A massive dollop of delicious schadenfreude was served up at SJP as we defeated a plummeting Villa side to send us top and them closer to the third division. Dwight Gayle was restored to the starting line up after his injury absence and was paired up top with Diame and the game was preceded by a fantastic display by the Gallowgate Flags lads and lasses with a brilliant crowd surfer making it’s debut. This coupled with bad feeling towards the opposition meant that the support was well up for it as the game kicked off but the first half was a slog.
Villa nearly struck first when Bjarnson met a flick on at the back post but steered his shot just wide.We struggled to make
any headway against the visitors and were visibly frustrated, Shelvey picking up a daft caution for dissent for applauding the referee after a series of niggly fouls going unpunished. Villa for their part were tidy and looked dangerous on the break, with Kodija causing us problems up top. Darlow was forced into a smart save to tip over an effort of his while Gayle lasted only half an hour before pulling up with his hamstring injury again to be replaced by Mitrovic.
The half was drifting to a close when we took the lead, slightly against the run of play. Lascelles got his head to a cross and as the ball bobbled around in the area, Gouffran reacted quickest to prod it home to the delight of the crowd. It was the proverbial great time to score and the second half saw us start to press home our advantage.
We came out much livelier and pressed Villa much higher up the pitch, getting in their faces a bit more as the crowd were geed up by a few ropey decisions by the official, but the roof came off when we doubled our lead on the hour. Shelvey had just put over a corner to the front post that Diame almost backheeled in and from the resulting corner, he measured a lovely cross that was met by an onrushing Jamaal Lascelles. His effort rebounded off the post only to come back off the Villa defender and trickle over the line.
Like most, I hadn’t realised who said defender was until the announcer gleefully reported the goalscorer to be ‘An own goal by Henri Lansbury’. A sweeter moment and a more joyous reaction you will not see all season as topknotted little tossrag shuffled back to the centre circle. Sweet. The nearest I can think was Titus marching off the pitch in the 5-1 with 50,000 people laughing at the fucker. The second goal knocked the stuffing out of Villa and we looked hungry for more. Colback of all people carried a run on from the half way line to fire just wide across the goal and Shelvey had a free kick from outside the box that looked like it came back off the keeper’s face.
At the other end, Darlow was sharp off his line to make a fine save from Bjarnson when he was played through and the keeper had a fine game after his rick at Carrow Road. The game was held up for a good few minutes as Hogan went down with what looked like a serious ankle injury, to be carried off to warm applause on a stretcher but we saw the final minutes out comfortably to go back to the summit with a very important win. We needed to be patient as a team and as a support tonight and I thought we did both very well. The performance won’t live long in the memory, Lansbury’s OG certainly will and with the three teams behind playing each other in the next few days, Bristol City on Saturday could be a golden opportunity for us to put some daylight between the chasing pack before our three massive away games come round.
Keep the Faith
Newcastle United– Darlow 8, Yedlin 7, Lascelles 7, Clark 7, DUMMETT 8, Ritchie 7, Colback 6, Shelvey 6, Gouffran 6 (Atsu n/a), Diame 6, Gayle 5 (Mitrovic 6)
Ref – Bankes – 6 – Called a few decisions wrong but they evened themselves out
Our Fans – 8 – The Gallowgate flags were brilliant and got the crowd going. Special nod to the Milk the Cow inspired ‘Gan Radge..’ flag that appeared in the Leazes in the first half too – mint.
Their Fans – 5 – Shithouse club but to be fair to the ones that came, they did keep singing to the end. Shit songs mind.
GARETH HARRISON – Follow Gareth on @truefaith1892
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