A huge win for Newcastle United and a dream Premier League debut for Matty Longstaff, who inspired us to our first three points of the season at St James’ Park with a second half winner in front of the Gallowgate!
It was an intriguing and fresh line up picked by Steve Bruce today, full of pace with Saint-Maximin and Yedlin returning, and of course Matty Longstaff making his debut alongside his brother in central midfield – and they were all brilliant.
I’ve knocked Bruce – and rightly so at times – but his tactics were much better today. We looked very hard to break down at the back (albeit against a VERY poor Man Utd side), competed much better in midfield and had more purpose about us on the counter-attack, with Saint-Maximin’s return playing a huge part in that.
It was nearly a blistering start, Saint Maximin put Almiron in but he couldn’t get the ball across onto his left foot and his right foot cross was intercepted. The energy and commitment levels from the players were a far cry from last week and Saint Maximin has the crowd on their feet every time he got the ball, despite a lack of end product at times.
There was also nearly a wonderful moment when Matty Longstaff hit the bar with a brilliant 25 yard half volley. Ultimately though the same problems in attack existed with clear cut chances few and far between and in truth, we never looked like creating anything against the poorest Manchester United team in my lifetime. Despite them having just over 70% of the ball in the first half we were the better team and were unlucky to not be winning at half time, despite Maguire missing an absolute sitter on the stroke of half time.
The second half started without quite the same gusto from us, with Manchester United seemingly having much more time on the ball. Carroll came on for Joelinton on 56 mins after another ineffective and frustrating appearance from the Brazilian, who in fairness was suffering from a back injury.
Then a moment that will live long in the memory…
Jetro Willems broke free down the left, and just when it looked like the attack would break down, he rolled the ball back to Matty Longstaff who struck a brilliant low drive into the bottom corner.
It lifted the roof off the stadium and injected energy and belief at a time when Man Utd were starting to get a grip on proceedings.
It was a relatively comfortable ending to the game in fairness, with Man Utd failing to break down our stubborn defence.
A brilliant win that takes us up into 16th. Bring on Chelsea!