Newcastle back up their comfortable home win against West Ham with another win in South Wales thanks to a Captain Jamal header.
The three points today courtesy of a display that was of a completely different making to the aforementioned home win, but it was welcomed just the same.
Gamez and Murphy came in for Mbemba and Atsu respectively, Mbemba missing out through injury and Murphy coming in for Atsu who had been away on international duty.
After being cramped in the car for a little over 6 hours, all you really want to see is the players putting in the same effort as the fans. Deep down knowing that 3 points makes the journey home more tolerable and a win is top of the wish list for the day. The match had a similar feel to the Huddersfield game as the first half progressed, despite the make up of the away support being somewhat different.
Getting to half time level, there was a feeling that there was only going to be one goal in it, and thankfully it was Lascelles who provided the solo goal of the game.
Gamez and Atsu, who had come on for Murphy on the hour mark, worked it well down the left and the Swansea player got the last touch. From the resulting corner Lascelles was left unmarked to head home and put us ahead.
The second half didn’t start well. Ritchie was booked for what appeared to be a raised boot. Whether it was a raised boot or not, the referee wasted no time in whipping the yellow out.
Diame replaced Hayden shortly before Newcastle found the break through in an attempt to instil some more creativity; whilst Hayden is solid in matches away from home and provides the defence with cover, he rarely unlocks defences and in a match that was there for the taking, the substitution made sense. Whether it was a call from Rafa who was recovering at home and “enjoying” Sky’s coverage of the match, or Paco deciding the match needed an injection of something different, the substitution did seem to work.
Our best chance in the first half came from a Joselu header and Fabianski did well to push it round the post.
There was an incident in the first half that saw Merino beat a couple of players and appear to be fouled as he made his way into the box but without the benefit of a TV replay I’m unsure whether referee Mike Jones was right to wave the appeals away. If Merino had gone down easily you’d have to question his judgement as he was bearing down on goal. If the referee made the wrong call then it wouldn’t have been the only time today. In the opening encounters he booked Hayden which effectively meant that any rash foul would result in a yellow, he clearly had forgotten all about this when Leroy Fer committed his foul.
Alfie Mawson was left with a free header in the first half which may have affected the outcome of the match. Swansea fans realised how good a chance it was when the chance was replayed on the big screen.
Prior to becoming the match winner, Lascelles had been the one to keep the score level. Abraham found himself through on goal with just Elliot to beat, as he rounded the keeper with ease it was Lascelles who was sliding back towards the goal line to make the clearance. Swansea fans appealed for handball from the Newcastle captain but that would have been very harsh and would surely have seen Lascelles receive his marching orders.
Shortly after taking the lead, Newcastle made their 3rd and final change with Gayle replacing Joselu, who tired badly in the second half. Gayle did find himself in Jones’ book for grabbing the ball after a free kick had been awarded to Swansea.
With less than a week until the next league match, we welcome Stoke to St James’ in an old fashioned Saturday 3pm match, all focus this week must be on beating Stoke and retaining our top half position in the league table.
DAVID AIREY – YOU CAN FOLLOW DAVID ON @davidairey26
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