On Saturday afternoon, Newcastle United played and beat 3rd place Huddersfield Town, climbing 11 points clear of them and 5 points clear of Brighton following their 3-0 defeat to Nottingham Forrest. But what exactly happened?
Well, Rafa appeared to put an end to painfully bad starts to matches, as we started with a few attacks, and bagged a corner in the opening few minutes. That doesn't seem like anything, but from what came from it and what has happened in the last few games, it meant a whole lot. The corner was took by Shelvey and a quick short one-two with Ritchie occurred, before Ritchie was supposedly tripped over and awarded a penalty after it hit Jonjo Shelvey's hand. Very dodgy indeed, but as far I'm concerned that's karma for all the terrible refereeing against us we've had to sit through all season long.
As usual, the penalty resulted in Matt Ritchie slamming it into the bottom corner, putting us 1-0 up with just 9 minutes on the clock. A nice change from being on the brink of conceding with 9 minutes on the clock. After that, however. We sat back again. With Karl Darlow really having to pick some out of the hat by saving long shots by the likes of Aaron Mooy, Phillip Billing and Izzy Brown.
However, on the 32nd minute, Daryl Murphy had a poor touch when connecting to a Jonjo Shelvey ball, the ball subsequently went into the goalkeeper's hand, Daryl Murphy then kicked the ball out of his hand and put a neat little finish away and putting Michael Hefele on his backside. Although protests from fans and players alike, the goal rightly stood. The goalkeeper only had ONE hand on the ball, therefor he didn't have full control of it. So it was a good call from the referee to put us up by two.
Further pressure by Huddersfield went on. But with Newcastle United reducing them to just long shots, Karl Darlow had to make another good save against a 45th minute Aaron Mooy strike. But we hung on to half time with the scores at 2-0. With only 10% of the ball being in their half
In the second half It got worse possession wise. With Newcastle ending the match with 24% possession. We had to hold off waves and waves of constant attacks. Until the 71st minute, where Jonjo Shelvey conceded a penalty for tripping up Kechunga in the box. The penalty taker was Aaron Mooy. Who sent Karl Darlow the wrong way by putting it into the bottom right corner. At this point, I was very nervous.
More constant pressure followed, we even gave away a very close free kick which was taken by Nakki Wells, who subsequently skied it over the bar. But Huddersfield never got a clear in-the-box chance all game really. It all seemed to just be outside the box hits, which were very good may I add. But they wouldn't beat Karl Darlow.
Then, on the 91st minute, Huddersfield's substitute goalkeeper Joel Coleman came running into the box for a corner. When the corner fizzled out into nothing, he ran back into his box. But decided to run back out again to the half way line when Ciaran Clark cleared the ball...
But Coleman misjudged it, and ended up looking like a fool when it hit off his head and went backwards... Right into the stride of Dwight Gayle, who walked it into the net, giving him his 21st goal of the season and Newcastle's 3rd of the night. Sealing the victory in the away side's favor. And we really are going to take some catching now. And this was definitely a champions performance. Well done lads!
Our next game is against Reading on Tuesday night. (8:00 PM kick-off) It will NOT be shown on TV but there are bean-back tickets for FREE to see the game at Number 9 bar or the Strawberry. However, It is STRICTLY 18+ only. See the club site for more information on sale. They are running out quite fast though, so order quick if you're getting them.