Back to back wins for Newcastle United, with Miguel Almiron’s early opener and a moment of magic between Jacob Murphy and Dwight Gayle earning us a big three points over the Baggies.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with ours marks out of 10:
Darlow – 6 – Could do nothing about their goal and didn’t have a telling save to make, with most of their efforts on target being very tame. Was a bit mixed from high balls into the box, missing one and punching clear another.
Krafth – 6 – Allowed Phillips to get past him and deliver the cross that created their equaliser, but was generally quite steady. Showed a good engine to get up and down the line, offering more on the overlap than Lewis did and winning a few clever free kicks to relieve pressure at the other end. Poor for their goal but did OK in the main.
Hayden – 9* – My MOTM! Dropped back into the centre of defence in Lascelles, Schar and Fernandez’s absence and didn’t put a foot wrong. Made a strong block to deny a goal-bound Krovinovic strike soon after we took the lead, was towering in the air and made some timely interceptions to clear our lines. Considering he was out of position and was bed-bound by Covid last week, he was outstanding.
Clark – 8 – Always looked calm and composed on the ball and headed clear several balls they threw into the box. Another classy display from the Irishman who has barely put a foot wrong since he returned to Bruce’s starting XI.
Lewis – 4 – A day to forget for him. Booked early on for some needless handbags, didn’t get anything going with Ritchie down our left and was ball watching as Furlong nipped in ahead of him to fire West Brom level. Also felt he looked reluctant (again!) to carry the ball, play forward passes or offer an outlet on the overlap, with some of his crossing also very poor.
Ritchie – 5 – He was typically full-blooded, but that can only amount to so much when very little actually came off for him. He and Lewis were second best down our left-side and, aside from the odd decent set piece delivery, I can’t remember him impacting the game at all in the final third.
Shelvey – 6 – Left Longstaff with a lot of running to do against a West Brom midfield who outnumbered us at times. He isn’t a complete luxury, with his defensive work improving thanks to Rafa Benitez, but his lack of mobility means he HAS to be controlling the game and creating chances – and he was unable to do that here. Not bad, but far from his best.
S Longstaff – 6 – Did a lot of the leg work for Shelvey in a solid yet unspectacular display, although he was another who looked out on his feet in the second half as a result. One decent shots but not many eye-catching moments on the ball.
Almiron – 7 – Gave us a 19-second lead with a calm finish and was a constant thorn in West Brom’s side in the first half, with his pace, energy and runs in behind causing havoc. Was on the fringes of the game in the second 45 but his early goal made all the difference in the end!
Joelinton – 7 – After a much improved display last time out, he made an immediate impact here with a defence splitting pass that was weighted perfectly for Almiron to finish. Put himself about, but it was a very mixed bag after that, with some clever hold up play often being followed by a careless pass or loose touch that gifted the ball back to West Brom. Fizzled out of the game and looked leggy late on, but his brilliant assist was another much needed moment of quality in the final third that he can hopefully build on!
Wilson – 8 – Played a part in the early opener, being too strong for Ivanovic and forcing the error before releasing Joelinton. Surprisingly, he wasn’t that much of a goal threat today, but he stretching them smart with runs in behind and looked strong when coming short to hold up the ball. Did the ugly work brilliantly, proving he’s still a big asset to this team when we don’t create chances for him.
Gayle – 8 – Almost made an immediate impact, having a goal-bound header cleared of the line just minutes into his first appearance of the season. He kept chipping away and was rewarded with 10 minutes left, with his bullet of a header going in off the bar to seal all three points.
Murphy – 7 – He wasn’t on long, but without his inch perfect cross to Dwight Gayle we wouldn’t have won this one. A moment of real quality from him and without doubt the best ball we’ll see all weekend!