Brighton 1 Newcastle 2 – Tuesday 28 February 7.45pm
A quite incredible night has seen Newcastle United roar back to the top of the championship and make themselves hot favourites for both promotion and the Champions slot.
Robert Madley (who wrongly sent Coloccini off at Sunderland) claimed an assist when he couldn’t get his whistle in mouth quick enough to award a penalty in the 14th minute.
One of those typical wrestling matches that never gets given and somehow this referee decreed it a clear penalty which Murray converted.
Newcastle could have crumbled but held…relatively firm.
Fans watching were questioning the team selection and lack of substitutions but none of us are in Rafa’s shoes.
Newcastle edged back into the contest and started having chances of their own but when Yoan Gouffran missed a sitter just short of the hour mark, tensions rose even higher at the Manager’s inaction.
Mohamed Diame was a particular target for the discontent and when Murphy came on for Colback, there was widespread disbelief that Diame stayed on the pitch.
Seven minutes later and we saw the master plan begin to unfold, a corner fell to Christian Atsu whose off target shot struck Mohamed Diame, he didn’t have a clue about it and the ball spiralled into the top corner.
Ayoze Perez was then instantly brought on for Gouffran and seven minutes later he scored the winner.
Christian Atsu cutting the ball back for the Spaniard to coolly finish.
Truly incredible scenes in the away end.
There is only one Rafa Benitez, we salute you.
Full match report to follow.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Brighton 1 Newcastle 2
Newcastle: Diame 81, Perez 89
Brighton: Murray 14 (pen)
Possession was Brighton 46% Newcastle 54%
Total shots were Brighton 10 Newcastle 19
Shots on target were Brighton 6 Newcastle 8
Corners were Brighton 3 Newcastle 6
Referee: Robert Madley
Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Colback (Murphy 74), Shelvey, Atsu, Diame, Gouffran (Perez 82)
Elliot, Hanley, Gamez, Anita, Mitrovic
Crowd: 30,230 (Newcastle 2,700)