Newcastle 1-0 Man Utd: A monumental moment at St James’ – a turning point in our fight for survival

What a huge huge win. Prior to kick off we found ourselves in the relegation zone after some unideal results this weekend, but 2 hours later there was an overwhelming feeling of relief, hope and euphoria around a revitalised St James’ Park.

After months of frustration and failure to hold onto leads at St James’ Park, this is the big scalp and the  breakthrough for Benitez and the boys – and boy did we deserve it. The outpour of relief around the ground and the significance of this can not be understated:



I was overcome with emotion when that full time whist was blown. This one felt felt so important and you could see how much it meant to all involved.

It was an incredible team performance, with every single player on that pitch doing their bit. Dubravka’s dream debut, an inspired back four who gave everything to protect our lead, a midfield battle won against all odds and some tireless running from our forwards.

Three points are the biggest thing we’ll take from this one, but it was a game full of colossal performances. New-boy Martin Dubravka was outstanding in everything he did, Diame continued his incredible form as our new midfield enforcer, Lascelles and Lejeune looked like a brick wall at the back, Shelvey put in perhaps is most disciplined and controlled performance in a Newcastle United shirt and Matt Ritchie got on the scoresheet for the first time this season.

It’s the big win we so desperately needed. We’ve been waiting for a moment like this.

Recent home performances against Swansea and Burnley have shown signs of improvements, but 1-1 draws in both left us with bitter tastes in our mouths. Our winless run at St James’ Park was becoming more worrying by the week (made worse by signs of resurgence from sides around us in the table) but this win shatters our unwanted record and sends us into the final 11 games with a new lease of life.

Our form against the top sides this season had been hopeless, but this installs so much belief into the side. A lot of people feared that we’d have to pull a rabbit out of the hat if we were going to beat the drop and we’ve done exactly that.

There’s a long way to go, with home games against Southampton, West Brom and Huddersfield likely to be the biggest test of our ability to beat the drop, but this win really could do wonders for our confidence going into those.

It’s all about momentum at this stage of the season and it finally feels like we’ve created some. St James’ Park was at its best today and the level of fight and determination within our side was not that of a team who was about to be relegated.

Performance levels went up a notch and that bodes well for the 11 cup finals that are still to come between now and the end of the season. If we can continue to show that level of commitment and se this as a spring-board for our home games to come, then I have complete faith in our ability to beat the drop – especially if Islam Slimani can make the impact Kenedy and Dubravka have done so far.

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

54 thoughts on “Newcastle 1-0 Man Utd: A monumental moment at St James’ – a turning point in our fight for survival

  1. I think it’s only fair to mention or acknowledge that Lascelles took some stick for his comments ahead of today’s game.

    He made sure that his team backed up everything he said in that interview. I think that lad is an outstanding captain for his young age like.

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  2. SHARPY he should keep his gob shut before games mate it only rubs up teams,just show it on the pitch,but yes he makes a good captain imo

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  3. kimtoon: Aye mate you did, I thought we had a chance until they signed Sanchez when I lost hope.
    The whole team were brilliant but that last 10 minutes was too much for my ticker lol .

    Dubravka my motm, that was a class debut and he kept us in it. close second Shelvey.

    I actually lost hope when I heard Slimani was still injured. For me everyone was hero today. With Slimani coming back two weeks later I am actually expecting more points now. 🙂

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  4. Also I do feel God is with us today. No wonder Mourino has never beat Toon at SJP. I feel something magic helped us to go through some very dangerous moments today.

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  5. funrafa:
    Also I do feel God is with us today. No wonder Mourino has never beat Toon at SJP. I feel something magic helped us to go through some very dangerous moments today.

    A composed goalie helped. He didn’t sh!t himself every time there was a backpass.

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  6. I know I am getting way, way, way ahead of myself but if we stay up I don’t think Rafa will leave even if we are not sold. The main reason is that the Fatman said the Manager could spend every penny that NUFC generate. That will now put us on a level playing field with all but the top 7 (I include Everton because they have a rich Sugar Daddy even though they do not appear to have bought well).

    So we will have the first really big tranche of TV money which should give us a budget of about 50 million. My guess is that Gayle will be off even though I think he could do a decent job still. With Darlow, Mitro and Colback also sold that would give Rafa another 40 mil.

    Even in this crazy inflated market, Rafa with 90-100 mil could put together a mid-table team.

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  7. Realistically we are 8 points from being best of the rest. With a decent striker I think we would have been there already. I would argue that the squad needs tweaking rather than an overhaul. Course I wasn’t saying that 24 hours ago.

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  8. Premandup:
    Realistically we are 8 points from being best of the rest. With a decent striker I think we would have been there already. I would argue that the squad needs tweaking rather than an overhaul. Course I wasn’t saying that 24 hours ago.

    inclined to agree Prem, realistically considering we have what is essentially a championship squad our defence has been just as good, if not better than a lot of the established sides. That may be in part due to Rafas tactics which I know some get annoyed about for being too defensive. I do believe he has gotten it right though for the most part, he’s not perfect but then who is.
    Like you Prem, I think it’s more tweaking than anything else. We do need that quality forward and hopefully it’s Slimani , also required is a no.10. We look to have a good goalie now , who hopefully continues that good form enough to trigger the option to buy.
    Most important is the squad spirit, honestly, you could have a quality squad but if there is no togetherness you are done, we’ve seen it before with that squad that took us down.

