At the end of every season, you can look back on one incident which either sums the campaign or is a pivotal moment. We’ve had ours, I’m sure of that. Diame’s flick of foot and the ball looped into the net. From such good fortune is promotion won, and you can’t get better Newcastle United news than that.
Despite having the lion’s share of possession, we were running down cul-de-sacs or being plain wasteful – yes, Messrs Atsu and Gouffran, I’m looking at you.
You could see how much it meant to the players, let alone the travelling support. This is a win which could – should – give them genuine confidence that they can go anywhere in this division and win.
Brighton were quick to start in both halves. Darlow was on the ball from kick-off, which was just as well. A good save from Bruno’s half-volley was followed by competent handling.
The penalty was pathetic; poor officiating and poor defending. Clark was stupid, there’s no escape from that. Hurling Murray to the ground was only go end one way; if only every other referee would give penalties in similar situation.
But the players reacted to the setback well. Shelvey gets the praise but Ritchie did well last night (again) and the pass to Atsu for the winner was the ‘pass of the season’. It was a good finish from Perez; would it have been a more comfortable evening if he’d started?
Gouffran isn’t a striker, he proved that Stockdale gifted him the ball. In one sense that moment was a relief; not the miss, but the goalkeeper error. Darlow got away with his last night but every ‘keeper at this level seems to have a ricket or two in him.
Darlow is good enough to get us out of the Championship; keeping us in the top flight? I’ll worry about that in the summer!
But night’s like this are the reason you enjoy football. Great character and fantastic result!