Date: Wednesday 19th May 2021, 6.00pm.
Live on Sky Sports
Venue: St. James' Park
Admission: 1/19th of season ticket price
(Corporates £65, L7
non-ballot sale £30).
1 - 0
Jonjo Shelvey advanced down the Newcastle left and pinged a forward pass to
Joelinton just inside the Blades box. He took the ball on his chest and
tried to advance in possession, but Jack Robinson cleared as far as Allan
Saint-Maximin on the left hand corner of the area.
He darted infield and danced away from a posse of defenders before slipping a glorious ball between two opponents to
Jacob Murphy, whose first-time centre from the right was buried by
Joe Willock from six
Whoever was commentating live on Sky got messrs Murphy and Willock muddled
up, crediting Murphy with having provided both the assist and the goal. It
was later clumsily overdubbed with the correct scorer's name.
Half time: Magpies 1 Blades
Full time: Magpies 1 Blades
Steve Bruce said:
"The supporters were terrific.
When you think there were only 10,000 here, the difference is amazing.
On the negative reaction after full time:
"As I've said from day one, I won't be everyone's cup of tea
unfortunately, but that's the way it is. Everyone's entitled to their
opinion (except Craig Hope he forgot to add....)
"We could have put it to bed a bit earlier. Some of our play in the
first half was very decent.
"We all aspire to take Newcastle into
the top half of the table. We have to be actively better than just
surviving. We have got the makings of a half-decent team.
"We don't know if it's a calf or a kick (with Saint-Maximin). It
looked a bit innocuous; whether it's a sprain or a kick, he's not sure, so
we'll see how he is in the next 24 hours.
"I've said from day one that people will
enjoy watching him. He's got ability that gets you off your seat. Some of
the stuff he does off the cuff is not coachable. He's still got a lot to do,
the final bit, but his talent is there for everyone to see.
"It's a double-edged sword
(with Joe Willock). We have to respect he's Arsenal's
player. If we can, we'd love to bring him here. Let's see what we can do
because he's exactly what we needed.
"Joe has still got a lot to learn but we have given him a freedom and a
licence to get forward. He is a young player enjoying his football."
Willock himself diplomatically said:
"I'm not sure.
"I need to have a conversation and see what the best move for me is. I have
made friends for life and made a really big connection with the fans.
"It is one of my options
(to remain at NUFC) and I am going to
Paul Heckingbottom commented:
"I thought we started really well, stopped them
playing forwards and created good chances, which we didnít take. Then we got
punished which has been the story of the season.
"We were in control of the game for the first half hour or so and when you
fall behind itís a tough game. We huffed and puffed in the second half, had
a lot of the ball but we had to try and get back in the game.
"The new guy (his unidentified successor) will have
taken a lot away from that, because heíll have been watching, and also our
last few games.
"Heíll know weíre a hard working group and heíll know that weíve got
strength in depth, because there are so many quality players out.
"Theyíll be looking at that strength in depth, allied with the work rate and
attitude of these boys, and thinking weíve got a fantastic chance next
"Iíve enjoyed it, Iíve enjoyed working with this group of players,
because, whatever else, they give you everything.Ē
"It was brilliant to be out there in front of supporters again, even
though they werenít our own, so I canít wait for Sunday. I canít believe
itís been 15 months since we went behind closed doors, albeit with a week or
so out, and itís taken a lot out of people so hopefully it will be the last
"Even when we got to the hotel the night before, there were people in the
bar and it just felt normal. Before the game, I had a coffee and was
watching people come in. It just felt normal, or more normal and that was
netted for a sixth successive appearance, only the third Magpie to do
so in the Premier League, following Papiss Cisse in 2012 and Alan
Shearer in 1996. Shearer went one better with seven.
The 21 year-old is the youngest player to have achieved the feat
for any club in Premier League history.
Willock now has seven PL goals to his name in a black and white
shirt, a total that matches current team mate Matt Ritchie and old boys
Jonas Gutierrez, Carl Cort, Stephen Glass and Mark Viduka.
His goal against the Blades also meant that Willock had scored in four
successive PL home appearances. The last player we can find who achieved
that was Yoan Gouffran in 2013.
Paul Dummett made his 200th senior competitive appearance for the
Magpies in all competitions (179 starts + 21 sub).
Martin Dubravka reached the milestone of 100 PL games for
Newcastle recorded only their second PL home clean sheet of the
season, the other the 0-0 draw with Liverpool in December.
Their last PL home win and clean sheet combination was in June 2020,
a 3-0 victory over Sheffield United that was the first competitive game
played behind closed doors.
Newcastle ended their home campaign with a victory for the first time in
three seasons. This was their sixth PL win at SJP in 2020/21,
emulating the total recorded in 2019/20 and 2010/11. The only time
they've won less times at home in a PL season was 2008/09 (five).
With one game left, Newcastle have scored 44 PL goals, their
highest top flight total since matching that figure in 2015/16.