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  9. Of course the most important element in it all is the owner, is he prepared to honour his promise to invest what we earn and back Rafa in the summer should we stay up.

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  10. We need a decent midfielder as well. And another full back.

    And we need to actually aign this goalie and Kenedy properly.

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  11. shamrock:
    We need a decent midfielder as well. And another full back.

    And we need to actually aign this goalie and Kenedy properly.

    yep, spot on mate.
    Hope to god Lascelles stays fit for rest of the season and I thought him and Lejuene were excellent .

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  12. What do we need. You say FB. I agree because Yedlin who is more of a winger than a RB has only one assist to his name. Compare that to Marusic at Lazio who has three goals and Five assists in 22 games. TransferMarkt rates at £8. Strikers we know about Jorgensen and Richmond being the two most likely from January. Looking at top providers in TM the top 6 is interesting with Kevin De Bruyne 2nd Neymar 4th Messi 5th and Florien Thauvin 6th Messed that up. Ghayas Zahid is 23 and 2nd on the list, plays for Nicosia and would be a cheap gamble for a Left Midfielder. Also If it’s an attacking Midfielder to give shelvey some competition, and if we really wanted to spend some money. Nabil Fekir is 24 plays for Lyon and has 16 goals and 5 assists from 22 this season. TM reckon he is a bargain at £50m. Better than Perez anyway.

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  13. You’re right Prem – a lot more than tweeking needed if we’re to avoid another depressing season like this one. It was a fantastic win yesterday but we’re still just 2 points off the drop zone. Win one of the next two and we’ll make safety easily.

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  14. Dabravka’s performance showed why Rafa was so keen to bring a new keeper in. Darlow and Elliot have cost us points this season. He’s won us a game already.

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  15. Big Sam says Toson is struggling to handle the PL, did we miss a trick there,no wonder Rfa wants strikers that used to the PL

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  16. kimtoon:
    Oh, and I cannot understand how Lascelles hasn’t been called up for England.

    Better to have Smalling and Jones, eh 🙂 One’s a mistake waiting to happen and the other is an injury waiting to happen (that own goal was a great though). They will probably be in the squad though along with Stones and Cahill. I don’t care that Stones is playing for the all conquering Pep I still think he has a mistake in him as well.

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  17. Prem: it helps that we have players playing to their potential. The obvious examples yesterday were Shelvey, Diame and Ritchie. I would also add Gayle. He cleared off the line, had a penalty denied which he would likely have taken and had a nice assist. On form and with the right strike partner Gayle is a handful. He gets the rap that he is an in-betweener – too good for the Championship but not good enough for the PL. I am not sure if that is true as he was scoring 6 or 7 at Palace whilst only playing half their games. With a bit of confidence I think he could be useful. With the cost of strikers now who are we going to get instead? You get Lukaku’s left foot or Harry Kane’s big toe for 15 million.

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  18. I don’t see any advantage to us in Lascelles playing for England. Good game and you’ve been in the shop window mate!

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  19. I looked at Gayle’s stats and he scored about 1 in 4 for Palace. Not great but about half his games were as sub. And remember who he played for – Arrogant Alan, who have had him playing centre half.

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  20. I don’t think Gayle would be 1st choice striker or number 10 but would be a good squad player if his head is on right which means accepting that role. I can name quite a few who have cost more who are stuggling. We have one who struggled at Leicester, there is Benteke and Ibe and a lot more.

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  21. Very surprised Tuson struggling, given his goal scoring form, just goes to show, you can never be sure a player scoring for fun in another league will do it in PL. Then again maybe he needs a better coach 😉

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  22. icedog:
    Then again maybe he needs a better coach

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    you got it in one mate

    When I watched him in the Turkish League he was playing off the shoulder of the last man. Big Fat Sam is probably trying to turn him into Kevin Davies. Hopefully, Sam will misuse him and we might have a chance to pick him up in the summer. He was scoring for fun in the Champions League as well as Turkey.

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  23. kimtoon: yep, spot on mate.
    Hope to god Lascelles stays fit for rest of the season and I thought him and Lejuene were excellent .

    I liked the way Lejeune made himself available for Dubravka’s clearances. Looks as though it had been practised in training. Considering Lejeune has not played a match for some time he showed no signs of rustiness. Good partnership with Lascelles for the future.

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  24. icedog:
    Big Sam says Toson is struggling to handle the PL, did we miss a trick there,no wonder Rfa wants strikers that used to the PL

    I think it is big sam, not Toson.

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  25. Eric Sykes: When I watched him in the Turkish League he was playing off the shoulder of the last man. Big Fat Sam is probably trying to turn him into Kevin Davies. Hopefully, Sam will misuse him and we might have a chance to pick him up in the summer. He was scoring for fun in the Champions League as well as Turkey.

