mins Chancel Mbemba won the ball
in his own half and played it forward to Momo Diame, whose chipped pass to Dwight
inch-perfect. The striker's control at pace and finish with his second touch
were immaculate as
the game's one moment of magic ultimately proved decisive.
After crashing home his left footer from around 14 yards, Gayle wheeled away
cocking an ear at home fans, who had been giving him some low level abuse
following his decision not to quit Selhurst Park for Ashton Gate 12 months
Half time: Robins 0 Magpies 1
Full time: Robins 0 Magpies 1
Rafa Benitez commented:
"We knew it would be this kind of
game and we had to work really hard as a team. We knew there would be a lot of
high balls into our box. We showed character and spirit today and will need
that for the rest of the season.
"We have to keep working as hard as
we did today and then show our quality. City had different options, different
ways of playing and they will do well this season.
"It is important to be able to attack
and score goals, but we also need to show spirit and be able to play this way.
This was a big step forward.
"He (Gayle) has good movement, he is a clever lad and he can score
goals. We saw all of that today. It was a good movement, a good pass and a
"Dwight Gayle can play in the Premier
League for sure. He has played there before and, hopefully, he can play there
for us in the next two years or so."
"It was difficult because the ball came into the box so many times. You
also have this second ball to deal with too. In the end it was a good
performance as a team, a defensive team performance.
"Everybody tried to help, it was
important to see everyone working so hard. It is important to be a team that
attacks and scores goals.
"But then at the same time you have to
be organised and have team spirit to work and get a result. For me it's a
good step forward in terms of confidence as well."
City Head Coach Lee Johnson said:
"There were loads of positives for us. We lost to one quality finish after being
caught out by a great ball.
"We have a bit of work to do with our forward play. The strikers need to know
when the ball is going into the box so they can time their movement and we took
too many touches at times.
"But I can't be too critical because the players gave everything. The way we
penned Newcastle in and the energy we showed were really pleasing.
"We got the ball into good areas so many times without capitalising.
"I thought Gary O'Neil was the best player on the pitch and I'm delighted with
the way Hordur Magnusson is adapting to English football.
"Lee Tomlin had that spark about we know he possesses and lots of other things
pleased me. It's hard to talk know because I so wanted to give our supporters a
win but when I analyse things later I know I am going to be a lot happier.
"It was great to see Ashton Gate so packed and thatís what we want in the
"Itís important we build on that now
and grow our community. Hopefully those who came along will go back and tell
their friends that something good in happening at Ashton Gate.
"On behalf of all the players I want to
thank them for their brilliant support.Ē
United won away from SJP for the first time under Rafa Benitez, ending a
barren run of thirteen league and cup games since a 2-1 success at
White Hart Lane before Christmas.
The Magpies boss also enjoyed back to back victories for the first time here, as
took six points from six for the first time in 2016. Our last consecutive
successes were Liverpool at home and Spurs away in December 2015.
Dwight Gayle's run of form in front of goal makes him the first Magpie to
score in three successive games since Ayoze Perez in October/November 2014
(Spurs away, Liverpool home, West Bromwich Albion away).
Goalkeeper Matz Sels kept a first clean sheet for the club in what was
his fourth appearance. He's played every minute of those four games, but Gayle's
late replacement here means that Vurnon Anita is now the only outfield
ever-present in the Championship for United this season.
Magpies @ Robins - All-Time Record:
2016/17 won 1-0 Gayle
2009/10 drew 2-2 Gutierrez, Carroll
1995/96 won 5-0 D.Peacock, Sellars, Ferdinand, Gillespie, Lee (LC)
1992/93 won 2-1 Kelly, Scott
1991/92 drew 1-1 Clark
1990/91 lost 0-1
1980/81 lost 0-2
1977/78 lost 1-3 Barrowclough
1976/77 drew 1-1 Burns
1910/11 lost 0-1
1909/10 won 3-0 Randall, Stewart 2
1908/09 drew 3-3 Higgins, Veitch 2
1907/08 drew 1-1 Orr
1906/07 lost 1-2 Brown
Full record v City:
Dwight Gayle's fourth goal in three
games earned a second successive win for Newcastle and ended a
winless run away from home that had stretched back to Spurs last December.
