Dwight Gayle hit a magnificent hat-trick for Newcastle tonight as we scored twice in second-half stoppage time after being 3-1 down to Norwich after 69 minutes and in fact 3-2 down after 94 minutes to win this absolutely crucial game for Newcastle.
It makes the last minute equalizer by Aston Villa on Saturday easier to take when we lost those 2 points – but somehow tonight we gained 3 points in the last two minutes of stoppage time.
Dwight Gayle – YES – scored his third and Newcastle’s winner
Newcastle started the game well and were dominating as we were last Saturday at Villa park and before we took the lead we could have scored with Matt Ritchie hitting the crossbar after 21 minutes.
In fact we had three opportunities to score in quick succession, but we again couldn’t convert – shades of Saturday.
After 24 minutes gone Dwight Gayle finally got us ahead in the game and Matt Ritchie was the provider as he put the ball into the area and Gayle put it home – everything going to plan – 1-0 up.
And after dominating the first half when we should have been more ahead than juts one one goal, Gouffran gave a penalty away for a clumsy foul on Dorans and Dorans himself converted.
Rafa will talk about how we are very poor at controlling a game – and after dominating the first half it was 1-1 at the break and we had given Norwich some hope.
That goal brought Norwich right back in the game and they started much better in the second half and after 52 minutes they went ahead with a stunning finish from Cameron Jerome.
The striker picked the ball up just inside the area, and then hit the ball past Darlow into the top corner of the net – a terrific strike.
And then after 69 minutes Jacob Murphy’s long-range strike took a deflection and eluded goalkeeper Karl Darlow and so a stunned St. James’ Park crowd was Newcastle 3-1 down with 20 minutes to go.
But Newcastle were not finished and Gayle hit his second goal past goalkeeper fired past McGovern to make it 3-2 a couple of minutes later.
Another goal and we would have at least held the league leaders to a draw and not lost 3 points to them – but 90 minutes came but then the fourth official held up the stoppage time – 6 minutes.
Benitez was waving his men forward and eventually Norwich caved as Gouffran headed home the equalizer five minutes into stoppage time.
And then it was the hero of the evening Dwight Gayle who fired the ball past McGovern to get his hat-trick and put Newcastle ahead in what was a match that will be remembered for a long time by the over 48,000 who were at St. James’ Park tonight.
3 points is what we wanted and you have to give great credit to the fighting spirit of the men in black and white stripes.