Saturday's encounter with Wigan Athletic saw the Magpies pull away with all 3 points despite not putting up the best performance. The final score was 2-1 to Newcastle with goals from Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie.
The opening 15 minutes gave off the impression that this was going to be a typical, poor home performance as Newcastle once again just played a boring anti-attack tactic. With the Magpies constantly losing the ball and failing to make a solid run up the pitch, what made things even more frustrating was that Wigan were visibly poor at the back, yet we failed to make any runs forward at all which resulted in us passing back to the goalkeeper in panic or simply losing the ball, and even when we did move forward. Players wouldn't try and run onto through balls. Jonjo Shelvey being the main culprit of that bad habit.
But eventually however, we almost found the net as Grant Hanley headed it onto Gayle from a corner, who forced goalkeeper Matt Gilks into pulling off a good save. This was the start of good things to come...
... And things got good real quick, as minutes later, a quick counter attack started by Vurnon Anita found the feet of Mohamed Diame, who put a great cross in for Dwight Gayle who simply couldn't miss the open goal he was given and so he made it 1-0 with 36 minutes gone, putting a smile back onto the faces of toon fans who have experienced no win in three successive matches. (D,L,D). However the rest of the first half bought nothing special to the table and the match was half-over as quick as anything, 1-0 at half time.
The beginning of the second half bought hope that our lead would increase with some early attacks but unfortunately, it wouldn't last. After a double-act of embarrassing defending from Colback and Lascelles, the ball found the feet of midfielder Michael Jacobs who chipped it over a reaching Karl Darlow, setting the score to 1-1 and putting the game back on as a competition. The nerves started to kick in for Newcastle.
And things got more worrying, as just a 2 minutes after their equaliser, Wigan almost made it 2-1 after they almost headed one in from a free kick on the left wing, instead though, it fired just wide of the left post.
Luckily, this goal seemed to act as Newcastle's wake up call, as just minutes later, Gouffran's accidental knock-on to Matt Ritchie led to a headed goal after his initial shot hit the crossbar after Gilks palmed it on to there. This retained our one goal lead and made the score 2-1. Matt Ritchie heading in his 10th championship goal of the season.
United weren't finished, as Christian Atsu was subbed on for Mohamed Diame and went on a great dribble, chipping a Wigan defender in the process, passsing it to Matt Ritchie, who almost doubled his tally and added to our lead with a good shot, which was met with an equally good save by Matt Gilks.
There was a lot of pressure on our defense afterwards,Wigan have been so poor all season, they failed to put it in the back of the net. Even though the stats say we had 52% possession, it felt the complete opposite towards the end of the match.
Although I am okay with bad performances giving that we get wins. We must change our game style sooner rather than later. As if you play like this in the Premier League, you will just get battered every game. If we keep playing the same, it will leave a headache of questions heading into the new season, hopefully our performance will be better on Wednesday. As the Toon Army play relegation battling Burton Albion at home, 7:45PM kick off.