Newcastle United halted their recent run of losses at St James’ Park with a dramatic late win against Chelsea on Saturday evening.
The match itself was not a thriller, with chances being at a premium but both teams putting in assured defensive showings. It took until the 94th minute of the game for the Magpies to open the scoring as Issac Hayden nodded in Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross, sending the home support into pandemonium.
Lack of early quality
Having suffered with horrendous injury luck throughout the season, Newcastle’s fortune then got even worse as Jetro Willems had to be withdrawn with less than 15 minutes on the clock. One of those players still fighting fit though was Joelinton and he got so close to his first Premier League goal August as he thumped a powerful header off of the crossbar.
Both sides struggled to create chances in a stop-start game in the North-East but Martin Dubravka had to be alert to stop N’Golo Kante’s drive after he was played in behind.
Both teams continue to battle
The quality of the second-half was not much better as Willian raced into the penalty area but poorly pulled his shot wide of the upright. Substitute Matt Ritchie then had to put in a vital intervention as the uncharacteristically quiet Tammy Abraham tried to stab the ball home but the Scotsman did excellently to clear the ball of the line.
Newcastle continued to employ are tenacious rear-guard action throughout the second-half, with Emerson potentially going closest as he fired a long-range shot high and wide as the ball dropped to him on the edge of the area.
A rare opportunity did come Newcastle’s way late on as the ball fell to Joelinton at the back post but he lashed his shot wide of the Chelsea goal.
Hayden snatches three points
As the seconds ticked down, it looked as though the teams were set to claim a hard-fought point each. However, Hayden rubbished those headlines as he found plenty of space at the back post to connect with Saint-Maximin’s inch perfect cross and headed the ball beyond the despairing grasp of Kepa, securing a huge win against Chelsea.
Neither side really were at their best on the day. Nonetheless, that really will not matter to Newcastle as they secure an uber-dramatic three points. In honesty,Chelsea dominated the majority of the ball but struggled to create any clear cut opportunities. Newcastle were tenacious and determined but like Chelsea, and similar to most of the campaign, it was their attacking play that let them down. Again though, it is a huge win in their fight against relegation.
Newcastle United: Dubravka (6); Willems (N/A) (Ritchie (7), 12′), Clark (6), Lascelles (7), Fernandez (6), Krafth (6) (S. Longstaff (6), 71′); Saint-Maximin (6), Shelvey (7) (M. Longstaff (N/A), 85′), Hayden (6), Almiron (6); Joelinton (6).
Chelsea: Kepa (6); Azpilicueta (6), Rudiger (6), Christensen (6), James (6) (Emerson (5), 75′); Mount (6) (Barkley (5), 68′), Jorginho (6), Kante (7); Willian (6), Hudson-Odoi (5), Abraham (6) (Batshuayi (N/A), 80′).
Goals: Hayden (90+4′)
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Yellow Cards: Hayden (55′), Emerson (84′)
Red Cards: N/A
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