Newcastle getting their mojo back
Newcastle United Stoke
TCity an excitement back in there 2 1 HE recuperation of Rafa Benitez and his club continue. The Spaniard is well and Newcastle United are fourth. Even the rain stopped when Stuart Attwell blew his whistle for the final time on a vociferous afternoon.
A few Newcastle fans might even want the season to end now, but a third successive top-flight win for the first time in three years suggests better times lie ahead.
There is city.
Newcastle had their lead as early as the 19th minute, and once more it was down to the delivery of Matt Ritchie, his right-footed cross falling perfectly for the left foot of Christian Atsu, who volleyed home.
Then came chances to stretch the lead: Christian Mbemba crossed from the left and Joselu stabbed the ball wide with just Jack Butland to beat. Seven minutes later a DeAndre Yedlin shot deflected into the path of the Spanish forward, who took a touch and then saw Butland save his shot.
Once Atsu had scored the was a freedom to their play, and at times Stoke were simply overrun, to the fury of Mark Hughes.
It was all about the movement and vibrancy of a young Newcastle team starting to believe in itself. Joselu however, was off target again, just 18 seconds into the second half. Atsu again did well down the left and bent a cross that went behind the Stoke backline. The former Stoke forward took a touch before striking a right footed shot over Butland’s crossbar with only the goalkeeper to beat.
The profligacy always looked like it could come back to haunt Newcastle, and that came in the 57th minute. Xherdan Shaqiri had been denied by another good Rob Elliot save six minute earlier, but at the third time of asking he had the Newcastle goalkeeper’s number.
The Swiss forward picked up the ball five yards outside the Newcastle penalty area and was afforded the time to tee the ball up, and he drilled a shot into the bottom corner.
The winner, as with the Magpies victory at Swansea, would be down to the desire of the club’s captain.
A Ritchie corner came over from the right and Jamaal Lascelles’ movement and power was too much for Kevin Wimmer, and his header went into Butland’s goal off the underside of his crossbar.
He took the acclaim then, as he was the last man to leave the field. Newcastle have spirit, and their captain typifies it.