Some close shaves for Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon in the relegation fight.
Despite not playing until Wednesday night, there was plenty to interest Newcastle fans as today’s matches unfolded.
Sunderland were up first at Upton Park in the lunchtime kick-off and when Antonio gave West Ham the lead after 30 minutes, you expected the Hammers to turn the screw and end up easy winners.
However, Sunderland were arguably the better team in the second half and ended up with more overall shots (13 v 9) and more on target (4-3) but passed up a series of decent chances – West Ham hanging on at the end for a 1-0 win.
The other match that really captured our attention was top against fourth bottom, with Leicester hosting Norwich.
A three goal or better win for Leicester would have seen Newcastle climb out of the bottom three on goal difference but as it happened it ended up a very even match and goalless heading into the final seconds.
Then up pops substitute Ulloa to grab a dramatic late winner to send the Foxes five points clear at the top, whilst at the same time keeping Norwich anchored on 24 points and only ahead of Newcastle on goal difference.
Elsewhere, Stoke must have surely finished off any surviving Villa hopes with a 2-1 home win.
The only negative being Bournemouth picking up a point at Watford, although it could have been worse as they were marginally the better team and had chances to take all three points.
Here are today’s results so far (West Brom leading Crystal Palace 2-0 in the 5.30 kick-off after 30 minutes as I write) and how the relegation fight looks at the bottom of the table:
West Ham 1 Sunderland 0
Leicester 1 Norwich o
Southampton 1 Chelsea 2
Stoke 2 Aston Villa 1
Watford 0 Bournemouth 0
Bottom six places in the table, number of points before each club (Newcastle and Swansea (away at Spurs tomorrow) with 12 games remaining, the other four with only 11):
16 Aston Villa
I can’t help but think that Bournemouth are now edging away and with an eight goal advantage (over NUFC) in terms of goal difference, it is worth in effect an extra point for them where Newcastle are concerned.
So pretty much a four clubs for two places in the relegation fight to join Aston Villa in next season’s Championship.