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My Day: Newcastle United 1 - 0 Man United (February 2018)


After Kyle's excellent article on his day at the win at Leicester in April 2018, it influenced me to do an article just like that for matches I remember fondly.

It was a freezing cold Sunday and I had to rush off after finishing work at 12noon so I could catch my train. I was in third year at the University of Wales in Swansea and worked as the assistant chaplain. I was taking a trip to London for a few days on a song-writing course (it's a hobby of mine).

I got into the train station and, although I had not forgotten about the Newcastle match being on during my journey, I managed to take advantage of a special offer in getting my ticket upgraded to first class for an extra £10 so that I could get the better Wi-Fi signal, less chance of the commentary I was going to listen to buffering.

The late-running train left Swansea at 1:45pm which gave me half an hour to try and find some decent live commentary (this was before BBC Sounds and BBC Radio Newcastle said it would cut off online before the match). I had just passed Bridgend and I managed to find some commentary just as the players were walking out.

The game kicked off, I sat back in my seat, headphones on and shaking with nerves and surprised to hear this new signing called Martin Dubravka was making his debut. My best friend at uni and then housemate, Luke is a big and genuine Man United fan (don't worry, he is actually from Manchester). With the both of us being in third year at university, this was going to be the last time Newcastle were going to go up against Man United before graduate and leave Swansea.

"Martial finds himself through on goal and only has the keeper to beat... great save from Dubravka!"

At half time, it sounded as if we had a decent first half but this certainly felt like a game that could end up going either way.

Just before the second half began, I took a sip of the complimentary extremely small bottle of water - the perks of first class. Nerves had eased during half time but accelerated once more as the second half started.

"Oh and Sanchez; he's gone round the goalkeeper and this will surely be 1-0 and what a block by Lejeune - he's denied a certain goal"

The Red Devils appeared to have started the second half the better team and our defence with an unknown debutant goalkeeper was keeping us in the game. Lukaku, for Man United, also had a goal disallowed for a foul as he headed the ball home. We had the best part of half an hour remaining in the match and I was begging for the final whistle to come.

My train just left Swindon and then...

"Lejeune heads it into the box, RITCHIEEEE!!!!!!!!!"

Out of the blue, it sounded like we had a move that went from very little danger to goal in 0.9 seconds! Upon hearing "Newcastle lead through Matt Ritchie", my eyes lit up, I was startled and, for a split second, I shouted out "YES!" which made the passengers around me s**t themselves and suddenly staring at me. I explained, "I'm very sorry, Newcastle have just scored, I couldn't help it. Sorry."

My nerves eased when the guy sat opposite me asked, "Who are Newcastle playing against?"

"Man United" I replied,

"That's great. I hope you win" he said.

We reached the closing stages of the game and here came the bombardment of our goal as Man United went in search of a late equaliser.

The train was parked up on a platform at Reading and Dwight Gayle managed to block two quickfire shots from Anthony Martial inside the six-yard box. I was head in hands and could only listen on as we defended defiantly.

The full time whistle blew. With relief more than anything, I said to the guy sat opposite me, "Yes! We won, just about managed to hold on".

Later that evening, I bought myself a few snacks to take back to my hotel room; it was a special occasion after all... obviously and I delightfully watched Match of the Day 2.

The following day on the song writing course, I had a task of having to think up lyrics on the spot and had very little time to think of anything so I decided to sing words off the top of my head about how a guy called Matt made me really happy at the weekend - not quite Eurovision standard but I like it and I seemed to be the only one in the room that understood it.

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