As Championship top scorers the need was hardly urgent…but there has been a feeling amongst many fans that Newcastle needed somebody to step up and be that 10+ goal player to support the outstanding Dwight Gayle, especially when he is out injured.
The four goals against Rotherham means Newcastle have now scored 54 in the Championship, 12 more than Brighton and eight ahead of the second highest – Barnsley with 46.
Brighton have their out and out top scorer in Glenn Murray but they also have Anthony Knockaert, the winger that Newcastle tried to sign in the summer. He made it to 10 for the season on Friday night, his two goals giving the south coast club a 2-1 win.
These past few days may have also coincided with Newcastle finding their own 10+ goal man this season.
In the last Championship campaign you had Carroll (17), Nolan (17), Lovenkrands (13) and Shola (10) all getting into double figures, but for most of this campaign nobody had really convinced that they could do it.
However, the last few days have seriously suggested that Matt Ritchie could be the man.
The winger scored two (and hit the post) in midweek to beat Birmingham and then another brace against Rotherham to help send Newcastle back to the top of the table.
That brings him to 10 goals in all competitions, as well as six assists in the Championship.
His last Championship campaign when Bournemouth went up as champions, saw Matt Ritchie score 15 and get 17 assists, he may struggle to get quite that many but he is definitely back on the right lines, obviously having rediscovered his magic hat…
After starting the season as Newcastle’s best and most effective player, the winger gradually faded and his hard work going backwards as well as forwards, ended up being his saving grace.
The goals against Rotherham weren’t classics and were helped by a pretty poor goalkeeper, though that first goal for Ritchie summed up a major change, the Scottish international making the effort and taking the gamble of following up. Gouffran’s weak shot spilled by the keeper and Matt Ritchie having the tap-in. Recent times have seen neither Ritchie or his teammates really making these runs/gambles.
With three in three games (all competitions) Daryl Murphy is also perhaps coming with a late run to get into double figures, whilst Ayoze Perez also looked a lot better yesterday and took his tally to seven (four in the league) for the season.
With Jonjo Shelvey now back and pulling the strings once again, no reason why he and his teammates can’t keep the goal threat going and make those recent defeats by Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn a distant memory (five of Newcastle’s seven Championship defeats came when they failed to score a goal).
Newcastle United’s Championship Goalscorers so far:
4 Perez, Gouffran
3 Mitrovic, Atsu, Shelvey
2 Diame, Murphy, Clark
1 Hanley, Hayden, Lascelles, Yedlin, Own Goal