Can’t describe how big last night’s win was. When the team was announced, it was a surprise to see Yoan Gouffran up front but to be fair, he had scored in his previous appearance up front against Birmingham in the FA Cup and I guess Rafa wanted pace up front.
Brighton were the better team in the first half and Bruno had a fantastic strike saved by Karl Darlow before he saved a shot from Sam Baldock, credit to Anthony Knockaert for his ball over from the set piece. From the corner that followed, tussling in the box between Ciaran Clark and Glenn Murray led to the hosts winning a penalty, I don’t think it was a penalty but what do you expect with Robert Madley refereeing? Anyway, Murray stepped up and sent Darlow the wrong way to make it 1-0, Brighton’s top scorer then forced Darlow into another good save with a decent volley. Our best chance in the first half came from a good cross from DeAndre Yedlin and Christian Atsu probably should’ve done better with the last kick before the half time break.
It looked like Darlow had made another costly error when he came out for a Brighton set piece early on in the second half but missed the ball, however, Paul Dummett (who had an excellent game) cleared it off the line. But after he saved from Knockaert, it was all Newcastle for the remainder of the game and Gouffran wasted a good chance to equalise when he intercepted a pass from Seagulls keeper David Stockdale but took too long and allowed the 31 year old to get in the way of his shot, he should’ve taken it round him and slotted it home.
When Rafa made his first substitution, bringing on Daryl Murphy for Jack Colback, I thought it was too late but we kept created chances and the Irishman had a header from Matt Ritchie’s cross tipped around the post by Stockdale. After he punched the resultant corner away, Atsu’s shot hit the outside of Diame’s right foot and unbelievably, ended up in the net (I thought at first, it had gone out for a goal kick). We brought on Ayoze Perez for Yoan Gouffran soon afterwards but I didn’t think he’d do much but after a fantastic ball from Ritchie towards Atsu, his low cross found the Spaniard, who slotted it home with two minutes to send us back to the top of the league.
This leaves us eight points above third place Huddersfield, who might have a game in hand but will have no chance of bettering our goal difference. Should we beat them at their place on Saturday, another game on Sky Sports, then surely we are up.