I just cannot get enough of this sort of thing EVER
Right, this was it, time to get serious.
You can bemoan the varying degrees of refereeing inconsistency, inadequacy and incompetence that has led to us drawing a bundle of games we should have won, or point to a derailing set of niggling injuries or even just outright admit we were a bit off it against Bournemouth in the last home game, but it’s time to look forward.
The thundering win at Fulham suggested a return to the impressive form of last season, with the welcome addition of a splendid seventh spot despite the preceding string of stalemates.
It was imperative to capitalise on it against a Brentford side that is organised and full of fight but fundamentally beatable (and potentially flirting with a critical dose of second season syndrome).
Of course, today marked a year of NUFC emerging from the swamp of despair to become a real football club again and Wor Flags’ Sky Sports News display was an absolute beauty. Massive respect to their creative department as they always find that extra level.
The early exchanges of the game suggested United were picking up exactly where they’d left off at Craven Cottage. Wilson leading the line just gives the team so much focus, he had a bruising afternoon knocking about Mee in particular and the entire Bees defence overall. Almiron is playing with unprecedented confidence, looking like a different player and the flow of attacks looked set to overwhelm Brentford, who of course upended all of this by taking the lead against the run of play.
A goal seemed to come out of nowhere as Brentford broke suddenly from midfield and Mbeumo slotted through Pope’s legs. Everyone’s heads dropped and the rallying cry came that this was a blip and we were controlling the game. The kick off was set up without complaint and then, suddenly, the unexpected hope of that purple screen. The VAR invited the ref over to the camera and we all know what that means. Apparently the offside Toney had obstructed Schar and United received an unexpected reprieve.
There was to be no failure to capitalise from there as United swiftly hit back. There were some cries of dismay on and off the pitch, as there was handball suspicion in the Brentford box, but the ref awarded a mere corner. That proved to be enough though, as Longstaff played the corner down the line to Trippier who sent a magnificent delivery to the back post where Bruno had nicked in to direct a header across goal and perfectly inside the far post. A beautiful, clinically executed set piece direct from the training ground, as if we needed any further illustration of how far we’ve come in the last year.
The stigma of the run of draws still lingers a bit and the second goal United were chasing hard was extremely welcome. Brentford looked run ragged and their ever-so-clever routine of using the keeper as sweeper didn’t work for whatever they were doing with their kick offs and cost them big time here, as Raya panicked under pressure from Murphy and presented the ball straight to Wilson. Our number 9 didn’t flap, driving into the box and squaring for the unmarked Murphy to score an easy tap in, thoroughly deserved after his earlier harassment created the opportunity.
Coming out for the second half two goals to the good, in slick form and kicking the right way was enough to make you think this would be comfortable, but Brentford are nowt if not resilient and have refused to see themselves beaten a few times this season. The pressure in the early part of the second half was all theirs and culminated in a soft penalty, as Burn jumped for a cross with his hand raised and the ball threatened a semi touch of his fingertips, with no notable change in direction. But, you can’t put your hand up in the box like that and Toney took the chance to pull one back from the spot.
I have to admit, there were a jumpy few seconds between this moment and the game being settled by the finest player on the pitch. Brentford were attempting to break when Bruno decided he’d had enough of this on HIS pitch and dispossessed some pudding and set off towards goal. The defence made the mistake of standing off and a goal of the utmost Brazilliance was leathered into the bottom corner from 25 yards. I just cannot get enough of this sort of thing EVER and I have pledged today that I will at some point give Bruno a massive cuddle. Just as friends like.
Anyway, swiftly moving on and a shaken Brentford went for the self-destruct again. Raya played a short pass to Pinnock, who crumbled under pressure from Almiron and sold the goalie short with his attempted return pass. Miggy seized on the ball and rounded the keeper for his fourth of the season, sending him to the top of our scoring charts irrespective of his pre-season hatful. Another player reborn under Eddie Howe and another thoroughly deserved goal among a high octane performance.
Pinnock was clearly still rattled a few minutes later as the imposing double substitution of Saint-Maximin and Joelinton linked up, with the latter steaming down the wing and sending a cross towards the unmarked Wood. Pinnock felt compelled to intervene, steering past his own keeper to make the final scoreline that old favourite of 5-1.
A tremendous day and a first Premier League nap hand in seven years. Bruno stretching off what looked like cramp prior to subbing off is hopefully nowt and Wilson’s withdrawal means a near full strength forward line should head to Old Trafford next weekend, with Isak’s injury not one that should persist.
This is a great base to head to a ground that has traditionally been lambs to the slaughter but may well offer a great opportunity to kick on, with Man Utd having to play twice before we head over to the theatre of tourists. The possibility of a result there could transform a suddenly promising league position into something genuinely exciting.
Eddie’s mags, moving on up. What a year.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 5 Brentford 1 – Saturday 8 October 3pm
Bruno 21, 56 Murphy 28, Almiron 82, Pinnock OG 90
Toney (Pen) 54
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Brentford 46% (39%) Newcastle 54% (61%)
Total shots were Brentford 6 (1) Newcastle 16 (7)
Shots on target were Brentford 3 (1) Newcastle 6 (4)
Corners were Brentford 5 (0) Newcastle 9 (6)
Referee: John Brooks
Pope, Trippier (Targett 84), Schar, Botman, Burn, Longstaff, Bruno (ASM 78), Willock, Murphy (Joelinton 66), Almiron (Anderson 84), Wilson (Wood 84)
Karius, Lascelles, Lewis, Fraser
(Newcastle 5 Brentford 1 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)
(The anniversary photo that is worth a thousand words (and more!) after Newcastle 5 Brentford 1 – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 5 Brentford 1 – The instant NUFC fan / writer reaction – Read HERE)
(Only the F word would do for Alan Shearer as Newcastle United soar to Fifth in the table – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 5 Brentford 1 – Bruno the boy as he leads United to dominant victory – Read HERE)
You can follow the author on Twitter @Mr_Dolf
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to firstname.lastname@example.org