After a week of highs and lows, Newcastle put their problems off the pitch to one side with a 2-0 win away at Cardiff last night.
Two stunning second half strikes from Christian Atsu and Issac Hayden were enough to seal the points in an improved away performance from the Magpies.
Our first half display was fairly nondescript, but the players dug in and found two moments of magic in the second half to keep us in the race for the Championship title, piling the pressure on Chris Hughton’s Brighton to get the job done tomorrow.
The win was not only a crucial one, keeping alive our slim title hopes, but also saw us achieve a club record 14th away win of the season, made all the more impressive given how bad our away form has been prior to Benitez’s appointment. It may no have always been pretty, but this change in mentality is key moving forward, with Benitez developing a side capable of grinding out wins and getting the job done.
After dismal displays at Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday and no win away from home in our last 4, it was nice to see the boys back at it on the road, giving something for the 4,200 travelling fans to cheer about.
Rob Elliot – 7 – Had little to do but dealt with everything he needed to. Commanded his box well and looked a safe pair of hands, helping NUFC to their 22nd clean sheet of the season.
DeAndre Yedlin – 7.5 – Provided a good outlet down the right and was defensively sound, despite having little to do.
Chancel Mbemba – 8 – Read the game well and carried the ball out of defence confidently.
Ciaran Clark – 8 – Yet another calm and composed performance from the Irishman who was also very effective in possession.
Paul Dummett – 7.5 – Solid defensively as he has been so many times away from home this season. Some decent play offensively too with some clever through balls.
Jack Colback – 7 – A tidy performance by his recent standards. Kept it ticking in the middle and was more forward thinking in possession than he has been.
Isaac Hayden – 9 – Another all action performance from the midfielder, capped off with a superb drilled strike to seal the 3 points. He’s got all the makings of a very capable Premier League midfielder.
Christian Atsu* – 9 – Outstanding free-kick to open the scoring. Was a constant threat throughout and did no harm in his bid to win a permanent contract at the club. Man of the match.
? What a beauty!!!#NUFC
— Sky Bet (@SkyBet) April 28, 2017
Mohamed Diame – 7 – Grew into the game. Got us up the pitch with a few driving runs and won back possession on several occasions. An improvement but needs to offer more for a player of his ability.
Ayoze Perez – 7.5 – Operated on the right hand side of midfield and put in a good shift. Made things happen and could and should have won us a penalty.
Daryl Murphy – 5 – Anonymous display from the striker, who’s hold up play and impact on the game was fairly non existent.
— Gavlar Chard™ (@GavChard) April 28, 2017
Let’s hope Brighton slip up at home to Bristol City tomorrow to keep our title hopes alive!