The scoreboard read Newcastle 1 Watford 0 but I’m still not sure how.

It looked only a case of how many Watford would win by as they dominated the first half.

Newcastle tried to pressure from the kick-off and did ok for about five minutes, winning an early corner.

However, the visitors quickly took over and Newcastle’s goal led a charmed life.

Javi Gracia will be going mad with his players as they should have had the game won by half-time.

That they didn’t, was due to a combination of very wasteful finishing, Dubravka doing very well in terms of sweeping and dominating his box, whilst there were some classic examples of last ditch defending.

With Muto forced off on the stroke of half-time and then Lascelles not emerging after the break, things were going from bad to worse.

Then in the space of 60 seconds the game changed.

Watford were very unlucky to see the ball rebound off the bar five minutes into the second-half then Shelvey immediately was subbed with an injury.

As well as losing arguably our two best players in Lascelles and Shelvey, it also meant that both Diame and Rondon would have to play the full 90 minutes. The two of them badly off the pace and struggling to get about the pitch.

Watford had controlled the game up to this point and the pace and movement of their front six was totally at odds with Newcastle’s midfield and forward line.

However, Ki’s arrival transformed Newcastle from a bit of a shambles to at least something resembling a team.

His willingness to run with and keep the ball was a massive step up from Diame and Shelvey’s contribution and he got the team playing a bit, especially Kenedy, whilst Rondon started to come into it as well.

A goal was only ever going to come from a set-piece if Newcastle were scoring it and an excellent Ki delivery was met by Perez’ head to win the game.

A nervous 25 minutes followed but Watford now resorted to long balls and that very much suited Fernandez who was excellent and as always Newcastle’s best defender, credit to Schar who came on and did his bit.

Newcastle should have capitalised when breaking but lacked the confidence and maybe the quality to take advantage and seal the game.

Dubravka and Fernandez marshalling the troops to see the win out.

Watford did have a golden chance in injury time but from around eight yards out their player somehow skied it into the Leazes End.

The official crowd was 49,157, the lowest of the season, but in reality there was probably only around 47,000 inside St James Park at the most.

I won’t say the five thousand or so who stayed away missed a lot in terms of football but a first home win in seven months was a massive relief, a first win of any kind in six months.

It also prevented this team going into the record books…

A sixth home defeat in a row would be the first time any top flight club had achieved that at the start of a season, whilst never in the club’s history had any NUFC team failed to win any of their first 11 games.

Still not sure the quality is there but Newcastle did keep at it and got their reward. Hopefully the luck will stay with the team and they will get some confidence and momentum from this result.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Watford 0

Goal: Perez 65

Possession was Watford 58% Newcastle 42%

Total shots were  Watford 16 Newcastle 10

Shots on target were Watford 1 Newcastle 2

Corners were  Watford 9 Newcastle 8

Referee: Craig Pawson

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles (Schar 45), Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey (Ki 51), Kenedy, Rondon, Muto (Perez 45+2)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Joselu, Manquillo, Atsu

Crowd: 49,157 (Watford approx 1,500)

  • Paul Patterson

    Perez was dropped and returned hungrier and got another vital goal. Great news, let’s hope we can drop Diame with the same results.
    Baby steps..

  • mactoon

    Probably going to get shot down for this but I thought Kenedy had a good game but I was wondering why Perez put his fingers in his ears when he scored, was that a reference that he isn’t listening to the fans who have criticised him for his recent performances?

    If it is, just score goals mate instead of saying you aren’t listening to justified criticism.

    • Paul Patterson

      He’s a decent enough player, he just needs pulling out of the firing line when it’s not happening every now and then ..

      • BigHairyDog

        Perez is so frustrating, he has so much more to offer if he pushes himself that extra 10%.

    • 1cc

      The modern way of sticking your fingers up at fans
      Another player who thinks he is better than he is,

  • offkeytip

    Ki and Shar transformed the team! both having a willingness to pass and move was refreshing and a bit of eye opener to how often poorly Shelvey and Lascelles retain possession. So much for Ki not being mobile!

    • Kneebotherm8

      Ki looked good….

    • Toontaff

      Someone said Rafa was not impressed with Ki’s turning circle – no worry, because unlike Diame/Shelvey he did not continually turn around and go backwards!

    • mentalman

      Schar’s willingness to pass the ball out of defence meant the midfield could play higher up the pitch which in turn allowed the strikers to play higher. Ki running with the ball gave the team a dimension it hasn’t had so far and he needs to play more.

  • Peaky

    I for one can now go to sleep tonight safe in the knowledge that the mysterious “jinx of the white socks” has been finally put to bed….

    • Leazes.

      The white socks are fine…its whats in them that isn’t up to the SJP stage.

      They should change the shorts to white as well.

  • Peaky

    What’s Lascelles injury…???….a ruptured conscience….

    • Andy Mac

      😀😀😀 or a bruised ego ? 🤔

    • Dillon Tovak

      A strained cerebral cortex from reading about why he was so ill informed?

    • Coach Clagnut

      A tight I.Q.

    • Toontaff

      Rumours are it was not Rafa, but Portly Mike, who pulled him off at half-time………..

    • Brian Standen

      Ridiculous comment and quite frankly Lascelles deserves better – been our most consistent player for last 2 years.

      • Peaky

        Got absolutely nothing to do with his performance over the past two years but everything to do with his comments of Ashley.

        • Brian Standen

          And as has been pointed out several times you perceive his comments how you want to perceive them!

          • Peaky

            He didn’t need to make any comments at all…he’s left himself open to all the criticism that’s been thrown his way.

          • Brian Standen

            He got none off me! However Like you and me he is entitled to both make comment and have an opinion

          • Realist

            Exactly. Peaky and co all go on like big kids.

  • Alan

    Whilst I agree Watford were a slick team today they were missing a top class striker to finish the sharp attacking play off.
    No one has mentioned the cracking second half atmosphere in the ground.

    • Grahame Johnson

      Fans stuck with the team and made a bit noise, jabba owns the club, alas never it’s heart and soul

  • FatParosite

    Yes that football was worth paying Ashley to rape our club for…..

  • Brian Standen

    I would hardly say 1000s stayed away! Very few visiting fans.