Karl Darlow might make more camera pleasing saves in his career but you doubt whether any will beat the sheer brilliance of what he did on Saturday afternoon.
A frustrating opening half threatened to turn into something disastrous, Karl Darlow attempted to keep possession and instead gave the ball to the opposition as he got his hands on the ball but then had to remove them as he slid out of the 18 yard box on the Milburn side.
Potentially getting away with not giving away a penalty when he then made contact with the Rotherham attacker but he didn’t go down, Darlow and his defenders then spent a few madcap seconds as they desperately tried to prevent what looked a certain goal and the visitors taking the lead.
Karl Darlow eventually just flung himself full length (helped by a Ciaran Clark trip!) and ended up making a spectacular save as he blocked the shot heading for a certain goal.
Having been one of Newcastle’s star men this season, along with other top performers Clark, Gayle and Shelvey, it was a massive relief for the former Forest keeper and next thing you know, Newcastle had scored at the other end and the contest was effectively over.
Darlow’s retrieval of the situation was very likely a match winning save, as this season has seen Newcastle usually fail to recover if going behind, with defeats to Huddersfield, Blackburn (twice), Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham and Wolves, when conceding the first goal. Only the shambolic Forest game saw United lose after taking the lead.
Karl Darlow talking to the official club site:
“In this league, we’re going to have tricky games where we have to overcome bits and pieces, and we are doing that. It shows the strength and character of the squad and hopefully that will be enough to get us back in the Premier League.
“I think we knew that they were going to sit in and try and frustrate us and we just needed to wait and pick our moments. In the second half, we got into a good flow, played some good stuff and it was a good 4-0 win.
“When teams come here we know it’s going to be hard for us to manoeuvre the ball, especially when they put so many players behind the ball. Teams know that they’re coming here to a big club and a big stadium, and they know that they want to frustrate the fans and try and play on the players’ minds, really, by doing that.
“But we played some good stuff, got the three points and we move on.
“I slid out and I knew that I was going to take the ball over the line, so I tried to leave the ball with my hand on it, and unfortunately momentum carried me out.
“Then Yedlin gets back and it was just a bit chaotic after that. Thankfully I made the save and kept it at 0-0 at the time, that’s the main thing.
“It was a little bit scary but these things happen in football. It was just instinct and not wanting it to be my fault that a goal had gone in, so it was desperation more than anything I think.
“If we can carry on playing like we have done by picking up points against the teams in the lower half of the division, it’s always a good sign because they can be tricky and complacency can be a problem sometimes.
“But it seems that in this squad, we’re doing well against those teams and we just need to keep on winning games and stay right at the top.
“We defended well, I had a few saves but other than that it was pretty comfortable, and we move on. Hopefully we’ll keep keeping clean sheets.”