Karl Darlow and the back four of Newcastle on Saturday gave a backs-to-the wall kind of performance and showed a lot of fight and resilience – and when that happens you usually get some luck and we had some of that.
There were two loud shouts for penalties from Preston and then right at the death – about 10 minutes of the allotted six minutes of stoppage time – they hit the post.
Karl played really well and showed some physical prowess in his often packed penalty box.
Karl Darlow – Newcastle’s in-from goalkeeper
He made three good saves and dealt well with the crosses and generally commanded his box very well.
That’s an improvement we have seen from Karl this season and he seems to be improving and gaining in confidence with every game he plays for the Magpies .
He has now played 8 times this season and 18 times in total for Newcastle.
He was signed on from Nottingham Forest along with Jamaal Lascelles just over two years ago and £7M for the two players is looking like a great deal for Newcastle.
Rafa Benitez has talked today about Darlow:
“He knew that the competition would be tough.” “And in any position we have one or two players that do really well and can challenge for the position.”
“The keepers are the same with two doing that already plus Freddie Woodman and Rob Elliot.” “Competition is a problem and a good problem for me.”
“He didn’t have too many saves, but the main thing was he was managing the space.” “When teams put the ball into the box you want to see composure and control in the area.”
“It’s really important and he did well.”
With both Matz Sels and the returning Rob Elliot both breathing down his neck this season, Karl will need to keep up his very good form to keep his place.
But he already knows that.
And Tim Krul will return next summer from his loan spell at Ajax and Rafa will then have to decide which goalkeeper he allows to leave Newcastle.