Nigel Clough brought his team to defend and they did it very well.
The first half hour saw United unable to make any inroads and the visitors wasting the best chance of that opening 30 minutes.
Gayle then won a penalty, Ritchie converted it and then…the referee somehow ruled it out (see link to referee apology below).
Nigel Clough felt that this set the crowd alight and Burton did well to hold on until half-time.
Fittingly it was Matt Ritchie who scored the eventual winner, the Burton boss declaring ‘There’s not much you can do when he hits one like that’.
“We were beaten by a wonderful strike and that was it really.
“I thought we created some good situations and chances ourselves. Jackson (Irvine) had a great one that we would have fancied him to have put away but it’s a magnificent effort by our lads.
“We were in the game right to the end.
“At 1-0 we said to stay in the game and we kept going forward and kept trying to create but we are playing against an almost Premier League side and to only come away with a 1-0 defeat, we feel a little bit hard done by, despite the penalty controversy.
“I didn’t think it was a penalty. It was very harsh. After that I have no idea what happened. The referee makes the decision and you move on.
“We did well after that incident to get through to half-time 0-0 with the sense of injustice the Newcastle players and crowd felt.
“That spurred them on for the last 15 minutes until half-time but we weathered that storm and things calmed down in the second half.
“Jon McLaughlin has not had a lot to do tonight. They just scored from a brilliant strike by Matt Richie and it was on his wrong foot as well. There’s not much you can do when he hits one like that.”
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
(Referees Union issue apology after the game, read it HERE)
(Read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction HERE)