NEWCASTLE: It has come to one thing when Newcastle United, the crew that might not purchase a win in late 2021, are claiming three factors regardless of not taking part in effectively.
Nevertheless, that’s precisely what they did at St. James’ Park as they noticed off high half Brighton & Hove Albion to make it eight video games unbeaten within the high flight, their longest unbeaten run since late 2011.
Most significantly, although, these three factors, coupled with defeat for Burnley in opposition to Chelsea, stretched their hole to the underside three to seven factors, that means a brighter future, a Premier League future, feels inside touching distance.
The Magpies’ win was sealed within the opening 45 as man-of-the-moment Ryan Fraser netted solely his third purpose in black and white from shut vary early doorways.
Fraser then turned supplier as Fabian Schar nodded in a free kick to ship St. James’ Park into raptures.
Brighton did reply within the second half as Lewis Dunk beat Martin Dubravka to the leap to half the deficit, however the guests couldn’t muster a deserved second regardless of loads of late huff and puff.
Profitable ugly will not be one thing Newcastle followers are all that accustomed to, however they’ll take all of it the identical.
Regardless of the return of Allan Saint-Maximin to the squad registering early headlines, the Frenchman may solely win a spot on the bench with Eddie Howe going unchanged for the third Premier League recreation in succession.
Whereas Graham Potter’s aspect had been simply the extra fluent and straightforward on the attention, Newcastle proved the extra scientific within the first half.
Newcastle’s midfield, so spectacular in controlling proceedings in opposition to West Ham and Brentford, didn’t have issues all their very own method in opposition to the Seagulls, who moved the ball from left to proper, with overlapping fullbacks, at will.
Nevertheless, that strategy did depart gaps on the again, and United had been in no temper to let that go unexploited.
Fraser, nominated for the Premier League participant of the month, was a continuing thorn within the opposition aspect, and it was he whose lung-busting run was rewarded along with his second purpose of the season.
With Brighton hemming Newcastle into their very own half and simply trying the extra more likely to rating, a sensible flip and go by Chris Wooden, in what was his most spectacular efficiency since arriving, unleashed pacey Jacob Murphy via the center.
Displaying the Brighton backline a clear set of heels, the wideman solely had the keeper to beat, and whereas his chipped end rebounded again off the publish, Fraser, who had burst ahead in assist, was rewarded with the simplest of finishes as he finessed previous numerous sprawling Brighton our bodies on the road.
If the primary felt prefer it was a blow in opposition to the run of play, the second was much more of a shock.
Inside minutes the Magpies received a free kick on the fitting, and swinging within the heart was Fraser for Schar, whose striker-like dart away from a defender noticed him meet the cross powerfully, beating Robert Sanchez at his entrance publish.
To that time, it was arduous to argue that Newcastle deserved the lead, however given their season’s plight, they’re removed from undeserving of a slice of luck and goodwill.
On the half hour the guests, smarting from their defensive capitulation, appeared to chunk again. A poor ball from Joelinton, a uncommon slip, allowed Brighton to interrupt, and having been performed in, Danny Welbeck’s effort was met with the robust body of Martin Dubravka, who diverted over the bar.
Two objectives down, Brighton continued to play their soccer, however the possibilities, in the primary, fell the best way of Newcastle.
On the eve of the break, a slip by goal-scorer Dunk allowed Murphy the possibility to web a 3rd, however his left-footed effort was weak and straightforward for Sanchez to assert.
After the break, little modified when it comes to the move of this one, with Newcastle pinned again and Brighton the aggressor.
Their lifeline got here at 55 minutes when Dunk rose above Dubravka to go in for 2-1. Cue a St. James’ Park siege as wave after wave of Brighton forays ahead had been repelled by Emil Krafth and the more and more spectacular Dan Burn.
Seeking to relieve the stress, Howe turned to Saint-Maximin and record-signing Bruno Guimaraes off the bench. It did little to stem the move of Brighton assaults.
Leandro Trossard, so usually a game-changer in opposition to the Magpies, compelled Dubravka right into a low cease as time ticked away.
However with the house crowd roaring them on, Newcastle held robust to climb to twenty-eight factors from 26 video games this season, the primary time they’ve been forward of the curve in terms of factors per recreation this marketing campaign.
And lengthy could it proceed. This was a efficiency for the purists. It lacked the swagger of the West Ham draw, the slicing fringe of Everton or Aston Villa, even the management of Brentford final week. However there was one factor it didn’t lack: Coronary heart.
Underneath Howe, there’s a lot to love about this United aspect, who seem like a crew remodeled from the one which limped into 2022 with a defeat in opposition to League One Cambridge United.
They aren’t the completed article, of that there is no such thing as a doubt, however what crew ever is? Properly, bar Manchester Metropolis perhaps, or prime Pep Guardiola Barcelona.
This crew, and Howe, are studying on the job, and having mastered the artwork of successful within the Premier League, the one method feels up for United, on and off the park.