Brentford 1 Newcastle 2 – Saturday 14 January 2017 3pm
Dwight Gayle was one of eight changes as Rafa Benitez reverted back to a more recognisable line-up for the trip to Brentford.
The United boss also relying on his usual 4-2-3-1 formation rather than the experimental 3-5-2 employed against Birmingham.
A bright opening by Newcastle saw Dwight Gayle at the heart of the action and after going close on a few occasions, the Magpies then went in front on the 20 minute mark, United’s number nine scoring with an excellent left foot effort from a tight angle.
Then disaster struck only two minutes later, Dwight Gayle forced off with an injury. Daryl Murphy replaced the Newcastle striker and the injury/change appeared to set Newcastle back far more than it should.
After being the dominant team, suddenly it was Brentford getting on top and Karl Darlow made a couple of excellent saves to keep United ahead at the break.
The flow towards the Newcastle goal continued after the break and Lasse Vibe grabbed a deserved equaliser seven minutes in, his left shot giving Karl Darlow no chance.
United briefly looked like getting hold of the game again, only for injury to Hayden further knocking Newcastle’s day – Vurnon Anita off the bench with just under half an hour to go.
Pretty much one way traffic followed the midfielder’s departure and goalscorer Vibe then saw his effort unluckily (for him!) come back off the post.
As if the day couldn’t get more bizarre, Vurnon Anita was then forced off the pitch and out of the game in the 72nd minute, the Dutchman looking to be the most injured (if that makes sense) of the three Newcastle players to leave the action. Grant Hanley was the sub for the subbed sub and United having to further reorganise.
Then what do you know, totally against the run of play, Ayoze Perez crosses for Daryl Murphy to put United in the lead! Two goals in a week for the Irishman.
Darlow was immense as Newcastle crept towards the 90 minute mark but United fans knew there would be significant injury time due to the injuries and sure enough…nine (NINE) minutes!
The final stages of injury time saw Vibe miss the chance for a second equaliser and the final act was a great save by the Newcastle keeper from Jota.
Not sure my heart can take too many of these – three points and back to the top of the league but at what cost?
Losses for Huddersfield and Brighton a massive bonus as Newcastle go one point clear at the top and seven ahead of third.
Full match report to follow.
Championship Table now showing….
55 Newcastle (+29)
54 Brighton (+23)
48 Leeds (+11)
46 Reading (+3)
46 Huddersfield (0)
45 Sheff Wed (+6)
Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Hayden (Anita 62 (Hanley 72)), Colback, Ritchie, Perez, Gouffran, Gayle (Murphy 28)
Sels, Lazaar, Sterry, Ameobi
Referee: Chris Kavanagh