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Captain Saved The day From The Villains

We are back in action tonight with Newcastle against Aston Villa at St James Park. In the previous fixture Steve Bruce stated that he did not want to change the system in the West Brom game, and it appears he has kept that philosophy with Dubravka keeping his place in the side. The back four are unchanged with Krafth, Lascelles, Clark and Dummett. There is a change in midfield with Willock dropping deeper from his false nine role in the previous game. Alongside Willock are Shelvey and Hayden. Just ahead of them is Dwight Gayle in that false nine role, with Joelinton and Fraser completing the front wide positions.

 

United get us underway and three minutes in Joelinton is in a battle on the right hand side with Tyrone Mings, Joelinton got in front of Mings in on goal but the defender wont down in the process and a free kick was awarded to Villa. And just two minutes later United were in again when Shelvey put the ball forward, Gayle got a touch for Fraser to hit the ball on the volley but it was caught by Martinez.


Quarter of an hour in and Joelinton was in again, against Mings, big Joe shrugs off the defender but it is his indecisiveness which lets him down and Ezri Konsa slides in just as he is about to shoot, the ball went out for a corner and from the corner ended in the back of the net but the goal was ruled out for a foul on the keeper. Three minutes later we saw a battle between Paul Dummett and Bertrand Traore, Traore used his pace to get into the box but Dummett used his strength and ushered Traore out of play and over the advertising boards resulting in him crashing into the barriers on the other side. Traore then went off with suspected cracked ribs.



Twenty three minutes in El Ghazi (the substitute for Traore) gets onto the ball, El Ghazi beats Dummett to get a shot away but its straight at Dubravka and palmed up inti the air. Both teams were getting forward but with little end product to shout about. The only effort worth shouting about fell to Gayle in the 45th minute when the ball dropped to him inside the box, Gayle went for the volley but he scuffed it and it was blocked by Mings. Half time 0-0.

 

Aston Villa get the second half under way and it starts similar to how the first half ended with nothing much in terms of chances, so we had to wait until the 52nd minute for Ezri Konsa to have a header go wide from a free kick by Matt Targett, which was initially won by Oli Watkins going down to a challenge by Krafth. Two minutes later almost saw Joe Willock emulate one of the luckiest goals ever scored by a United player in Mo Diame's fluke goal against Brighton in the Championship. Shelvey had the shot from the edge of the area and the ball deflected off of the heel of Willock and dipped onto the top of the net.



In the 63rd minute it looked like luck maybe on the side of the Magpies as Fraser crossed the ball into the box which found Villa defender Matt Targett who headed it towards goal, Thankfully for Targett Martinez plucked the ball out of the air. Seven minutes later Ryan Fraser had an effort on goal when he picked up the ball from Ross Barkley, Fraser with an eye for goal tried to bend the shot into the top corner but Mings got his head to the ball and over the bar. But in the 73rd minute I'm sure there were many Geordies shouting at the screens at Joelinton, when he broke free into the box, in on goal Joelinton was indecisive yet again and tried to pass rather than shoot, the Villa defence got to the to cut out the pass.



With ten minutes to go Villa almost took the lead when Watkins clipped the ball into the box but El Ghazi just missed it by a cats eyelash, so close to being one-nil. But the Villa effort was nowhere near as close as United's effort three minutes later, the substitute Jacob Murphy got past the Villa Defence with a fake shot to make space, Murphy took on the shot, curling and dipping towards goal, the ball hit the crossbar, so, so close. The floodgates had opened in the last ten minutes with all the action finally coming into play. This time, in the 86th minute it was Oli Watkins who managed to get onto the ball from a good lofted ball through. Watkins took on a first time shot and Dubravka made the save with his legs. But Villa pick the ball back up and put it into the area, Watkins lowers himself to the ball to direct it goal bound, Clark managed to get his knee onto the ball but unfortunately get put the ball into the back of his own net. 1-0 Villa.



Bruce finally responded to the conceded goal by bringing on Andy Carroll for Issac Hayden. but Villa was still in the running to claim all three point when Luiz obtained the ball from thirty five yards out, Luiz then tried to lob Dubravka but the keeper got his finger tips to the ball. With four minutes to go, United push forward, Murphy played a low ball which was flicked on by Gayle but the keeper got down to stop it and Mings eventually cleared it away.


94th minute. Shelvey played a deep ball into the box which went over the heads of the attackers, Murphy picked up the ball on the left side, we needed something special, we need our leader to step up. And step up he did. Murphy crossed the ball to the near post, and like a majestic Gazelle the captain Jamal Lascelles leaped into the air to nod home the equaliser. Full Time Newcastle United 1-1 Aston Villa.


 

This was a game we would have liked to win but in hindsight a point will do. Newcastle are unbeaten in three games now but is it good enough? Today a point at home against Aston Villa, Yeah, this probably was a good result on the outside. But we should have beaten Wolves, We played terrible against West Brom but that should have been three points for the taking. And this game we were arguably the better team again. Joelinton should have scored, like I said in the report the lad is way too indecisive. If Joelinton was a gymnast he would lose points on the landing because he doesn't like to finish. I will give him credit, he absolutely bullied Tyrone Mings. And finally I move onto Steve Bruce, what has he got against Andy Carroll. Bringing him on way to late again. Fair enough he contributed to the point by making a fantastic tackle to keep the ball in our half, but we needed that at 0-0. Bruce needs to sort out his substitution strategies. Next up is an away trip to Brighton. This game is crucial. The biggest game all season. Both sides look set to be caught by Fulham but only one can drop into the relegation zone. Who will fall. We will find out in just eight days time. Howay the Lads. Don't let us down.


By Sam West

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