Newcastle ran out 1-0 victors in a tight affair away at Swansea. Jamaal Lascelles was the magpies hero as he saved a certain goal at one end, then scored what was the eventual winner with a bullet header from a Matt Ritchie corner.
The win would have been all the more sweet for Newcastle, as they were without their manager Raffael Benitez who was taken ill before the game. The Portuguese wonder kid Renato Sanchez makes a first start for Paul Clements side, with Bony on the bench for the Swans.
The early exchanges between the two sides were very cagey. There was an Early free kick for Paul Clements team, but it was high and wide from Carroll. This was followed by an early chance for Hayden, but it was straight at the keeper. Hayden had an early yellow card poor after challenge on Sanchez with the Majority of the possession with the swans 1st 10 minutes.
There were no shots on target from Paul Clements team in the first 25 minutes, though they were dominating possession in opening exchanges of the game. Swanseas midfield three were running the game but the magpies proved very difficult to break down. Gamez was absorbing a lot of pressure down the right hand side but gave a good account of himself. The first real big opportunity came in the 26th minutes as Fernandez makes a hash of a long ball, heading it into the path of Murphy, who lashes it over the bar on the turn. Newcastle were certainly finding their feet after a tough first 25 mins with Joselu also have a chance but blazing it wide.
The Spaniard then forced an unbelievable save from Fabianski, who denied what seemed to be a certain goal after a decelerated cross from Ritchie, with a sensational fingertip save. This was followed by a huge penalty shout from a challenge by Mawson on Merino. Replays showed no touch from Mawson on Merino, lucky for the swans and Merino as he gets away with no booking for simulation.
Ayew pulls out a good save from Elliot with the first shot on target with Mawson heading just wide from ensuing corner. Renato Sanchez had given the ball away 14 times already in the first half, after all eyes were on him, he seemingly struggled under the pressure of his first game in England.
He was lucky to be in the pitch after seemingly kicking a Newcastle player in the genitals in the 44th minute. First half of not many talking points, Fabianski’s, magnificent save keeping it 0-0, but a first half of few chances for both sides. Sanchez was lucky to still be on the pitch after a ridiculous kick out, after a lacklustre first half performance from the young Portuguese man. Swansea dominated possession with little to show for it, but the magpies definitely had the better chances in a cagey first half. The second half started with two cautions, one from either side with Naughton receiving a yellow card for the Swans, and a high foot from Ritchie resulting in a caution, which luckily only brings a yellow to the Scotsman.
What followed was a great passage of pressure from Swansea with great balls into the box from Ayew and Naughton, which were well defended, the ball falling to Ayew with a dink into Carroll forcing a neat save at the near post from Elliot. The opening 15 minutes of the second half were firmly in the home sides favour. Then came the Swans clearest chance of the game. Tammy Abraham was denied after wonderful pass from Fer, when he rounded the keeper, everyone in the stadium thought the goal was a certainty. Then Lascelles came up with an unbelievable piece of defending to clear the ball and save his team on the hour mark.
Changes were then made by both teams.Atsu comes on for Murphy. This was followed 10 minutes later by Bony for Sanchez who comes on to a rapturous applause, and it’s clear youngster hasn’t had the best game. The magpies also make a change as Diame comes on for Hayden. The changes come with a change in the tide of the game, as Newcastle come right back into the game with chances of their own. Firstly Perez forces a good safe from Fabianski after a good move down the right, the Swans keeper by far their standout player on the day. Then Joselu has two efforts at goal straight at Fabianski, which he comfortably saves.
Then comes the goal. Lascelles scores a header from a corner from Ritchie, nobody attacks the ball and the young captain comes up with a powerful header past Fabianski. After keeping his team in the contest he puts his team ahead, a huge goal in this game of few chances. Joselu is then subbed off for Gayle. In the closing 10 minutes Fer gets a yellow for a poor tackle on Atsu, followed by the Swans making a change as Narsingh comes on for Carroll, with Clement hoping the Dutchman could inject some pace. Gayle was then carded for picking the ball up after free kick was awarded. Leroy Fer then had free header and puts it over the bar, but this chance was much tougher than Mawsons from earlier in the day.
Finally, with the last clear cut chance of the contest, Bony puts Narsingh through who forces a save from Elliot, albeit a comfortable one. Thus the contest ended, with Newcastle picking up their second win. This was the first time that Paul Clement has lost back to back home fixtures in his tenure as Swansea manager. Swansea have 6 shots on target all season, the lowest in the league, and in dire need of an injection in their season. They were again lacklustre in front of goal. The Magpies were resolute throughout, and grinder out a result, and they can take great pride in this performance.
MOTM: Jamaal Lascelles- the magpies captain assuredly lead his team in defence, looking calm throughout the encounter, and dominating the Swansea forwards. He single handedly kept his team in the game with an incredible piece of defending to deny Tammy Abraham. To cap off his performance he kept beautifully at a corner to head his team into the lead, and took his team to win that will surely lift the poorly Rafael Benitez.
Written by Gafyn Donald.