Blades in Toon - last 10:
2020/21 won 1-0 Willock
2019/20 won 3-0 Saint-Maximin, Ritchie, Joelinton
2009/10 won 2-1 Lovenkrands, Nolan
2006/07 lost 0-1
1999/00 won 4-1 Shearer, Dabizas, Ferguson, Gallacher (FAC)
1993/94 won 4-0 Beardsley 2, OG, Cole
1989/90 won 2-0 Gallacher, Quinn
1988/89 won 2-0 Hendrie, Mirandinha (LC)
1985/86 drew 1-1 Cunningham (FR)
1978/79 lost 1-3 Shoulder
Closing home game results - PL era:
2020/21 Sheffield United won 1-0
2019/20 Liverpool lost 1-3
2018/19 Liverpool lost 2-3
2017/18 Chelsea won 3-0
2016/17 Barnsley won 3-0 (Ch)
2015/16 Spurs won 5-1
2014/15 West Ham won 2-0
2013/14 Cardiff City won 3-0
2012/13 Arsenal lost 0-1
2011/12 Manchester City lost 0-2
2010/11 West Bromwich Albion drew 3-3
2009/10 Ipswich Town drew 2-2 (Ch)
2008/09 Fulham lost 0-1
2007/08 Chelsea lost 0-2
2006/07 Blackburn Rovers lost 0-2
2005/06 Chelsea won 1-0
2004/05 Chelsea drew 1-1
2003/04 Wolves drew 1-1
2002/03 Birmingham City won 1-0
2001/02 West Ham won 3-1
2000/01 Aston Villa won 3-0
1999/00 Arsenal won 4-2
1998/99 Blackburn Rovers drew 1-1
1997/98 Chelsea won 3-1
1996/97 Nottingham Forest won 5-0
1995/96 Spurs drew 1-1
1994/95 Crystal Palace won 3-2
1993/94 Arsenal won 2-0
In the 445 days since last we gathered, a wealth of new expressions have
entered the vocabulary of Newcastle fans: contact tracing, surge
The on-loan Arsenal midfielder extended his scoring run to six
successive games with a header at the Gallowgate End in first half injury time
to ensure a happy return for the estimated 10,000 fans admitted to
St.James' Park on Wednesday evening.
However that was a rare moment of fluency from a Magpies side who lost
three players to injury during the course of the game and had several
more struggling to continue when the full time whistle belatedly sounded
after the injury time of injury time.
Joelinton didn't return after the interval, Allan Saint-Maximin then limped off
and cramp victim Willock was replaced by Andy Carroll - whose anticipated final appearance at SJP had looked
in some jeopardy moments earlier, when Martin Dubravka looked to have
tweaked a hamstring.
However the goalkeeper managed to play on after a visit from the physio
- and the final substitution resulted in the introduction of Carroll.
The opening stages of the game were played to the expected gleeful
scenes of football fans returning to their native habitats of pub and
ground and the noise levels were decent enough, even if the spaced out
seating plans gave this the look of a particularly poorly-patronised
Attempting to avoid the defeat that would have left them odds-on to
become the statistically worst side ever to suffer demotion from the
Premier League, the Blades soon threatened and David McGoldrick should
have soured the party atmosphere after just six minutes instead of
Newcastle's only scoring opportunity of note in the opening 45 minutes
was a 27th minute Jonjo Shelvey header well saved by Aaron Ramsdale.
First half added time though proved to be the most entertaining and
decisive passage of play; Joelinton heading over and Willock then having
an effort blocked from United's next attack, although he looked to be
The goal stemmed from a typical dart across the edge of the Blades box
by Saint-Maximin and a glorious ball between two opponents to Murphy,
whose first-time centre from the right was buried by Willock from six
And that was as good as it got; the second half notable only for a snap
shot by McGoldrick from distance that struck the woodwork and
occasional forays by Saint-Maximin and Miggy Almiron that never
quite came to fruition.
Willock looked genuinely moved by the standing ovation as he made his
way around from the East Stand via the Leazes and back to the dugout.
For all the positive soundbites though, logic would suggest that this
was his swansong as a Magpie, departing without even a chant minted in
While he was the hero of the hour and a half though, audible booing
greeted the appearance of
pantomime villain Steve Bruce at the rear
of the lap of honour circling the pitch after full time.
Given the low crowd here though and the fact that many malcontents chose
not to attend, it's open to question quite how this will all look - and sound - when Newcastle next take to
the field at SJP.
How many fans are present
and how openly critical of the Manager some of them are is something we
genuinely cannot predict at this point in time. In our eyes, the slow
take-up of tickets for this first home game in 15 months continues a
narrative of the 10,000 given away two seasons ago and is a massive
warning sign that filling this place is no longer a given.
Be it being out of the habit, waiting for the takeover or just finding
something else to do with their lives, many fans seem unconvinced by
The script demanded that Newcastle won, but a warts and all display was
also quite appropriate, tonight a timely reminder that much of what
we've missed during lockdown wasn't worth watching.
All that we aspired to achieve this season was to get to the end of it
in one piece physically and emotionally, supporting a Premier League
football team. On that basis it has been a success, but aspiration and
ambition cannot be hidden away indefinitely - and attempts to downsize
expectations to mere survival cannot be allowed to persist, even if
that's the owner wants.