Newcastle United got back to winning ways this afternoon in front of a 52,000 near sell our crowd that included a very healthy 3,000+ away fans.
After what had been a pretty horrendous last week for the Mags having underperformed against Blackburn, cruelly knocked out of the EFL cup on penalties and then robbed by shameful refereeing against Forest, today was a day where Newcastle had the chance of getting the ship back on course.
They wouldn’t disappoint.
STARTING XI: Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden (Lazaar, 82), Gouffran (Atsu, 70), Diame, Gayle (Mitrovic, 79)
Rafa would revert to his most familiar and perhaps expected lineup, with only Diame in for Perez being one that would raise any eyebrows before kick off.
As usual, Rafa called this one right too however, as the Newcastle nr 15 would have his best game in a black and white shirt.
Newcastle would dominate from the first whistle whilst 5th placed Birmingham, who’d been in decent form themselves despite a loss last time out, would barely get a sniff all afternoon.
An early worry would be the sight of Hayden throwing up in the centre circle only a few minutes into the game, but he’s shake whatever that issue was off pretty quickly to have another good game in the middle of the park.
As usual it would be Shelvey, free to play after his comical dismissal was overturned last week, who would dictate the game. But today would belong to our number 9 who would take his tally to 16 for the season as his hat-trick would inspire his team to a comfortable win.
And it was he who would open the scoring for Newcastle after only 18 minutes after great work from an inspired Diame who reminded us of Sissoko on one of his rare good days. A brilliant, turn, run and cross form big Mo would be met by an unmarked Gayle to nod come with ease from 6 yards out.
And just 6 minutes later it would be 2-0, this time a barnstorming run from Hayden, this time after Diame had chased down and dispossessed his man, would see his deflected cross fall beautifully for Gayle who would move the ball from under his feet to tap home his second (right foot).
And whilst it could have been more before the break the third goal would come on 47 minutes. With Birmingham making one change at half time Gary Rowett would no doubt have send his troops out with one message. ‘Make sure you get the next one, and if we do we’ll get something out of this’. Sorry Garry.
This time it would be Gouffran who would strike from the edge of the 6 yard box once more after Birmingham failed to deal with a Shelvey ball into the box. And although our bald headed maestro couldn’t actually claim an assist for the third he certainly can for Newcastle’s fourth and final goal.
A fantastic run from our playmaker, including a neat one-two on the edge of the box, would finish with his centre being smashed home by Gayle once more (left foot). A perfect hat-trick, in every way.
The result would be enough to see Newcastle back to the top of the Championship. After the game Rafa stated ‘We talked about the Blackburn game and not making the same mistakes in waiting 45 minutes to create chance. We concentrated and did what we had to do.’ You sure did.
Roll on Wigan on Wednesday….