Back-to-back home wins as Magpies revival continues
Newcastle United made it two Premier League home victories in the space of a week on Sunday afternoon as they beat Aston Villa 1-0 at St James’ Park to record their third league win of the season and their third in succession.
Seemingly inspired by the continued backing of the home support, Eddie Howe’s side were on the front foot in the opening exchanges as Ryan Fraser caused the visitors problems with his incisive runs. Clear-cut chances were hard to come by but just after the half-hour mark the hosts were awarded a penalty when Joe Willock’s run towards the penalty area was halted by a foul by Calum Chambers. A lengthy VAR review ensued with the decision eventually being changed to a free-kick in the edge of the penalty box.
No penalty, no bother for Newcastle, having scored directly from free-kicks through Shelvey and Trippier in their last two matches, Trippier stepped up to make it three in a row, curling a strike past Martinez to the delight of the Toon faithful.
The second-half started with much the same pattern as the first, Newcastle probing and Villa offering surprisingly little in response. However, five minutes in to the second period the flow of the game was influenced by a key injury. Trippier went down in need of attention and he knew straight away that his afternoon was over, with Krafth coming on to replace him.
There was an audible intake of breath from the home crowd as the England full-back departed and for a period of around fifteen minutes Villa got on top. Digne and Cash offered more advanced width for the visitors than they had done in the first half and supplied a number of dangerous deliveries. Just after the hour mark it looked as though the visitors had made their period of pressure count when a Watkins headed home a deflected cross from close-range. However, VAR came to Newcastle’s rescue, deeming the Villa man to be marginally offside.
The decision appeared to galvanise the Magpies and although they offered little in attack, they were able to defend resolutely. Dubravka was rarely called into action with Dan Burn defending stoutly on his Toon debut. Villa’s passing in the final stages of the game became increasingly inaccurate and continuous niggly fouls meant they were never able to build any concerted momentum.
Newcastle remain in 17th place but crucially they have opened up a four-point gap to the bottom three teams and have moved to within three points of fourteenth-placed Brentford. Next up is a trip in in-form West Ham United next weekend.