Date: Saturday 3rd November 2018, 3.00pm
Venue: St. James' Park
1 - 0
Half time: Magpies 0 Hornets 0
65 mins Ki exchanged passes with Salomon Rondon and was bundled
over by Will Hughes on the left hand corner of the Watford area as he received
the return ball.
The midfielder took the resultant free kick, whipping in a dipping right-footed
effort that found Ayoze Perez in space seven yards out, his
flicked header flying past motionless goalkeeper Ben Foster into the roof of the
Gallowgate End net.
The scorer was inevitably mobbed by his team mates, celebrating by sticking his finger
in his ears - either a response to some audible booing from home fans earlier in
the game, or recent negative comments on social media. Or maybe both.
PS: The provider later admitted that he was attempting a shot on goal. 1-0
Full time: Magpies 1
"We needed the first win to have more confidence and hopefully we can
play with the same intensity as we did today and score a couple more goals.
"We had three problems, three substitutions - the reaction of players was
quite good against a very good team.
"It's a great three points. It was a difficult game as they have
confidence - we could have conceded but we could have scored the second
"It was a good game for the fans to watch. I'm really pleased with the
performance. We needed energy and commitment from everyone. The fans have been fantastic all season and today was another example.
The players have tried their best but have made mistakes - starting with
"They have enjoyed that because they have stayed with us. It was a pity
after so many games where it was close we couldn’t do it. But there was a connection today and everybody was pulling in the right
"I have been using all my experience to think about what we could
do to change things. I was reading all my notes from the past, and from
psychology, looking for things you could do.
"I was checking everything. At Tenerife and Valencia, we were winning, so
it was more Extremadura. When you are at Extremadura, it is more normal that
you are at the bottom of the table. You have to analyse things and look at
what you did.
"I am quite old now, I have experience, so I have a lot of notes
about everything I have done. But we were trying everything, and we were so
close, so we decided it was not really a case of having to change this or that
because we were doing so well. We just needed to win to confirm that
everything we were doing was right. Now, we have done that."
"We knew we needed to win. If we continue winning, maybe this will be one
of my biggest results. What I will say is that it is a little bit difficult
when you are doing well, but you cannot win. Then you go to the next game, and
you can feel that confidence is low.
"The feeling is really good because after so many games and training
sessions doing the right things, still we could not win. This was a prize for
everything we did. I'm really pleased with that.
"How important? It could be massive for us. If we can carry on winning
games, it will have been massive."
On the three enforced substitutions:
"Normally players need time to settle down but my players were focused
and knew what they have to do. There are a couple of muscle
problems with (Jonjo) Shelvey and (Yoshinori) Muto. We will see
what is going on.
"Jamaal (Lascelles) had a little problem with his shoulder in a
training session the other day, but we will have to wait a little bit and see
how they are. For Muto, it was the calf, but still
it's too early to know what he has (done).
"As I said before, the three of them made a contribution because they
were working hard, but also on the ball, they were quite good.
"Ayoze (Perez) was trying to
hold the ball and run, looking for the second ball; Ki was good on the ball
and (Fabian) Schar also, we know he has quality on the ball.
"The three of them gave us something
and in a difficult game, we needed maybe these kind of things."
On the owner:
"I wasn't there (when he visited the dressing room), but when I
spoke to him he said 'well done, congratulations - thank you'. He
congratulated the team and then he congratulated the staff.
"He's welcome - he's the owner, He can do what he wants. He hasn't been
to training, but I have no problem with anyone. We have to concentrate on now
and what we have to.
On the January transfer window:
"We have plenty of opportunities to talk about that. We have to maximise
what we have now. The future can wait."
"I think in the first half we played much better, we had more chances -
clear chances - and a lot of them. If you don't score, then from a free-kick Newcastle can score.
to improve for the next game. I can be disappointed with the result but
not with my players. If you do not score and kill the game when you have the chance to do
something like today can happen.
"I like to be demanding and want us to finish better, but we have played
well and need to keep this level. Today was a missed opportunity but
that is football.