Neither goalkeeper had a taxing afternoon at City's rebuilt Ashton Gate, but
Richard O'Donnell was helpless to prevent the visiting number nine from
driving home after latching on to Momo Diame's sublime through ball in the 19th
minute of the first half.
Clad in their blue and orange change strip,
Rafa Benitez rotated his lineup once again. Out went Paul Dummett, Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Perez from the
side that beat Reading; Jamaal Lascelles, Momo Diame and Jack Colback all returning and
Ciaran Clark moving to left back.
United took over quarter of
an hour to threaten City's goal, Isaac Hayden heading wide from a corner. Gayle's free kick two minutes later flew over the bar and ended up among the
away fans, but the striker who almost joined City a
year ago soon had them dancing with delight.
Failing to add a second led to some anxious moments but City failed to fashion a
genuine scoring chance from open play, relying instead on crosses
into the box from cheaply-conceded free kicks.
Amid occasional rain flurries, the second half saw Bristol begin to win some
of the midfield battles as United looked slightly weary. However, the visitors
held firm, Yoan Gouffran dropping deep and Vurnon Anita wholeheartedly defending at right
Tempers flared in the closing stages as referee Tony Harrington began to lose
control, but City's pressure produced only
Magnusson header that flashed wide and a volley from Jonathan Kodjia that
whistled just over Sels' crossbar on 90 minutes.
There's still a
massive amount for Rafa to work on based on this display, notwithstanding
the ongoing squad turnover that is likely to see further comings and goings
before Wednesday week's closing of the transfer window.
City were poor but still could be forgiven for
thinking they should have got a point from this game. Certainly there'll be
no repeat of 1993 when we come calling for their centre forward - there's no
Andy Cole in this Robin's nest.
Diame's fitness should improve but his speed on the ball needs to increase if he is to be
the sort of figurehead that succeeds Sissoko and as a bonus brings the
consistency the number seven lacks.
Ritchie was marked out of
the game to a worrying extent, leaving Gouffran all the time and space he
needed. However, the Frenchman's inability to elude the home defence was
remarkable and should act as a wake up call to Rolando Aarons.
Now that Aleksandar Mitrovic is ready to belatedly begin his season, the
promise of a partnership is an interesting one - with today another example
of United being in desperate need of someone to win the ball in the
air and hold it up.
So far Rafa has
out-tinkered the Tinker Man with his selections but once we regroup at Derby
next month, a settled formation needs to be achieved - even if the demands of
the fixture programme require full use of the desired 27/28 players to see us
through until January.
The situation of the away section in proximity to the away bench and warm-up
area allowed for a non-scientific study of those players not in the starting
selection - and one or two hints as to the future direction of the squad could
Having worn the armband in the previous game only to then be benched amid
reported transfer interest from top flight clubs (West Brom and Hull),
it would have been understandable if Dummett appeared distracted while
warming up, reluctant to get involved. He didn't - and along with messrs Hanley
and Sterry seemed "in the zone" or at least keeping up
By contrast, Shelvey looked indifferent and barely went through the motions all
afternoon before getting on for the briefest of appearances. Having had a brief
flirtation with the captaincy last season but not been mentioned this time
round, it's difficult to know just what's in his mind now.
And into that category also come Aarons and Perez at this early point of the
season: not adjusted to the rigours of the task in hand and hardly busting a gut to
claim a starting place, if their rather puerile flicks and tricks competition at
half time was any guideline. Maybe we're just getting old.
It seems far longer than a fortnight since our previous away game at
Fulham, but evidence that we're adjusting to our task could be seen here, with
evident spirit and application in the side and Lascelles able to concentrate on
his own defensive game rather
than geeing up his elders.
The win raised us into seventh -
reward for a display that wasn't particularly pretty but undoubtedly effective, echoing hard-fought
single goal away victories in 2009/10 at Sheffield United and Preston
North End. That's the sort of grit and winning mentality that ultimately wins
promotion. A good day.