A rare Sunday afternoon televised game for Newcastle United saw them up against a resurgent Leeds side at Elland Road.
Before the game the players all donned white shirts with the number 11 and name SPEED blazoned across the back in tribute to the great man who died 5 year ago and had been such a wonderful servant to both clubs.
STARTING XI: Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Colback (Hayden, 83), Gouffran (Diame, 75), Perez, Gayle (Mitrovic, 79)
Newcastle started the brighter of the two sides, forcing the home side back with a high press you’d not normally associate with the Mags. As well as a succession of corners there would be a good chance for Gayle after quick thinking by Shelvey from a free kick, although Green would stand up and save well.
It would take until midway through the first half however for the deadlock to be broken in a moment that Rob Green in particular will want to forget. I high ball seemingly played over the top for Gayle to chase onto by Colback was overhit and was heading just under the crossbar. With Green back-pedalling but with time and room to palm the ball over the bar he instead patted the ball down just in front of his line allowing our little number 9 to poke the loose ball home. Lovely!
Leeds were having real difficulty getting any quality possession but on 30 mins Newcastle would have Darlow to thank for keeping the score at 1-0 when he tipped over a looping Ayling header after Newcastle had only half cleared a free kick. The Newcastle stopper would be in the right place at the right time again from the resulting corner to gather a header into this chest.
Leeds did liven up towards half time however forcing a sting of corners themselves and looking consistently dangerous with every high ball lumped into the box. On 43 minutes Leeds had a huge claim for a penalty after the ball hit Colback on the arm inside the box. Only the fact the ball was hit from a couple of hards away and that his arm was next to his body, even if raised, saved Newcastle from conceding a spot kick.
Given the late pressure Rafa and his Newcastle’s players will have been pleased to hear the half time whistle which duly arrived. 1-0 then at half time.
Leeds would start the second half where they’d left off in the first with some intense pressure on the Newcastle back line, and when O’Kane was able to twist and turn in the Newcastle box his shot was brilliantly saved by Darlow down to his right.
On 55 minutes though a most wonderful move from Newcastle saw the visitors double their lead. Colback to Anita, Anita to Perez, Perez to Anita, Anita to Gayle, GOAL. Barca eat your heart out, a collectors item right there with passing and movement any team would be proud of.
Que the customary yellow for Colback.
As the second half wore on there would be a run out for both Diame (in place of Gouffran) and Mitrovic (for two goal Gayle), the latter much to the delight of the travelling hordes. Whilst Hayden would also be given ten minutes in place of the booked Colback.
The second goal had, in essence, killed the game as a contest and with the visitors easing through all 93 minutes the game would finish 2-0.
That's 8 wins on the spin in the league for Newcastle now and a 5 points gap opened between them and second and nine points between the Mags and 3rd. Happy days!