NEWCASTLE: It has come to one thing when Newcastle United, the group that might not purchase a win in late 2021, are claiming three factors regardless of not taking part in nicely.
Nevertheless, that’s precisely what they did at St. James’ Park as they noticed off prime half Brighton & Hove Albion to make it eight video games unbeaten within the prime flight, their longest unbeaten run since late 2011.
Most significantly, although, these three factors, coupled with defeat for Burnley towards Chelsea, stretched their hole to the underside three to seven factors, which 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 objective 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 isn’t one thing Newcastle followers are all that accustomed to, however they may 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 facet had been simply the extra fluent and straightforward on the attention, Newcastle proved the extra medical within the first half.
Newcastle’s midfield, so spectacular in controlling proceedings towards West Ham and Brentford, didn’t have issues all their very own means towards 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 facet, and it was he whose lung-busting run was rewarded together with his second objective of the season.
With Brighton hemming Newcastle into their very own half and simply wanting 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 by 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 help, was rewarded with the best of finishes as he finessed previous a lot of sprawling Brighton our bodies on the road.
If the primary felt prefer it was a blow towards the run of play, the second was much more of a shock.
Inside minutes the Magpies received a free kick on the proper, and swinging within the middle 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 probabilities, in the primary, fell the way in which of Newcastle.
On the eve of the break, a slip by goal-scorer Dunk allowed Murphy the possibility to internet a 3rd, however his left-footed effort was weak and straightforward for Sanchez to say.
After the break, little modified when it comes to the circulate 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 strain, Howe turned to Saint-Maximin and record-signing Bruno Guimaraes off the bench. It did little to stem the circulate of Brighton assaults.
Leandro Trossard, so usually a game-changer towards 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 on the subject of factors per recreation this marketing campaign.
And lengthy might it proceed. This was a efficiency for the purists. It lacked the swagger of the West Ham draw, the reducing fringe of Everton or Aston Villa, even the management of Brentford final week. However there was one factor it didn’t lack: Coronary heart.
Beneath Howe, there’s a lot to love about this United facet, who appear like a group reworked from the one which limped into 2022 with a defeat towards League One Cambridge United.
They don’t seem to be the completed article, of that there is no such thing as a doubt, however what group ever is? Properly, bar Manchester Metropolis possibly, or prime Pep Guardiola Barcelona.
This group, and Howe, are studying on the job, and having mastered the artwork of profitable within the Premier League, the one means feels up for United, on and off the park.