Date: Saturday 6th February 2021, 3.00pm.
Live on BT Sport
Venue: St. James' Park
3 - 2
Allan Saint-Maximin (or Sam Maximus as Paul Merson called him on Sky) took Fabian Schar's through ball
down the left and pulled it back for debutant Joe Willock to finish
first time into the Leazes End net.
Jeff Hendrick's crossfield pass reached Saint-Maximin on the left
side of the box and he swivelled to lay the ball into the path of Miguel Almiron.
Paraguayan's shot deflect off the heel of Jan Bednarek and beat
Alex McCarthy at his near post for. Somewhat
fortunately, the Newcastle man was awarded the goal by the PL - had it gone
the other way, the Polish defender would have been credited with an og for
the second time in a week.
Saints loan debutant
Takumi Minamino took a touch in the box before blasting home
inside Karl Darlow's near post.
With Saint-Maximin bearing down on him, McCarthy's hasty clearance to Ryan Bertrand
at left back was weak and Miguel Almiron made a successful challenge for it, racing into the box and
slotting home. 3-1
Half time: Magpies 3 Saints 1
Stand-in central defender Issac Hayden conceded a
free kick in a central area and James Ward-Prowse stepped up to hit
a perfect free-kick into the top left corner giving Darlow no chance. 3-2
Full time: Magpies
3 Saints 2
Steve Bruce said:
"A mate of mine said when I took the job that it came with a
The two minutes just after half-time summed it up, where we could
have gone 4-1 up and looked very, very rosy indeed. Instead within a
minute, it's 3-2 and we're down to 10 men.
"The last half an hour is awful, to be brutally honest: it's not
often you can hang on with 10 men for half an hour, let alone 25
minutes with nine men... but the
blocks they got in, the challenges they made, I couldn’t be more
pleased. They have hung on very well.
"The resilience of the team and the effort and the commitment of
them was terrific. We know how difficult that is - Southampton shipped in goal after
goal the other night.
"They were terrific in their defending with their attitude and their
application to get a result was pretty evident.
"I'm never going to say we've turned a corner but I've been pleased
over the last month. There have been been signs of improvement. The players
are buying into it, so let's hope we can get a few more results along the
"Callum Wilson has a
hamstring, Javier Manquillo has an awful injury and Fab Schar's
injury is bad.
"With the change in formation and system the one person who's
benefited from it all is (Miggy) Almiron. He's been terrific.
He's a great pro - he's a joy to work with.
"We're taking one step forward, it seems, and always two back. You
can understand why managers were complaining because we were simply
playing too much in December and January and most clubs are falling
to pieces with it."
On Jeff Hendrick:
"Jeff will know better, He will know he committed a silly
foul (and) it caused us a difficult afternoon."
"It's easy to sum up: defensively not good enough for the Premier
League, again. The way we conceded the goals in the first half was far too
easy and then it's always tough to come back.
"We tried everything in the second half, but also with not always the best
tools and this is the reason why we in the end lose a game that you never
have to lose, normally.
"Maybe we were a little bit under the shock from last Tuesday, but (I)
cannot accept it because the team seemed motivated at the beginning,
everybody wanted to show up there and that's the reason why I am not happy.
"We had chances in the second half but not enough to deserve to win. We are in a tough situation at the moment, but we have to find a way out as
quickly as possible.
"The way we conceded is far too easy. It's not the way you can defend in the
Premier League. It's always difficult to come back, we tried, scored twice,
but when you defend like this, it's hard to get points, it's so simple.
"You can talk about being one man more, two men more, we had a few
chances, but the way we gave the goals away was too easy.
"We find the reset button and find back the behaviours we showed at
the beginning of the season. I know it is a tough moment now, and when we
start like this, it's almost immediately the same problem. It's too easy.
"In general we must find a way back to the way we played. To be
consistent over 38 games is the difference between a good team and a team
that wants to be good."
Newcastle made it six points out of
possible nine, a radical improvement on the two points they collected
from the previous 27 that were on offer.
The Magpies scored three first half goals in the same Premier
League game for the
first time since the 6-2 home victory over Norwich City under Steve McClaren back in
The last time they scored three times in one half of a PL game was
the second period of the home meeting with Sheffield United in June
Before today, just five of the 22 PL goals scored by Newcastle this
season had come in the first half. That's now eight from 25 scored.
Joe Willock became the 246th player to appear for the
club in the Premier League - and the 154th to register a goal
for them in that competition.
He's the eleventh player to mark his debut by scoring -
and the third this season, following Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick
away at West Ham.
Willock isn't the youngest, with Matty Longstaff almost two
years younger when he netted against Manchester United. He is the fastest to find the net
though, three minutes
quicker than the 19 minutes it took Alex Mathie at the same end of
SJP against Sheffield Wednesday in 1993.
(Willock's goal was his second in the Premier League, the
first coming for Arsenal last season against Southampton - and
goalkeeper Alex McCarthy).