    Agree here. But I think the only scenario for Rafa to stay in summer is Ashley gone.

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  26. Ok, since we played Man U it is time to ask what is going on there. Mourinho said Pogba wasn’t injured and he took him off for tactical reasons. What! For Michael Carrick because Mata was Lingard’s direct replacement. I just don’t get this, he was the world’s most expensive footballer until Neymar changed the game. Would you have subbed Zidane or Ronaldo, others who broke the transfer record, on 65 minutes?

    Then, how can you spend all that money and have Jones and Smalling as your centre backs? Yes, Man U have a good defensive record but that is because of how Mourinho sets up. He often plays with Matic as defensive mid but also keeps Pogba on a short leash.

    There is also a false equivalency going on saying City are so good that no wonder Man U cannot catch them. OK. But Man U have spent roughly the same and are on course for78 points. Most years that would not win them the league.

    This is not really a rant, I just don’t get what is going on. Some say Mourinho’s tactics are out of date, but really is that true? He won the league with Chelsea 3 years ago with probably a worse squad apart from Smalling and Jones.

    Now, numbers just came out today and Everton have the 10th most expensive squad in the WORLD. Big Fat Sam has said if he was called Allardici and had the money he could do as well as Real Madrid. Prove it, you have a very expensively assembled squad, now at least win a Cup. Oh, you have won nothing in your career you say. There is even talk he will be paid off in the summer. Nice work if you can get it. Time for another summer sitting on the couch with Ricard Keys and letting him suck your d!ck. It is a world cup and with being a disgraced England 1 game manager you know he will turn up on Keys and Gray.

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  27. Since I brought up Man U I have to speak about the lazy, suck-up commentators and pundits who do not even do the simplest of research. Their narrative is that if it wasn’t for City having an extraordinary year then Man U would be right in the hunt. Not true, it usually takes mid 80s to 90ish points to win the PL and Man U are on course for about 78. Over the last few years teams usually have it wrapped up early. Even though it seemed close I think Leicester even won by 10 points. The nail biter when it comes down to the last weekend is the exception rather than the norm.

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  28. Eric Sykes: When I watched him in the Turkish League he was playing off the shoulder of the last man. Big Fat Sam is probably trying to turn him into Kevin Davies. Hopefully, Sam will misuse him and we might have a chance to pick him up in the summer. He was scoring for fun in the Champions League as well as Turkey.

    Big Sam says Tosun is not working hard in training no wonder if he’s trying to treat him like Davis,he scored some top goals in the CL

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  29. Personally think WBA have gone. For them to get to 40 points they need 20 from only 36 available. That’s hard work.

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  30. Stuart79:
    Personally think WBA have gone. For them to get to 40 points they need 20 from only 36 available. That’s hard work.

    Are you doubting Pardew😀😀

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  31. Stuart79:
    Personally think WBA have gone. For them to get to 40 points they need 20 from only 36 available. That’s hard work.

    Gone if they get beat today. I was worried that they would get a Pardew bounce but looks like it hasn’t happened. Maybe Pards or Ugly John will pick a fight with Conte? They all have form. Pards with the touchline headbutt. Carver wanting to see the fan at the training ground and Conte wanting to slap Mourinho.

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  32. That’s Pards down then. I think they gave him a 2 year contract so he will probably still be managing in the Championship. Still can’t believe Ashley gave him a 7 year contract.

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  33. Sturridge needs to just give up now, he clearly isn’t able to stay injury free. 3 minutes then out again with his hammy again.
    Did Pards start him too soon ? Was he not fit enough ? He has a played a few of ours before they were 100% if I remember rightly.

    Either way bullet dodged as I suspected.

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  34. Premandup:
    Dont know how my bit ended in the quote
    WBA, Soton & WHU

    Yeah mate. There ate plenty of hard games for our relegation rivals too – so i’d like to think we have enough to escape. Could be a surprise or 2 this season though!

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  35. kimtoon: Got us at 16th on 38 Sham
    stoke, saints and West Brom to drop

    Looks like you were quite objective in your Newcastle guesses too Kim. Its reassuring to do that calculator and see just how hard it will be for our rivals too!

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  36. georgio:
    HBA and Aarons Kim. He’s a truly crap manager.

    Thought it was HBA, couldn’t remember the others. Yep, will risk a players long term career to save his reputation, he’s an arsehole.
    Rafa in contrast looking out for Slimani, not rushing him back too soon despite our need for points .

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  37. Sham, yeah mate, had us lose a few but not by many goals as I feel we are not bad defensively and put a couple of surprise results in for other teams too as it always happens.
    Our rivals have as much to do as us in reality. In the end it will need bravehearts and dogged determination to survive, hopefully we have it.

    Had a peak at the Baggies chat forum, lot of doom and gloom on there, resigned to dropping down most of them.
    Won’t get any joy seeing them go tbh, there are others I’d much prefer to go down before them, but if it’s us or them…………….

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