It’s not been a bad return to form for Eddie and the lads – What a time to be a toon fan
Newcastle 2 Burnley 0 – Saturday 30 September 3pm
We’ve finally picked up a bit of form and coming into this one, we’d scored ten and conceded none in our last four outings.
The difficult start to the season is also behind us, newly promoted Sheffield United put to the sword so convincingly last Sunday and next up, Burnley who were also plying their trade in the Championship last season.
These are the games we now expect to win but it’s still a little surreal when explaining to the missus over Saturday morning croissants, that collecting all three points later in the day should be a fairly straightforward affair.
Me and the lad normally walk to and from St James’ Park. Active travel, as the wonks call it, is infinitely more reliable than waiting for a bus that will likely be rammed and sail straight past our futile attempts to hail it, or worse, might not turn up at all.
Today, Go North East drivers were striking over pay, so whilst that didn’t affect our own pre-match routine, when we took our seats we exchanged tales of how we’d got to the match with those around us that also live south of the Tyne, a combination of Uber and the private motor car bringing our neighbours in Level 7 to today’s encounter with Burnley.
There was no TIFO from Wor Flags in the pre-match build up, hopefully they’ll serve up something special for the Champions League on Wednesday?
As the game kicked off, the atmosphere seemed a little flat and there were quite a few empty seats. Maybe the bus strike had prevented some folk from attending?
From the outset, we looked nervy. Luca Koleosho skinned Dan Burn twice in the opening few minutes and we could have been behind after Burn had slipped and Koleosho found Zeki Amdouni in space, but for Nick Pope’s instinctive stop, as Sander Berge fluffed the follow up.
It was a big moment but crucially we emerged unscathed.
As the game progressed, it was clear that Vincent Kompany had set his side up to play out from the back but Eddie had clearly instructed the lads to press and in the 14th minute, Kieran Trippier dispossessed Aaron Ramsey to feed Miggy Almiron on the edge of the box. Almiron took a couple of touches before curling a wonderful left footed effort beyond the outstretched hand of James Trafford and into the top right hand corner of the net.
It was a relief to take the lead after such a nervy start but we couldn’t add another before the interval, with a string of chances going begging.
Perhaps the most frustrating of these was when Bruno Guimaraes’ sublime pass put Alexander Isak clear, but the Swede’s heavy first touch allowed Trafford to do enough to put him off, Isak’s eventual effort on goal going agonisingly to the left of the upright.
Later, Trafford thwarted Elliot Anderson whose diving header from a Sean Longstaff’s cross was beaten away by the England Under 21 International.
In between, Anthony Gordon picked up his fifth booking of the season for what looked like a petulant and unnecessary misdemeanor, although if you wanted to be generous, it could be argued that Gordon had played the ball after referee Bramall had stopped the game because he hadn’t heard the whistle. Either way, he misses our trip to West Ham and we’ll most certainly be worse off without his energy and directness.
The second half began and nearly brought a goal within seconds of the restart, with Trippier’s deflected shot fizzing past the post.
There followed several close encounters as Newcastle pressed to double their advantage, but a combination of misfortune and bad luck kept out Schar, Longstaff and Isak.
Joelinton replaced Anderson, only for Tonali to replace him less than three minutes later, with the big Brazilian cutting a forlorn looking figure as he left the field with a worrying injury. No matter, Tonali kept the momentum going and shortly afterwards, Gordon burst into the box and was upended by Al Dahkil for a stonewall penalty.
Up stepped Alexander Isak who calmly sent Trafford the wrong way to make it 2-0 and with that, it was game over, although not before Nick Pope had made another brilliant save, this time from an Al Dakhil header that seemed destined for the roof of the net.
I thought Trippier was MOTM. His leadership, calmness, great positioning and all round good sense was evident in spades today. Guimaraes continues to recover from his early season wobble and played really well. And what about Jamaal Lascelles who helped us chalk up a second consecutive clean sheet? Nick Pope was also excellent, with those two outstanding saves at crucial points in the match, although his distribution remains questionable.
It’s not been a bad return to form for Eddie and the lads. Five games without defeat. Five clean sheets. Twelve goals scored and just six points off the top of the table. Next up its Paris St Germain and Kylian Mbappe. What a time to be a toon fan. HTL.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 2 Burnley 0 – Saturday 30 September 3pm
Almiron 14, Isak 76pen
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Burnley 47% (48%) Newcastle 53% (52%)
Total shots were Burnley 8 (3) Newcastle 20 (9)
Shots on target were Burnley 2 (1) Newcastle 8 (5)
Corners were Burnley 3 (1) Newcastle 5 (0)
Referee: Thomas Bramall
Pope, Trippier, Lascelles, Schar, Burn, Longstaff, Bruno, Anderson (Joelinton 64 (Tonali 68)), Almiron (Murphy 90+6), Isak (Livramento 90+6) Gordon
Dubravka, Dummett, Ritchie, Targett, Hall
(3 Positives and 3 Negatives to take from Newcastle 2 Burnley 0 – Read HERE)
(Newcastle United 2 Burnley 0 – Match ratings and comments on all of the NUFC players – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 2 Burnley 0 – Instant NUFC fan / writer reaction – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 2 Burnley 0 – Another quality performance as United march on – Read HERE)
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