Newcastle United made it back-to-back Premier League wins after a difficult 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon.
After Newcastle experienced a horrendous outbreak of positive Covid-19 cases, which forced their game against Aston Villa to be cancelled, there was much talk and mystery about who Steve Bruce had as options.
The most notable absentees were Allan Saint-Maximin and Newcastle’s three top centre-backs in Fernandez, Lascelles, and Schar. In their place, Isaac Hayden was deployed into the defence alongside Ciaran Clark.
The Magpies got off to a perfect start, with Callum Wilson winning an aerial ball inside the West Brom half. He then played it through to Joelinton, whose incisive pass found Miguel Almiron, who curled it round Sam Johnstone to make it 1-0 with only 19 seconds on the clock!
The strike from the Paraguayan is the 2nd fastest goal ever scored by Newcastle United in Premier League history: only Alan Shearer has scored one in a quicker time, when he netted after just 10 seconds against Manchester City in 2003.
Joelinton almost made it 2-0 in the 33rd minute. Receiving the ball from Matt Ritchie’s quickly-taken free kick, the Brazilian skilled his way around Branislav Ivanovic, but couldn’t beat Johnstone at the near post.
The Baggies came close to equalising at the end of the first half, with the chance falling to Connor Gallagher, but he put the ball wide of Karl Darlow’s net.
Having all the momentum prior to entering the second half, West Brom capitalised and deservedly made it 1-1 in the 50th minute. Matt Phillips’ cross looked to be heading straight to Jamal Lewis, but Darnell Furlong beat the left-back to the ball, making a sweet connection and unleashing a powerful strike into the bottom left corner.
Too often during Steve Bruce’s tenure have Newcastle United sat back and invited teams to attack them, even against a relegation candidate like West Brom. The Magpies paid the price for this style of football in this game.
The rest of the game was an end-to-end affair, and looked to be heading towards a draw. But a moment of magic between two substitutes restored Newcastle’s lead.
As the home side searched for a winner, Jamal Lewis and Emil Krafth made way for Dwight Gayle and Jacob Murphy. A sensational cross from Murphy found the head of Gayle and made it 2-1, as they closed out the rest of the game for all three points.
Whilst West Brom were arguably the better team for much of the 90, it was ultimately two former players on loan at West Brom that sunk them today.
With the win, Newcastle have moved up to 11th place in the Premier League table with 17 points. The prospect of being in the top half by Christmas Day is looking increasingly more achievable for Steve Bruce’s side.