"If you ask me about the game or the
result, I can be disappointed today with the result because I think we have done
many things well, but I can’t be disappointed with the way my team played.
"We can speak about how many players
had a good chance to score; Stefano Okaka, Roberto Pereyra hit the crossbar,
Adrian Mariappa, Isaac Success, a lot of players had clear chances.
"We dominated the first half. Creating
the chances we have today when playing away against Newcastle is not easy. We
now need to be demanding and improve.
"I think all of the players have played
well today and we knew if we left space players like (Jonjo) Shelvey would be able to
create from the beginning.
"We needed the strikers to have good
balance for the rest of the team and help us defend well.
"During the game I am demanding of them and I am frustrated with the result
but not the way we played.”
Newcastle won for the
first time in the Premier League this season to end a run of ten games.
In terms of a winless streak in the Premier League, ten games is the
club's worst sequence in a single season, the run that ended today
matching ones from February to May 2009 and from March to May
2015. They also endured a 14 game winless PL run across two
seasons, the closing seven games of 1998/99 and the opening seven games
Victory at the eleventh time of asking meant that United avoided setting
a new all-time record and instead matched their previous worst start in the 1898/99
season, when a 3-0 home success over Liverpool broke a ten game winless run.
Victory denied Watford what would have been a sixth consecutive league and cup
win over us.
Our most recent success against the Hornets before today was a 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road in the
Championship back in February 2010. We also wore white socks that day...
Rafa Benitez completed a half century of victories in all
competitions since taking charge, bringing up his 50 in game no.116
(16 Premier League, 29 Championship, 3 League Cup, 2 FA Cup).
The Magpies registered back to back clean sheets for the first time
since March 2018, when they followed up a 3-0 home win over Southampton by
beating Huddersield Town 1-0 at SJP.
Ayoze Perez opened his account for the season by scoring a 36th
competitive goal for the club. It also ended an 11 game run without finding
the net for him - still a way off his worst dry spell of 14 games in
The Spaniard now has 22 Premier League goals, taking him level
in the scoring charts with Laurent Robert and one behind Kieron Dyer.
Newcastle have scored just four goals in their opening six home PL games
this season - and they were all headers. Only one came in one in
the first half at the Leazes End (Joselu v Spurs) with another three in
the second half at the Gallowgate End (Joselu v Chelsea, Clark v
Arsenal, Perez v Watford). Those three second half efforts were all
scored by substitutes.
Hornets in Toon - all time:
2018/19 won 1-0 Perez
2017/18 lost 0-3
2015/16 lost 1-2 Janmaat
2009/10 won 2-0 Lovenkrands, Pancrate
2006/07 won 2-1 Martins (2)
1999/00 won 1-0 Gallacher
1992/93 won 2-0 Peacock, Lee
1991/92 drew 2-2 Hunt, Clark
1990/91 won 1-0 Quinn(pen)
1989/90 won 2-1 Quinn, Gallacher
1988/89 drew 0-0 (FACR)
1988/89 drew 0-0 (FAC)
1987/88 won 3-0 O'Neill, Wharton, Tinnion
1986/87 drew 2-2 Anderson, McDonald
1985/86 drew 1-1 Gascoigne
1984/85 won 3-1 Megson, Cunningham, Reilly
1981/82 lost 0-1
1980/81 won 2-1 Hibbitt, Shinton
1979/80 lost 0-2
1931/32 won 5-0 Allen 3, Boyd, Richardson (FAC)
Thank **** for
After another week of unwanted headlines and self-inflicted division,
Newcastle at last became United enough again to register their first victory of
the season and climb out of the relegation zone.
The early signs weren't encouraging, a Watford side enjoying their best-ever
Premier League start looking set on registering a third win in as many visits.
Having romped to victory here a year ago by targeting full back DeAndre Yedlin
and scoring three times from left wing crosses, the Hornets unsurprisingly
repeated their tactics and only some thankfully wayward finishing let them
United by contrast saw a bright opening rapidly dim, with only a couple of
efforts from Kenedy to note - neither of which tested goalkeeper Ben Foster.
