It was all a little comical that even when Dwight Gayle is knocking the goals in, some Newcastle fans still wanted to be worrying about why the club had wasted their time/money bringing in Daryl Murphy.
Taking out an insurance policy, you hope you never have to use it but if you do, it is a mighty relief when you are then cash it in.
That is Daryl Murphy. If Dwight Gayle (and to an extent Aleksandar Mitrovic) had never got injured, we might have gone through the entire season without seeing Daryl Murphy start a game in the Championship, then (if promoted) sell him in the summer!
Of course, Rafa has had to call on the 33 year old and he’s really delivered.
With a goal in each of his three starts this month, the insurance policy is paying top dollar so far.
In fact Daryl Murphy is showing Dwight Gayle (once every 88 minutes) how it is done with a goal every 70 minutes of Championship action, though that is only based on the two goals and 140 minutes of league action so far.
As well as earning the draw in the FA Cup at Birmingham, Murphy has scored the crucial goals against both Rotherham and Brentford to help Newcastle to six points that they may well not have collected without him. A class header to win the game in West London, then on Saturday he showed just what a good player he is, as he turned brilliantly and curled his effort left-footed past the keeper.
The striker says that before the match he had told his family how he dreamt of scoring in front of 52,000 at home (something which he would never have experienced previously at Ipswich or Sunderland…though possibly at Celtic) and it lived up to expectations, Murphy describing the moment as ‘absolutely brilliant’.
It remains to be seen how quickly both Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic come back, although Rafa Benitez seemed more optimistic about getting the Serbian back shortly, rather than the Championship’s top scorer.
Guessing that in an ideal world for both the Manager and fans, Mitro will be fit enough to start against Oxford in the FA Cup and ensure Murphy is ok for QPR on the following Wednesday, though obviously hopefully with Mitrovic challenging for league duty as well then.
“I scored two goals the previous week (at Brentford and Birmingham City) but I said to my wife and kids there would be nothing better than to score at home in front of 52,000 fans and that was definitely the case, it was absolutely brilliant.
”I want to be pushing to win stuff and play in front of 52,000 people. I just want to test myself really before I finish and I don’t think there’s a better club to come to to do that.
“Everyone wants to be beat us, we are top of the league and that’s just the way it is.
“It gives them more motivation and it’s hard for us but we know if we play the way we can, we can beat any team on the day.
“The (opening) goal was good timing really, just before half-time. For them to concede just before half-time makes it a different team-talk for their manager.
“I think the first goal is always important here and in the second half we just kicked on – as soon as we were in front we knew we had to push on and get some more goals.
“We created a lot of chances and thankfully we took some of them, in the end it was quite comfortable.
“The service I get is brilliant and you just have to be in and around the box on the move because when the delivery comes in, the ball can go anywhere. I try to place myself in the best position scoring-wise and thankfully the ball dropped to me and I scored.
“We knew going into the Rotherham game if we won, we’d be top of the league, it’s as simple and straightforward as that so we knew what we had to do.
“I watched Brighton’s game, shouting at the television – the game is on Sky and you have to watch it. I’m doing nothing else on a Friday night.”