A huge win and one of our displays of the season, as Paul Dummett’s first goal in five years, yet another strike from Joe Willock and a second half brace from Callum Wilson helped us to a well deserved three points at the King Power Stadium.
The Foxes mounted a late comeback with goals in the final 10 minutes from Albrighton and Iheanacho, however it was too little too late from the home side as we came away with a massive 4-2 win.
The surprise result sends us 12 points clear of the drop zone – meaning Fulham must now win ALL of their final four games to stay up – and into 13th, being one of the best performances of the Bruce era before our late wobble.
After a pathetic display last weekend, this was everything we wanted to see. Quick thinking, energy, movement and real intent to not only commit bodies forward but be first to any loose balls and win our battles in every area of the pitch.
Bruce made TWO changes to the side that were on the beach in last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal, handing Joe Willock a well deserved start at Sean Longstaff’s expense and bringing Emil Krafth in for Ciaran Clark – a player only fit enough for the bench according to the NUFC boss.
Leicester brought Ricardo Pereira back into the side, but were forced into a late change in defence after Jonny Evans pulled up in the warm up.
The game kicked off and, as you’d expect, the home side dominated the ball in the opening exchanges, with Tielemans coming close to nodding in a Maddison cross before Almrion did brilliantly to head clear. We were all fearing an onslaught, but what followed was 15 minutes of constant NUFC pressure and a couple of huge chances.
First, Wilson won a free kick on the very edge of the box, resulting in a Ritchie free kick that was hit low and half cleared. He latched onto the loose ball and delivered a better cross at the second time of asking, but it just evaded Fernandez and was eventually cleared after Saint-Maximin was forced inside.
Another free kick was won moments later after Almiron was barged over by Fofana, this time down the left-hand side. Shelvey’s delivery was inviting and Fernandez rose highest – only for the Argentine’s header to glance just wide!
An encouraging start, but a few minutes later we missed a massive chance to take the lead. Murphy put Wilson through down the right, the striker raced clear and squared to Saint-Maximin. The goal was gaping, but his low shot was too close to Schmeichel who made himself big and blocked via an outstretched leg.
We looked in the mood, with Almiron more lively and Wilson a constant menace with his movement in behind, and were finally rewarded on the 20-minute mark. Soyuncu, who had started awfully, was caught in possession by an alert Joe Willock and the Arsenal loanee made no mistake after bursting through on goal, slotting a left-footed shot into the far corner!
FOUR goals in as many appearances for the 21-year-old, another ice cool finish and a well deserved lead for what had been a surprisingly bright start from a Newcastle perspective. 1-0!
Minutes later, it should’ve been 1-1. Soon after Maddison had a goal-bound volley blocked, a Tielemans set piece was met by Fofana. I was expecting the net to bulge, but his powerful header was too close to Dubravka and the Slovakian parried before Shelvey hoofed clear. A lucky escape, but it wasn’t long until we were back on the break and getting in behind a ragged-looking Leicester back five.
After Almiron was denied a penalty via a risky lunge from Castagne that was checked by VAR, Willock won us a corner after some trickery forced a rattled Soyuncu to put the ball behind.
Ritchie took the resulting corner and his delivery was an inviting one. As it floated towards the back post, Dummett wanted it more than Fofana and powered a close-range header past Schmeichel and into the roof of the net!
2-0 Newcastle, no less than we deserved and the local lad’s first goal for the club since January 2016!
Keep this up and we’d end the night 12 points clear of Fulham and within touching distance of safety, however this was far from over with an hour still remaining against the league’s 3rd place side.
Leicester responded with a big chance of their own almost immediately as Iheanacho got his first glimpse of goal. The in-form Nigerian struck his volley well from a Maddison cross, but once again it was too close to Dubravka and quickly cleared.
With minutes to play until half-time, Vardy snuck beyond our back three and was met by an oncoming Dubravka. He looked to lob the onrushing stopper and very nearly did, only for our quick-thinking Slovakian to react smartly and cut out the danger.
The whistle blew after a minute of added on time and we went in 2-0 up after dare I say the best 45 minutes of football we’ve seen under Steve Bruce.
The job was only half done, however. We had to resist the urge to sit deep, protect our lead and give Leicester the confidence boost their dismal display was crying out for – especially when their defence looked like conceding every time Wilson, Willock, Almiron or ASM ran at them!
After coming through the first 10 minutes of the second half, two half chances arrived for the home side. First a Maddison free kick was deflected wide, and then the resultant corner was headed just past Dubravka’s far post by Ndidi.
Krafth went into the book 57 minutes in for a poorly timed lunge on Vardy, but the free kick that followed came to nothing as we were first to the cross and quicker to the loose ball to boot clear.
Half and hour remaining and it was so far so good. We’d dropped a few yards deeper and were seeing less of the ball, however the home side were yet to find their rhythm and feeding off scraps.
Rodgers had seen enough and brought on ex-Mag Ayoze Perez for a defensive midfielder in Ndidi, but a few minutes later and it was game over.
Ritchie curled a brilliant low ball in behind and Wilson knew he was in if he could beat Castagne for pace. He did exactly that, breaking clear of the Belgian and rounding Schmeichel before prodding home to make it 3-0!
Wilson’s first goal since returning from a hamstring tear, his 11th of the season and a nerve-settling strike that sent NUFC fans into dreamland as we watched on in shock from our sofas. Considering the strength of the opposition, our injuries at the back and that awful display we witnessed less than week ago, we were on course for one hell of a result!
If 3-0 wasn’t ridiculous enough, Wilson helped himself to another 74 minutes in! Almiron played a big part this time, with his defence splitting pass putting the striker in behind. His initial effort hit the inside of the post and pinged back across goal, however he reacted incredibly to fire in from a tight angle on the follow up. 4-0!!
The outstanding Willock was replaced a few minutes later by Sean Longstaff, with that change soon followed by a consolation goal for Albrighton. Dubravka deserved a clear sheet but was beaten by a brilliant strike here, making the scoreline 4-1 with 10 minutes remaining.
Joelinton came on for Saint-Maximin on the 83rd minute mark and soon after that the home side pulled another goal back, this time through a superb finish from who else but Kelechi Iheanacho.
It shouldn’t have been nervy when we were still two goals up with 88 minutes, but we all know that Newcastle United never do things the easy way in the end!
With four minutes added on and the Foxes now flooding forward, a huge chance landed at Ayoze Perez’s feet in the opening moments of extra time. The Spaniard looked set to make it 4-3 after latching onto a loose ball, but saw his close range shot smothered quite brilliantly by Dubravka!
A big sigh of relief spread across living rooms around Tyneside and we hung on to secure a well deserved 4-2 win!
12 points clear of the drop zone, up to 13th, yet another goal for Willock and a hard fought brace for Wilson – a man who ran Leicester’s defence ragged from start to finish.
Next up, a meeting with Manchester City at St James’ Park on Friday 14th May!