Wilson and ASM shine as United beat Burnley
Newcastle United 3-1 Burnley
A fine individual effort from Allan Saint-Maximin and two goals from Callum Wilson, his third and fourth of the season, secured all three points for Newcastle in a reasonably comfortable win against a pointless Burnley side.
Allan struck first, as early as the 14th minute, picking up the ball on the edge of the centre circle after a neat lay off by Wilson before racing to the edge of the Burnley box. Cutting left then right, Saint-Maximin fired low and true to Pope's left and into the bottom corner to give United the lead.
A goal from Westwood early in the second half was a cracker, with the ball falling to the Burnley player after a corner was cleared to the edge of the box before being lashed home from range.
Burnley would only be ahead for 4 minutes however, Saint-Maximin this time the creator, with his dancing and lightning footwork allowing him to race clear on the right wing before delivering a delicious cross for Wilson to tap home in the 65th minute.
And the United front man would round off the scoring 13 minutes from time. This time with a lovely chip straight down the centre of the goal in converting a penalty earned when Pope had lost control of a back pass and had felled Fraser in his attempt to rectify his mistake.
This win was a much needed boost for manager Steve Bruce, who’d come under significant scrutiny from fans and some in the media following a string of less than impressing attacking performances.
Indeed United went into this game with a record of having only three shots on target in three games. Two of them coming in the 2-0 win over West Ham and the other the last ditch penalty from Wilson against Spurs. Couple this with the dire display against Newport in the League Cup Bruce was visibly irritated in his pre-match conference. The pressure was certainly starting to show.
A much below par Burley would prove ideal foil in this one then, as an error strewn performance fell neatly into the lap of Bruce and his Magpies.
Not since 1927 had Burnley not taken a solitary point from their opening three top flight games.
United had Allan Saint-Maximin to thank for much of the sparkle that was evident in this one. Not that Newcastle played scintillating stuff by any means. But in the Frenchman United has a gem that shines so brightly amongst the gloom.
He also has, at last, a striker who knows that it takes to score goals in the Premier League. In truth the ‘in the Premier League’ is almost irrelevant. It that he knows his way to goal. His instinct is to be in the right place at the right time. On his showings in the first few games in a black and white shirt it’s pretty clear he’d score goals anywhere!
But it was the Frenchman who would show his class first. A lovely run and finish delighting the player who ran to celebrate his goal with his manager.
Burnley for their part had been sloppy and well off the pace all through the first half. But fired up for the second they found an equaliser though Westwood. A loverly volley, one that any player would have been proud of, firing through a clutch of players and giving Darlow no time to react to the ferocity of the strike.
The goal could have take any wind United had out of their sails. But in Allan they have a player who can turn the most ordinary into, well, extraordinary. And it was his run, driving past 2 players, his composure to spot Wilson steaming into the 6 yard box towards the back post, and this quality of pass that made Wilson’s job to finish the move as easy as any he’ll ever get.
Burnley were rattled again. And it was little surprise when Pope was pressured into a mistake that would lead to his fouling Fraser in the box. Up stepped Wilson again. Different technique to that against Spurs. Same result. A dink down the middle and it was 3-1 and game over.
A most welcome result and performance for Bruce who finds his team in the top half of the table and into the last 8 of the League Cup with the International break now upon us.
The crazy world of football eh!