Miguel Almiron scored more than once in the Premier League for
the first time. He now has eight in that competition (four in
2019/20 and four in 2020/21) and 13 to his name in league and cup
Saints in Toon - Premier League era:
2020/21 Won 3-2 Willock, Almiron 2
2019/20 Won 2-1 Shelvey, Fernandez
2018/19 Won 3-1 Perez 3
2017/18 Won 3-0 Kenedy 2, Ritchie
2015/16 Drew 2-2 Cisse, Wijnaldum
2014/15 Lost 1-2 Gouffran
2013/14 Drew 1-1 Gouffran
2012/13 Won 4-2 Sissoko, Cisse, Cabaye(pen), OG
2005/06 Won 1-0 Dyer (FAC)
2004/05 Won 2-1 Shearer (pen), Bramble
2003/04 Won 1-0 Shearer
2002/03 Won 2-1 Sh.Ameobi, Hughes
2001/02 Won 3-1 Robert, Shearer 2 (1 pen)
2000/01 Drew 1-1 Gallacher
1999/00 Won 5-0 Ferguson 2, Solano, OG x 2
1998/99 Won 4-0 Shearer 2 (1 pen), Ketsbaia, OG
1997/98 Won 2-1 Barnes 2
1996/97 Lost 0-1
1995/96 Won 1-0 Lee
1994/95 Won 5-1 Watson 2, Cole 2, Lee
1993/94 Lost 1-2 Cole
Goals from debutant Joe Willock and a pair from Miguel Almiron
earned Steve Bruce's side a priceless victory at a sodden St. James'
Park on Saturday.
That fails to tell the tale of an eventful 97 minutes
though, as the Saints were beaten by nine for the second time in a
week - this time men, not goals....
The main points:
8 mins Jonjo Shelvey set Callum Wilson away to net, only for
the effort to be correctly disallowed for offside.
11 mins Jeff Hendrick was booked for a bad tackle.
16 mins Allan Saint-Maximin took Fabian Schar's through ball
down the left and pulled it back for debutant Willock to finish
first time into the Leazes End net for 1-0.
24 mins Javier Manquillo was unable to continue after
sustaining damage to his right ankle blocking a stray pass, Emile
Krafth replacing him at right back.
26 mins Hendrick's pass to Almiron in the area saw the
Paraguayan shoot, only for it to deflect off Jan Bednarek and beat
Alex McCarthy at his near post for 2-0.
30 mins Saints loan debutant
Takumi Minamino blasted home to make it 2-1.
36 mins Wilson pulled up with possible hamstring trouble and
was unable to continue, making way for Joelinton.
45+3 mins Krafth booked for a foul.
45+4 mins McCarthy's ball out to Ryan Bertrand was weak and
Almiron made a successful challenge for it, racing into the box and
slotting home for 3-1.
48 mins Stand-in central defender Issac Hayden conceded a
free kick in a central area and James Ward-Prowse stepped up to give
Darlow no chance. 3-2.
50 mins A needless shirt tug by Hendrick in central midfield
saw him booked for a second time and dismissed. Newcastle went down
to 10 men.
63 mins A shot from Danny Ings hit a post and rebounded into
the arms of a relieved Darlow.
65 mins Che Adams forced the ball home from close range but
the goal wasn't given due to an earlier offside.
67 mins Saint-Maximin was replaced by Paul Dummett, the last
recognised defender on the Newcastle bench. He wasn't injured, but
73 mins Bednarek was booked for a foul on Almiron outside the
area, VAR confirming yellow rather than red.
75 mins Schar took the subsequent free kick but hoofed it
into the defensive wall and then charged in to meet the rebound,
injuring his knee.
79 mins Schar left the field on a stretcher, Newcastle went
down to 9 men.
79 mins United finally found a formation that stopped them
conceding goals - a rigid 4-4-0...
90+1 mins The visitors won their seventh corner but couldn't
make it count. The hosts never had a corner.
90+5 Darlow was booked for time-wasting.
90+7 mins Referee blew for full time, confirming Newcastle's
first home win in six attempts and a fifth successive league reverse
And so, The Geordie Nation breathes again, after what could
reasonably termed a difficult watch that verged on the unbearable in
the closing stages.
Most of those involved for Newcastle though deserve full credit;
Jamal Lewis making light of fitness issues to give an assured display,
Hayden playing a third different role in recent games and Krafth
disciplined on his return.
Mention too for Dummett, who made a series of vital clearances at
centre half and even Joelinton, who got up to speed after some early
hints that he didn't have the mindset for the task in hand.
Before the madness of the second half, the industry of Almiron and
the adventure of Saint-Maximin were pivotal in building up the vital
lead. The forward runs from midfield by Willock were also effective,
something that other sides take for granted but we habitually lack.
The brainlessness of Hendrick cannot easily be excused though, ample
cover behind him making his shirt grab on halfway even more
irresponsible. His suspension will doubtless extend Jonjo Shelvey's stay in the team - although he did precious little
to warrant it today. Had he taken the glaring chance to make it 4-1
early in the second half then this could have been far less
Schar's frustration with his rotten free kick got the
better of him, recklessly endangering himself with the follow-up
challenge and paying the price.
The lack of a midweek fixture and the scheduling of our next game
for a week on Monday will hopefully give our battered defence a
chance to regroup - Manquillo and Schar today following Jamaal
Lascelles and Federico Fernandez into the sick bay, while Ciaran
Clark was about to become a father.
And while news on the fitness of Wilson is anxiously awaited, his
colleagues did at least manage to net three times without him
playing any direct part in them - something of a novelty so far this
Two wins in a week combined with generally favourable results
elsewhere has put a far healthier complexion on the season, not
withstanding the ongoing headcount issues in defence.
And if not quite the entertainers, then this version of NUFC is
rather easier on the eye than the joyless charade of previous weeks.
Who could have predicted that actually trying to score goals would
have a positive outcome on results?