find the side netting of Pope’s goal.
The game however was one of two halves, and in typical Newcastle United fashion, they found themselves on the receiving end of a relentless wave of Burnley attacks to open the second half. The away side were soon rewarded for their efforts, as Ashley Westwood’s low driven shot from the edge of the box could not be stopped by Karl Darlow.
But it was another moment of brilliance from the Patron Saint of Newcastle himself that restored the Toon’s lead, as Saint-Maximin with a wicked low cross was met by Callum Wilson at the far post to make it 2-1. And Wilson wasn’t finished there for the night either…
Substitute Ryan Fraser caught Pope with the ball at the goalkeeper’s feet; stealing the ball forced Pope to make a reckless tackle on the Scotsman inside Burnley’s 18 yard box: Wilson converted the subsequent penalty straight down the middle for his 2nd of the night, and 4th of the season.
A successful night for Steve Bruce and his side saw them secure their 2nd Premier League win of the season, and it’s now 7 points from a possible 12 for Newcastle United heading into the international break. Although there are still criticisms to be made of Bruce’s conservative defensive style, one cannot fault his decision to field ASM from the start today, as he was undoubtedly the Man of the Match.