Newcastle duo provide assists as Scotland top England’s World Cup group
Matt Ritchie and Grant Hanley played their part as Scotland ended Sunday night at the top of Group F.
The Scots opened the scoring against Malta after only nine minutes, when United’s Grant Hanley headed a pass to Robert Snodgrass and his shot beat the home keeper.
However, Malta hit back only four minutes later and the first half ended up being a bit of a struggle for Scotland as the home side took heart from the quickfire equaliser.
Control though was exerted again when eight minutes into the second period Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie provided the cross for Chris Martin to restore the visitors lead.
A sending off and converted penalty by Snodgrass with around half an hour remaining, ended the match as a contest.
Scotland added two more which included a hat-trick goal for Robert Snodgrass and Matt Ritchie was subbed with four minutes remaining. This was just after the fifth and final Scotland strike and appeared to be simply a chance to give another player a few minutes on the pitch, rather than any injury concern for the Newcastle winger.
Snodgrass was man of the match unsurprisingly in the 5-1 win but two decent performances by the Newcastle pair, as Rafa Benitez awaits the return of all his international players and hopes for no injury problems ahead of Derby County away on Saturday.
Earlier on Sunday, we were treated to a typically tedious England/Sam Allardyce performance, even when Skrtel was sent off in the 57th minute it was difficult to tell for much of the time that Slovakia were playing with only 10 men.
Creating very few clear chances, it took 38 minutes against a 10 man home side before a last gasp Lallana goal meant we were faced with a very smug Sam Allardyce, clearly wanting to see this as a professional job well done – rather than a lucky win and desperate game to watch.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]