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Season 2016-17
Brentford (a)

In association 


Saturday 14th January 2017, 3.00pm

 Griffin Park

Conditions: Rewarding

Admission: 30 seats, 25 terrace



Newcastle United

1 - 2




20 mins Ayoze Perez sent Dwight Gayle scampering away down the left having just stayed onside. Matt Ritchie was unmarked in the middle but Gayle kept going into the box before fired a fierce left foot shot past Daniel Bentley who had left his near post unguarded. 1-0

Half time: Bees 0 Magpies 1

Lasse's leveller - thanks to Ben Havery

52 mins A dubious corner was awarded to Brentford and when Josh McEachran swung it over, Darlow got a hand to it but could only push the ball up into the air. It was headed back across goal by John Egan and although Karl Darlow saved Andreas Bjelland's shot it fell for Lasse Vibe to force it past the 'keeper and Murphy on the line in front of the travelling support. 1-1

79 mins Jack Colback intercepted a pass in the centre circle and was able to find Perez in some space down the left. His perfect cross with the outside of his right foot was met by a majestic leap from Daryl Murphy and his flicked header beat Bentley as it nestled into the corner. 2-1

Full time: Bees 1 Magpies 2

We Said


Rafa with 10 year-old United Mascot Ben Moffatt



After the game Rafa said:

"It was a difficult game from the start against a difficult team. We knew that they play good football here, but I think we started well.

"We needed to work hard in defence to ensure we didn't concede. But we did at the beginning of the second half after losing one player and then another and another after that.

"Then we had to keep reacting and it was a very good goal by Daryl Murphy, which we have to enjoy as it was very difficult to get three points.

"To stay at the top of the Championship, we have to work hard in every single game.

"It was a pity we lost Dwight (Gayle) because he was in form, but now it looks like we will lose him for some games.

"I was pleased with the players coming off the bench and proud of the team because they had to work so hard and manage the situation. We knew it would be a difficult game because we watched them and they play good football.

"I am quite old so I have had this situation where you lose three players to injury before. It meant we had to defend almost with five at the back but as the game went on you cannot stop every cross and every second ball.

"We had to defend well but I don't think they will be very happy with some decisions like us, but in the end we got three points.

"We have the doctors telling me that we need to check them tomorrow to see how they are. "To make substitutions is always not good news, but in the end we had to do it. 

(With) the three of them we had to make a substitution. It was a bad tackle on Anita. He has a problem with his ankle. Hayden with his groin, and Gayle with his hamstring.

"I am sure that the fans will be very proud of the team today, because they were working so hard in a difficult situation." 


They Said

Bees boss Dean Smith commented:

"Normal service was resumed as far as penalties are concerned.

"I watched it back and Hoff is going to head the ball and their guy is going away from goal with a fistful of his shirt, so how it's not a penalty I don't know.

"I made the decision on Thursday not to play Scott and felt that Romaine Sawyers and Lasse Vibe did well last week. It is very difficult for him and I decided not to start him in the long-term interests of the football club.

"The long-term interests of the club always have to be at the forefront of my mind. I didn't think it was right to start him and Scott didn't either.

"We gave a great account of ourselves and were unfortunate not to win the game let alone get a point.

"We didn't start well in the first five or 10 minutes and then only Dwight Gayle can score a goal like that in the Championship, but after they scored I thought we dominated the game.

"In the second half we played with a lot of confidence and to see a side like Newcastle, and all the resources available to them, hanging on for the last 20 minutes is a great credit to our players."


Dwight Gayle became the first Newcastle player to score 20 goals in a season since Alan Shearer in the 2003/04 campaign. That consisted of 22 Premier League goals and six in the cups. 

The last 20 goal haul from a Magpie in a second tier season came courtesy of David Kelly in the 1992/93 season (24 in the old First Division and four in the cups).  

Daryl Murphy scored his second goal for the club and first in the Championship. 

Murphy's fine header saw United reach a half century of league goals for the season in their 26th game - it took 31 games in 2009/10 to reach that tally, 25 in 1983/84 and 24 in 1964/65.

The 2016/17 goal split is 26 at home and 24 away. 

Jamaal Lascelles
completed a half-century of senior appearances for Newcastle since his debut in a League Cup tie against Northampton Town in August 2015.

There were returns to the squad for both Sammy Ameobi and Jamie Sterry after returning from loan spells at Bolton Wanderers and Coventry City respectively. Neither got off the bench.

