A fantastic win for Newcastle in the last game before the International break. Brighton represented as tough a test as any we’d faced this season at the start of what promises to be a difficult and critical run of fixtures which includes Derby, QPR and Villa away with Wolves and Norwich at home in the following five.
For Rafa’s men this was the opportunity to climb the table and reflect on a decent start to the season, especially after losing our first two.
STARTING XI: Sels, Anita (Gamez, 72), Mbemba, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, Gouffran (Yedlin, 88), Diame (Colback, 81), Perez
With both Gayle and Mitrovic ruled out of the game with ‘concussion’ following knocks they both took in last weeks cup game against Cheltenham it was left to Ayoze Perez to lead the line on his own, supporting by Diame, Ritchie and Gouffran in Rafa’s usual formation.
The burden of scoring would be carried by others in the team and Newcastle would put together their best performance of the season.
Starting brightly it didn’t take long for the home side to assert their mark on the scoresheet as on 15 minutes the pony tailed captain Lascelles rose to meet a Ritchie free kick from the left to head past Stockdale in the Brighton goal. In fairness the goal had been coming and it would also serve to calm any pre match nerves of players and fans alike.
Whilst the players, particularly those in black and white were doing their best to play the staring role they would be joined by referee Keith Stoud who seemed determined to steal the limelight. Indeed after a string of seemingly unnecessary brandishing of yellow cards, four in total for Newcastle, the ref and his assistants would be boo’d off at half time. It seemed only a matter of time before one of our lot picked up a second and would be off.
To the delight of the home supporters though it would be Baldock of Brighton who would see red. Again, the first of his yellow cards would seem harsh, although his second was fair enough. Chasing down a loose ball he would catch Sels who’d already cleared the ball upfield. His late tackle was judged enough, rightly this time, for another flash of yellow only this time followed by red.
Newcastle had already been well on top in the game in terms of quality possession and chances. Now playing 10 men they were able to move the ball around even more convincingly, and within 10 minutes of the sending off they would have their second goal.
Standing over a 25 yard free kick, central to the Brighton goal, were both Shelvey and Ritchie. With both a right and left footer to deal with Stockdale would have to stay central to his goal, and once Jonjo had curled his delicious free kick around the wall the Brighton keeper was left helplessly standard watching the ball nestle in the bottom left of his goal.
Whilst Brighton would huff and puff in search of a goal back the last highlight would be a fantastic effort from Gouffran who, having cut in from the left flank, would smash a 25 yard strike off the Brighton bar only to see the ball come straight back into play and be cleared.
A two minute debut for Yedlin would precede the final whistle and another vital three points for Newcastle United.
Match Stats Guardian