We gained our first win at the ninth time of asking in the league this season in spectacular fashion on a hugely entertaining game at SJP. A few eyebrows were raised with Tiote’s inclusion in the starting line up and Dummett also made a return from injury, with Eliott replacing Krul in net and there was little sign of what was to come in the early exchanges before we took the lead just before the quarter hour.
Sissoko, who was far better today was the instigator, making a strong run forward before feinting to play a clever ball into the path of Wijnaldum to fire into the bottom corner with a clean finish in front of the Gallowgate. If there was an air of nerves being calmed with the goal, it didn’t last for long and we were having particular trouble with Redmond down the flank and his cutback was lashed against the post with Eliott beaten before rebounding to safety shortly after our goal. We didn’t heed the warning though and they were level just moments later with an almost bizarre lack of defending down the right with both Sissoko and Wijnaldum culpable for leaving Redmond an absolute acre of space to fizz a ball into Mbokani who smashed his shot high past Eliott.
The game was incredibly open and both sides look like scoring every time they attacked but it was United that went back in the lead shortly before the half hour. Again Sissoko was the creator, floating over a cross that Wijnaldum again got on the end of to head past Ruddy in the Norwich net. Barely another five minutes passed before incredibly we got another. This time it was the persistence of the outstandingly good Ayoze Perez, who saw the ball ricochet back to him from a shot on the run after being played in by Sissoko, making no mistake with the second bite of the cherry and planting the ball into the far corner of the net to delight from the stands. I only hope we can hold on to Perez for another season or two because I think he’s destined for great things – his touch and awareness all afternoon was again absolutely first class.
There was barely time to take breath though before Norwich were right back in it and again, our right hand side went completely AWOL with Sissoko going from the sublime to the ridiculous and Janmaat completely missing as another cross from the right was crashed home on the volley by the impressive Redmond. Five goals in the first 35 minutes and at that point, it could have been any sort of score but we went in at the break 3-2 up.
For the first fifteen minutes of the second half we were very much on the back foot and it seemed only a matter of time
before the Canaries equalised but we again pulled clear with probably the goal of the game. Mitrovic, who had looked a little cumbersome, if not a nuisance, showed his undoubted ability taking a ball down on his chest before taking a moment before lashing a home a half volley, giving Ruddy no chance. He celebrated his goal lustily and it’s fair to say that he’s got everyone firmly behind him – he’s going to be vital to us this season and goals like this show us we’ve got a player on our hands. We killed the game off just two minutes later and it was Wijnaldum completing an all too rare NUFC hat trick, again with his head after a fast break ended with Janmaat putting over a perfect ball for the onrushing midfielder. ‘kin hell eh, five goals – la vita bella!
We were in easy street now but they still pressed and hit the post for a second time in the match but with the supporters celebrating an important victory, Wijnaldum was on target again, scoring for a fourth time. This time he picked the ball up on the edge of the box and looped a curling shot over Ruddy into the net to cap off a phenomenal display. When was the last time a midfielder scored four in a game for us? I can’t think of one in all my time watching United and as obvious as it might sound, he had a great game even aside from the goals – sure of touch, quick and a constant danger.
The performance was as unexpected as it was welcome and lifted at least some of the dark clouds surrounding the club, but make no mistake, if it is not replicated next weekend and we suffer yet another defeat to a truly terrible Sunderland side then this jolly afternoon out will be instantly forgotten. If we are to have serious aspirations of staying in the division, then we simply cannot come away from there empty handed and for the first time in a while, I have confidence that we won’t.
Don’t fucking let us down.
Newcastle United – Eliott 6, Janmaat 6, Mbemba 7, Coloccini 7, Dummett 7 (Haidara 7), Tiote 4 (Anita 7), Sissoko 8, Colback 7, WIJNALDUM 10, Perez 9, Mitrovic 7 (Cisse n/a)
Ref – Taylor – 7 – No real complaints
Our Fans – 8 – Delirious in the second half
Their Fans – 6 – Bit of noise at times but quiet in the main
Keep the Faith
GARETH HARRISON – Follow Gareth on @truefaith1892
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