United pip West Brom to the points at St James Park
Newcastle United 2-1 West Brom
A delicious finish from Miggy Almiron inside the first 20 seconds and a bullet header from substitute Dwight Gayle were enough to give Steve Bruce and Newcastle United an ugly 3 points at St James Park this afternoon.
A fine finish from Almiron from a lovely Joelinton should have given Newcastle the foundations to to win this one comfortably, but West Brom came out fighting in the second half and equalised through Furlong. But with the game looking to end in a frustrating draw two 'inspirational' subs combined with Murphy curling a wonderful cross onto the noggin on Dwight Gayle who did the rest form 50 yards out.
It was Newcastle who had made the perfect start, West Brom being careless with the kick off had allowed Wilson to feed Joelinton who bustled his way forward before passing a wonderful ball, with the outside of his right boot, to Almiron who finished with aplomb.
United would be a the better side for most of the first period with the best other chance being created by and ultimately not taken by Joelinton after his smart run and turn in the West Brom box.
For their part, only a late Gallagher miss when well placed in a crowded Newcastle box would give them any real threat of getting back into the game int the opening period.
1-0 at half time.
But into the second half and a rejuvenated West Brom side came out firing and within 5 minutes they were level. A deep cross saw Furlong nip in front of Jamal Lewis, who should have cleared, to slam home a find finish from the edge of the 6 yard box and giving Darlow no chance.
With West Brom now the better side it was something of a surprise that the next big chance would fall to substitute Dwight Gayle with his header cleared off the line.
And the former West Brom loanee was not to be denied, as with the game in its final 10 minutes he headed in off the crossbar after fellow ex-West Brom loanee Murphy centred brilliantly.
2-1 the final score and up to 11th in the league after a testing couple of weeks for everyone at the club.
West Brom travelled to an empty St James Park for a rare Saturday 3pm kick off with just a point on the road all season and starting the game second bottom with just 6 points from their 11 games.
A great chance for Newcastle to take advantage and climb further up the points table after their win against Palace last time out, before the game against Villa was called off due to COVID hitting the Magpies hard.
And it was the pandemic that would shape United's line up still for this one with Darlow the only senior goalkeeper at the club now fit of virus free. Hayden would return to the side this time at centre half with no other options left to partner Clark, himself having only just returned from a positive test.
There would be another start for Joelinton after his man of the match performance in the Capital a couple of weeks ago with Almiron also getting a start.
The full line up can be seen at the foot of this page in the MATCHFACTS section.
And it was Newcastle who got off to the best possible start. Inside a minute in fact, with Joelinton bustling forward after the Magpies won the ball from the West Brom kick off and brilliantly fed the unmarked Almiron who expertly curled his finish outside the outstretched arm of the West Brom keeper but inside his right hand post. Delicious!
Newcastle looked far more the accomplished side from the restart too. With Joelinton and Wilson both finding a way into the West Brom box but both forays turned to nothing.
The next significant moment at either end would fall to Newcastle's goalscorer again, this time Miggy pushing the ball out of his feet after a nice find from Matt Ritchie and racing clear before only finding the gloves of Johnstone in the West Brom goal.
United could have been in again on the 20 minute mark when, but for a cruelly spinning ball Joelinton would have been perfectly positioned to play Wilson clean through.
West Brom were at least getting more of the ball by this point, even if not creating much going forward. The game already had the feeling that a second goal even at this stage would be a killer blow, certainly if United could get it. A little more movement and creativity in the final third certainly looked like it might pay dividends.
On 32 minutes it could easily have been 2-0. A foul in Ritchie was quickly recycled from the free-kick with the same player setting Joelinton racing into the left hand side of the West Brom box. And just when it looked like the Brazilian would cross the ball he cut back onto his right foot before smashing the ball straight at the West Brom keeper. Brilliant until the finish, although even that wasn't a bad effort to be fair to the lad.
West Brom finally had their first real chance in the 44th minute. A tussle between a number of players in the Newcastle box following a set piece saw the ball break to Gallagher 10 yards out, but despite being perfectly placed to find a gap his shot went agonisingly side of Darlow's goal for the visitors. A real warning and a wake up call for the Magpies who seemed to be setting deeper and deeper as the half moved on.
1-0 to the black and whites at half time a fair reflection on the game.
A double change for West Brom at half time notably saw the dangerous Charlie Austin enter the fray along with Gibbs as the visitors tried to switch things up in the second period.
And the visitors certainly seemed to have suffered the wrath of Slavan Bilic at the break as they came out after the whistle fired up and roaring into every challenge and second ball.
And on 50 minutes they had their equaliser. A deep cross allowing Darnell Furlong to sneak in front of Lewis on the edge of the 6 yard box and slam home. Lewis caught sleeping in waiting for the ball to drop to him when going to meet the ball would have allowed him an easy clearance.
Newcastle looked shell shocked and what looked like them taking a bit of a breather at the end of the first half in sitting back now looked like a 'backs to the wall' job!
On 71 minutes United almost dragged themselves back in front when a corner from the Newcastle right round the head of Dwight Gayle, only for his header to be cleared off the line by Matt Phillips.
At least a little more going forward for United now as the game moved into the last 20 minutes.
An on 82 minutes the game had its winner. It would take a brilliant cross and the fantastic header to win it thought, both roles fulfilled by ex West Brom loanees. Jacob Murphy the provider with a brilliant whipped cross from deep. Dwight Gayle the finisher, with his header placed perfectly and crashing in off the underside of the cross bar.
And despite an inexplicable 6 minutes of added time being endured, Newcastle did what was required to finish the game on top.