Not the greatest performance, but another big win as a dogged second half display saw us move SEVEN points clear of safety today!
It’s now eight games unbeaten for the Toon and five wins in our last six, with this being our third straight win at St James’ Park.
Now for our marks out of 10:
Martin Dubravka – 6 – A smart save to deny Welbeck first half which could’ve changed the course of the game. Made a couple of decent stops in the second half but was caught in no mans land for Lewis Dunk’s header, so is marked down one for that as it was a poor piece of goalkeeping on an otherwise solid day for the Slovakian.
Emil Krafth – 7 – The Swede is the weak spot in our side (as harsh as that sounds), but he put in a real shift and defended well in the second half as Brighton through everything at us down the left. I must admit, has done better than I expected since coming into the side and recovered well from a nervy start.
Fabian Schar – 8.5* – Man of the match for me. Took his goal very well and looks a totally different player to the one we saw under Steve Bruce (isn’t alone). Where he may have lost his head previously, he stayed switched on until the very end in this one, playing a pivotal role at both ends. Jamaal Lascelles really struggling to get back in the side, competition for places can only be a good thing for us going forward.
Dan Burn – 8 – What a signing he continues to be! The reported £13m fee is an absolute STEAL based on what we’ve seen so far! Must’ve been difficult coming up against his former side but was brilliant again, extremely well. Cut out a few dangerous looking attacks in the second half. What a signing.
Matt Targett – 7 – Another astute bit of business by the Magpies. Brighton clearly targeted the right hand side of our defence, but the Aston Villa loanee still did well to keep the lively Lamptey from running riot. Solid passing, never hides from a 50/50 and times his tackles so well. A permanent transfer just seems a no brainer if he keeps playing like this!
Joe Willock – 6 – Not his best afternoon in the black and white but as always tenacious in the tackle, constantly trying to pinch the ball back. Tired in the second half and wasn’t quite as good going forward today; aside from one early burst down the right that saw him set up Fraser on the volley. Limped off with a knock, meaning Bruno might just get a start next week?
Jonjo Shelvey – 6 – A quiet afternoon from Shelvey today, who was solid but not as influential as he can be. Didn’t seem to get on the ball much and couldn’t really get us going forward. Still, he did a decent job screening the back four and remained disciplined throughout.
Joelinton – 7 – Got around the pitch well as always and was typically physical and disruptive in a bid to unsettle Brighton’s passing game. Lacked some quality progressing the ball forwards, but continues to do a solid job; even when he’s below his best!
Jacob Murphy – 6 – Wasted a huge chance to put us three up in the second half and should’ve scored in the build up to Fraser’s opener; although he was unlucky after doing well to get in behind. Can never fault his effort, battled well but definitely lacks quality going forward. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him dropped for Saint-Maximin next week.
Ryan Fraser – 8 – The Scot is stringing together a few fantastic performances now. Took his goal well, whipped in a superb ball for Schar’s header and ran himself into the ground; having to be taken off for Bruno after giving everything he’d got! Impressive movement, endless energy and end product in the final third.
Chris Wood – 6.5 – Cut an isolated figure all afternoon but played a key role in our opening goal, shielding the ball well before sliding in Murphy who hit the post. Found it hard to win as many headers against Dunk and Duffy, however he worked hard, fought for every second ball and held the ball up well at times. Copy and pasting this from last week, but I am absolutely desperate for him to get a goal.
Bruno Guimarães – 6 – Was screaming at my television when he decided to mess around with it in our box 2-1 up two to play. Showed glimpses of real quality again in the brief spell he had on the pitch, nicking the ball back well once or twice and showing confidence (sometimes too much!) on the ball. So excited to see his partnership with Saint-Maximin blossom.
Sean Longstaff – N/A – Only played the minute.