Defenders save the day for Newcastle United once again, with us digging deep to beat Bournemouth in a brilliant comeback win at St James’ Park – giving Steve Bruce back-to-backs victories for the first time this season.
It wasn’t pretty at times, with us missing a few BIG chances and dropping deep late on, but it was a performance full of heart, organisation and energy, with every single Newcastle player putting in a shift to topple Eddie Howe’s in-form side.
Not only that, it was another game where we could’ve score 4 or 5. That may reflect badly on our front three – who all played their part today without scoring – but it’s a real positive to see us have 20 (yes TWENTY!) shots at St James’ Park!
Bournemouth dominated possession in the early stages as you would expect, and they made that count early on, meaning any hopes we had of a start like last week quickly evaporated.
Their opener came from an impeccably worked corner straight from the training ground, with Harry Wilson ghosting away from Jetro Willems to latch onto a Ryan Fraser and finish superbly past a helpless Martin Dubravka.
Lascelles was forced off with a concerning knee injury he was unable to shake off and they went close soon after, with Marauding left-back Sergio Rico hitting the bar from a tight angle. It was looking bleak, but we found an answer just when we needed to, being the better side from midway through the first-half up until the break. So much so, there was a 5-minute spell where we had 82% of the ball!
Initially we didn’t make that dominance count. Joelinton was wasteful, with one tame effort, another whacked way over and a few moments where he failed to spot Almiron’s bursting runs into the box. Saint-Maximin should have also scored, smashing a huge chance off the cross bar from six yards out, however our goal arrived just minutes before the break.
It wasn’t any of the front three – who all need a goal BADLY – but from yet another defender, with DeAndre Yedlin narrowly beating the offside trap to head home Saint-Maximin’s deflected shot at the back pot.
The second half was a rollercoaster. I feared we’d sit back and look more interested in protecting a point than taking all three (something we were guilty of against Wolves at times), however we approached this one MUCH better – and credit to Steve Bruce for that.
Thanks to our balance at both ends, we were creating chances, and when one big one fell to Ciaran Clark he didn’t disappoint, with him nudging a Federico Fernandez flick on past Aaron Ramsdale.
Miguel Almiron – who was brilliant both on and off the ball all afternoon – then looked set to score his first goal at St James’ Park, but suffered some rotten luck that sums up his desperate struggle for luck in front of goal this year. OK, far too many of his shots have been rushed or scuffed, but he latched onto the ball after another mazy runs from Allan Saint-Maximin, only for his goal-bound shot to be blocked by the floored Frenchman just a few yards from the net.
Watch the unbearably unlucky moment for the Paraguayan below:
Thankfully we held on, with every player doing their jobs superbly in the closing stages, whether it be chasing back, holding up the ball, winning a vital header or making a key clearance.
We were outstanding defensively, with Fernandez, Clark and Yedlin all putting in superb display – as well as playing key roles in both our goals – but also managed to offer a genuine threat on the counter, with the full-backs bombing on, Jonjo Shelvey picking out the willing Almiron and Saint-Maximin and Joelinton being a handful up top.
Back to backs wins now take us up to 11th, leaving us EIGHT points clear of the bottom three after Southampton fell to yet another defeat at St Mary’s.
Another huge home win and another international break that we head into on a real high.
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About Olly Hawkins
Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.