United completed
their first league double of the season.

Magpies @ Griffin Park - all-time:

won 2-1 Gayle, Murphy
won 2-1 Kelly, G.Peacock
1947/48 lost 0-1
1938/39 won 2-0 (FA) Clifton, Mooney
1934/35 lost 0-3





Newcastle returned to the top of the Championship thanks to their tenth away victory of the season, but Rafa Benitez saw his squad stretched still further by a trio of injuries to crucial members of his playing staff.

This was another visit to a spirited but limited side from this division who really should have stopped us gaining three more vital points towards promotion. If we manage to get back to the Premier League, it's games like these that we'll look back on and think that's where we did it, not the comfortable home romps against Birmingham, Ipswich, Forest etc.

As we've maintained from the start of this campaign, there are only two teams that can stop us finishing in the promotion spots this season; the one wearing our badge on the pitch and the one managing it from the sidelines.

Jonjo Shelvey's indiscretions against Wolves and Forest have given us a bumpy ride recently but it's the rumoured disagreements about transfer funds that threaten a self-induced derailment. Both require a certain degree of madness but that's never in short supply along Barrack Road.

Thankfully we'll never know what a defeat today would have done to morale, coupled with the injuries, but we were a hair's width from finding out. Had the linesman flagged Vibe's effort as crossing the line, there are few that could argue we would have recovered to even salvage a draw. We were undoubtedly struggling at that time.

It was certainly a pivotal point in our season and happily it went our way.

But be warned, Steve McClaren's Derby County were still top of the pile in 2014/15 at the start of March, having played 34 games. They only won twice more and finished eighth. Spectacular capitulations are all too possible and we're eminently capable of doing exactly that. 

Dwight Gayle shot home to open the scoring with his 20th Newcastle goal before pulling up with a hamstring injury and going off before the half hour mark after trying to surprise 'keeper Daniel Bentley with a snapshot.

The Bees levelled early in the second half through Lasse Vibe after a corner wasn't dealt with properly and United then lost Isaac Hayden with a groin strain. His replacement, Vurnon Anita, lasted just 10 minutes before he too departed, stretchered off with one leg held in a splint.
An ankle problem of unspecified severity was later claimed.

Goalscorer Vibe thought he'd given Brentford the lead, but his effort hit the inside of the post and bounced on the goal line before Jamaal Lascelles cleared.

Against the run of play, United snatched the three points in the 79th minute, Ayoze Perez providing the cross with the outside of his right foot for substitute Daryl Murphy to fabulously head beyond Bentley.

Perez then wasted a chance to seal the victory shooting too early on the volley after a backward header reached him.
United held out through a nervous nine and a half added minutes though, during which the Bees saw further penalty appeals ignored by referee Chris Kavanagh.

A great late stop from man of the match Karl Darlow to deny Jota ensured that the Magpies collected three points, while Brighton were beaten 2-0 at Preston.

Reading's defeat at home to QPR on Thursday and Huddersfield's loss at Sheffield Wednesday gave the victory even greater significance. The gap to third-placed Leeds is now seven points, while Derby sit a place outside the playoffs, a massive 15 points behind us.

After suffering from some poor decisions and bad luck in recent weeks, United can reflect on an afternoon when fortune smiled upon them to a certain extent; a lack of goal line technology that meant Vibe's possible second goal didn't count, a handful of strong Brentford penalty claims or the timing that saw their top scorer fit to play but left on the bench as his sale is negotiated.

Further weakening of a first team squad that had already seen Sammy Ameobi and Jamie Sterry plucked from loans at Third Division clubs as cover threatens to be a major headache though; with Gayle, Hayden and Anita crocked and one or two other walking wounded casualties by full time.

Post-match press claims of a difference of opinion between Rafa and Mike Ashley over club transfer policy emerged, a story given added impetus by the presence of the owner here and at Birmingham.

Having been allowed to fashion a squad for this Championship campaign, we'd speculated just what would happen next summer if the recruitment was for a Premier League season - and whether the bulk of our transfer kitty was actually spent while Rafa's predecessors were in charge.

The problems of recruitment in the current window were already becoming evident before today's latest bout of injuries - it promises to be an interesting couple of weeks, not just to see who (if anyone) arrives to plug those gaps, but on whose instruction they are ultimately acquired.

Niall MacKenzie

Page last updated 15 June, 2017