The siren call of over-priced lager with no view of the pitch became
irresistible for increasing numbers after the half hour mark....
Having opted to pair Salomon Rondon with Yoshinori Muto at the expense of
Ayoze Perez, Rafa Benitez was forced to call the latter into action just
before the break after the Japanese forward landed awkwardly and limped off.
Jamaal Lascelles then failed to reappear for the second half with a shoulder
problem and was replaced by Fabian Schar, before the last of a trio of
enforced substitutions saw Jonjo Shelvey forced off soon after the interval
and make way for the seldom-seen Ki Sungyueng.
It's unlikely that those replacements would have followed in normal
circumstances; Rondon surely not being expected to complete what was his first
90 minutes for the club. However the enforced reshuffle paid dividends when
the Korean's free kick was headed in by the Spaniard for a precious opener,
while both Ki and Schar used the ball intelligently as their side played
further up the field.
The star of the show again though was Federico Fernandez, with some
immaculately-timed tackles and good distribution and an ability to derail
opposition pressure in the closing stages with work "off the ball",
notably taking a blow in the face and ensuring a free kick award, having
contributed to some jostling after an apparent stamp on Yedlin. Getting in
their faces it used to be called.
Watford were by no means angelic though; referee Pawson clearly sickening of
Isaac Success and his increasingly unconvincing claims of being fouled. The
officials seemed less able to deal with Gerard Deulofeu though,
who continually blocking set plays and worked his ticket - one farcical
episode seeing him claim possession of the ball as it was positioned ahead of
a home free kick.
Where poor finishing and misfortune had cost Newcastle here a fortnight
earlier against Brighton, the rub of the green favoured the home side today: Roberto Pereyro
hitting the crossbar early in the second half and the black and whites riding
their luck on numerous other occasions, notably the heart-stopping finale when
Stefano Osaka somehow skied his effort from six yards out.
Had our nemesis Troy Deeney played then the outcome may have been altered, but
equally a fully fit Newcastle number 9 could have provided a much-needed
mobile presence in the final third.
Aptly described as chunky by one (Irish) radio pundit, Rondon's evident effort
in the closing minutes epitomised the character in adversity demanded by captain
Lascelles in a pre-match press call. Several other players meanwhile played
on despite incurring knicks and knocks.
That spirit was memorably captured shortly after the goal by Kenedy, whose
sprint from one end of the field to saw him arrive in perfect time to deny the
unmarked Andre Gray a certain equaliser.
To have conceded late on would have been an absolute body blow for the
confidence and morale of the team and supporters alike - both groups having
been visibly bolstered by the goal.
Benitez now has some welcome selection dilemmas, players today heeding his
call to impress him when chances arose - in stark contrast to the indifferent
contributions of messrs Hayden, Atsu, Murphy and Manquillo when opportunity
knocked for them earlier this season.
What has hopefully been registered by the owner during his extended viewing of
this part of his empire is that the basis of a serviceable team is here;
namely a goalkeeper and a defence. There remains a responsibility to build on
that with quality acquisitions at 2019 prices - paying the dividend for
the thrift of acquiring Dubravka, Fernandez, Ki and Schar for a comparative
Not to do so is sheer folly in business terms, never mind the personal
satisfaction of making something that is successful not only in monetary
measurement. His captain may think that he's a "nice guy" after breaking
(garlic) bread, but Ashley never seems to be particularly enjoying any of
Contrast that to the stories that have emerged following the events in
Leicester and the evident pleasure that their owner - doubtless just as much
of a boardroom bully as ours - gained and was able to give via his £££.
While the Leicester players went to Srivaddhanaprabha's funeral; some Newcastle fans
would dance on Ashley's grave - the consequence of a decade of deceit and
The relief at this long-overdue victory is of course fleeting, with the
players back in training less than 24 hours after the final whistle as they
prepare for the next crucial contest on Saturday.
They'll do so in better fettle than before though, with the return of
the dark nights bringing a welcome lessening of the gloom around here. Victory over
Bournemouth would be a sizeable achievement, not quite restoring St.James' to
fortress status, but at least making it less of a sandcastle.