The final scoreline read Newcastle 1 Burton 0 but it wasn’t easy in a number of ways for the Magpies.
As well as the ridiculous refereeing fiasco when failing to allow Ritchie to retake the penalty, Rafa Benitez’ team ran into an opposition who were impressive in their discipline and for rigidly sticking to Nigel Clough’s game plan.
It will be an incredible achievement if Burton can hold on to their place in the second tier, you may not enjoy their football but with such limited resources it would be remarkable.
Newcastle fans should have known what to expect last night, as leaving aside their freak 5-3 home defeat to Brentford, six of their last seven games had yielded only six goals scored by both Burton and their opponents.
That became seven goals in seven of those last eight matches, as Newcastle scored the only goal of the game.
Visiting midfielder Luke Murphy rated Matt Ritchie’s right foot long range effort as ‘a top quality goal to win it’.
The Burton player thought ‘we limited them to very few chances and had as many ourselves’.
The stats below tell the story of the game.
Newcastle may have had 22 shots to Burton’s six but the reality was shown by four efforts on target to Burton’s two.
So disciplined was the defending by Nigel Clough’s players, United were relying on efforts from distance and so no surprise it took that stunner from Matt Ritchie to break them down.
Luke Murphy says ‘Newcastle have Premiership players’ and in Matt Ritchie they certainly have, some of the Scottish international’s teammates though are running out of time to prove the same.
“The lads worked their socks off.
“They have scored a top quality goal to win it so we can’t be too hard on ourselves.
“Newcastle have Premiership players but we put a real good shift in and had chances ourselves.
“They have players who can produce something special any time of the game but we limited them to very few chances and had as many ourselves.
“We applied ourselves really well and I hope that we can take that into a very big game on Saturday against Aston Villa at home and pick up three points that will give us a really good chance of staying in the division.
“We have mixed and matched and it says a lot about the whole squad that the players who have come in have been unbelievable and I’m sure everyone who comes in from now until the end of the season will do a good job.
“It’s just a shame that after Huddersfield we couldn’t have just hung on and got a point and then it would have been a great few days.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Burton 0
Newcastle: Ritchie 68
Possession was Burton 30% Newcastle 70%
Total shots were Burton 6 Newcastle 22
Shots on target were Burton 2 Newcastle 4
Corners were Burton 3 Newcastle 4
Referee: Keith Stroud
Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Mbemba, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Atsu (Ameobi 89), Gayle (Murphy 90+1), Perez
Elliot, Gamez, Haidara, Gouffran, Hanley
(Give your player ratings for the Burton match using our interactive system HERE)
(Referees Union issue apology after the game, read it HERE)
(Read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction HERE)
(Read Nigel Clough’s post-match reaction HERE)
(Read what Rafa Benitez has had to say about Wednesday night HERE)