Newcastle 2 Stoke 1 – Saturday 16 September 3pm
We asked a number of our regular writers to give us a brief instant reaction after the final whistle:
“I was so sure we’d struggle this year that I continually fear the worst.
“So when we got to half time only 1-0 ahead after dominating proceedings, I thought it might be ‘one of those games’ where it slips away.
“When Stoke got to 1-1 I was sure it was.
“But this team is made of the right stuff, and are making me eat my early season words. It was a really good performance.
“As with the West Ham game, it seems unfair to pick out individuals. Everyone contributed. But I’ll give Perez a mention. He’s been flat for a long time, but today I remembered why I liked him when he joined.”
“Great result and a quality match in spite of some shoddy officiating that would be well at home in the Championship season.
“Stoke couldn’t get near us first half and when they inevitably snuck back into the game, United had the gumption to bounce back for the win, Lascelles the man for the second week in a row.
“Slight concern about Joselu missing two absolute sitters and a third decent chance. At least he’s getting into these positions and hopefully it won’t prove a confidence knocker against his old club.
“Very good from NUFC though, Merino seemed to be at the heart of everything, an astounding addition that could be a huge difference.”
“Well earned 3 points and another organised and committed performance.
“They were rubbish apart from Shaqiri and I always thought we would win once we went ahead.
“The last 10 minutes tho, nail-biting, especially when that lanky streek Crouch came on.
“Final word about Joselu.
“If he could score goals he would be playing for someone else, a Champions League team.
“He brings a lot to the team but he will never score goals, he never has. Better that we accept that now and applaud his contribution elsewhere.”
“Atmosphere great, performance was fantastic. Hungry, made things happen, worked for every ball.
“Happy Saturday! One in the pipe hole for the Sky pundits – we are here to stay!
“This is Rafa’s playground – he is king of the castle!
“Three wins on the bounce and all of sudden we look up, not down. The fine lines in football eh!
“A day where the manager returned from on the sick, and a game that was just the tonic for Rafa.
“We were all over them in that first half and there were chances to to put the game to bed. Profligacy can cost though and inevitably they hit back.
“Stoke are a well run, established Premier League side. It’s never easy, but our skipper found a way through.
“Another goal from a set piece in his locker. I hope Pardew was watching.
“A club that seems to exists in perma state of crisis sits fourth in the table tonight.
“We want more, Rafa, we want more.”
“Get in there!!
“I was very worried first 15 to 20 minutes as we were being completely outplayed on our own pitch. But since Atsu strike we were easily the better team.
“Our performance, added to our previous two, makes a total mockery of the lazy opinions on our team being Championship standard. It isn’t.
“We had best squad the Championship has ever seen last year and we have added to it. It’s Premier League and maybe people will start to believe it.
“We sit in the Top 4 as of 5 o clock today….oh my.
“Captain Fantastic does it again.
“Welcome back Rafa.
“Champions League, we’re having a laugh! HTL.”
“Thought we were gonna be made to pay for Joselu’s missed chances, especially when pegged back to 1-1.
“The ref not giving us a penalty at the Gallowgate End could almost be seen as a favour to us as it spurred the home crowd on.
“Great result that has us looking up the table rather than down, champion!
“It also has to said that the lads played extremely well and played some decent stuff at times.”
“Should have had the game sewn up by half time and that would have meant a less anxious last 20 minutes!!
“We looked confident and organised if a little lacking in seeing the game out ability, hopefully that will improve as they get more premier league games under their belts.
“A great feeling at the final whistle, another 3 points and another improved performance.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 2 Stoke 1
Newcastle: Atsu 19, Lascelles 68
Stoke: Shaqiri 57
Possession was Stoke 58% Newcastle 42%
Total shots were Stoke 10 Newcastle 16
Shots on target were Stoke 13 Newcastle 14
Corners were Stoke 5 Newcastle 7
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Mbemba, Ritchie, Hayden (Shelvey 69), Merino, Atsu, Perez (Diame 86), Joselu (Gayle 78)
Woodman, Manquillo, Murphy, Lejeune
Crowd: 51,795 (approx 1,500 Stoke)
(Alan Shearer a very happy man after Newcastle went top four – Read it Here)