On the 15th try and with their fourth manager of the season, Newcastle United have finally won a Premier League football match.
Steve Bruce had eight tries, janitor Graeme Jones three and current assistant Jason Tindall just one. For Eddie Howe, this was the third time lucky, and what a bit of luck they needed.
Not that aesthetics matter to Howe and a merry crowd of 52,000. The sight of their team triumphing for the first time in seven months was enough to send the Toon army into town in search of celebration.
Callum Wilson (l) scored the only goal as Newcastle scored their first win of the season against Burnley
Wilson scored just before half time and Newcastle were good for the three points
Eddie Howe’s men will hope to push through and get themselves to safety now
Newcastle (4-4-2): Dubrovnik; Manquillo, Dab, Lascelles, Lewis; Almiron (Fernandez 85), Willock, Shelvey, Saint Maximin (Murphy 90+1); Joelinton, Wilson.
Substitutes not used: Darlow; Krafth, Hayden, Hendrick, S Longstaff, Ritchie, Gayle.
goals: Wilson 40.
yellow cards: Manquillo 87.
Manager: Eddie Howe.
Burnley (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton (Roberts 75), Collins, Tarkowski, Taylor; Gudmundsson (Rodriguez 81), Brownhill, Westwood, McNeil; Wood, Cornet (Vydra 32).
Substitutes not used: Hennessey; Lang, Thomas, Pieters, Cork, Lennon.
yellow cards: Collins 75.
Manager: Sean Dyche.
Referee: Paul Tierney.
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- league 1
- Series a
- La Liga
Howe looked exhausted as he emerged from the tunnel after taking a win thanks to Callum Wilson’s attack in the first half. There was a glaze in his eyes after what was an emotional round of appreciation for the new boss.
When Howe clenched his fists and shook them at the crowd, he probably didn’t expect the entire East Stand to mimic his actions. ‘F******* love it’ he seemed to yell back.
The win puts Newcastle on 10 points with Sean Dyche’s Burnley, but they both remain in the bottom three.
However, it was a good week for Howe. A 1-1 draw at home to relegation rivals Norwich should not be encouraging. But on Tuesday night, for anyone dealing with Newcastle, it happened strangely enough.
Howe and Assistant Manager Jason Tindall celebrated in style at the end of the game
Sean Dyche watched in frustration as his side struggled to create clear chances
The toxicity that had polluted St. James’ Park under its previous owner and manager had evaporated. There was a feeling that everyone was pulling in the same direction, a feeling that was reinforced in adversity when Ciaran Clark was sent off after just nine minutes. Supporters spoke afterwards of their pride to finally ‘have our club back’.
But such evenings of positivity are a one-off against the background of a negative result. You can’t keep celebrating the get-together while your season is falling apart. To that end, just a win against Burnley would suffice, nice or not.
It didn’t start well. Newcastle were better with 10 men for 80 minutes in the midweek than 11 for the opening 40 minutes here.
But in Wilson they have a striker who can make team performance academic. Give him a chance — half a chance, in fact — and he’ll probably come very close to scoring. He has learned to be frugal on this side of Newcastle.
And so it was five minutes before half time when he squeezed the ball between the crossbar and the crown of Burnley striker Chris Wood from 14 meters, who was no insignificant barrier at 1.80 meters.
Allan Saint-Maximin buzzed around, causing trouble for Burnley’s defence
It was a hard-fought game between two teams fighting for survival this season
Wilson had done this after snatching the leftovers when Nick Pope fiddled with a high delivery. The goalkeeper wanted a free kick, as the ball had slipped out of his grasp after contact with Newcastle player Fabian Schar. But Pope only blamed himself for landing on top of the defender.
Since umpires are less likely to whistle for the convenience of a VAR assessment, it’s for the better play that the sight of a goalkeeper hitting the ground no longer equates to an automatic free kick. Just ask David de Gea.
Wilson’s finish, for his sixth of the season, was magnificent. Not that they deserved their lead.
Burnley hit the post early on through Johan Gudmundsson and Max Cornet was denied by a flying Martin Dubravka as he headed from close range. The visitors were organized and composed, the hosts were not.
It was a different story after halftime, when only Newcastle looked like the likely goalscorers of the second goal of the game.
Newcastle’s new owners were as happy as anyone in St James’ Park
James Tarkowski and Co fought in vain and left Tyneside with no points
Wilson’s strike gave Newcastle a deserved lead they didn’t relinquish
Miguel Almiron’s low shot was hit near the post by Pope and the keeper did well to turn around in the 79th minute on a shot from Jonjo Shelvey.
It was no secret in these parts that Newcastle players were not happy with training and preparation under Bruce. But for Wilson to outline that this week served in such damning terms to highlight the lost ground at the start of the season. “We weren’t fit enough and we weren’t in the right place,” he said.
Are they fitter now? They had to be in the closing stages as Burnley rallied too late and went looking for a point. Jay Rodriguez found the net, but the goal was disallowed for offside.
But Newcastle – fitter and hungrier under Howe – resisted. There is still a long way to go, but it doesn’t feel like a club heading for relegation.