It was Ayoze Perez who claimed all 3 points for Newcastle this afternoon at Stoke that takes us to 22 points from our 22 games played and up to 13th position in the league table, just one point behind Brighton and just 2 points behind Huddersfield – the other two promoted clubs.
Perez was one of the five players recalled to the side for our second game in just three days and again we picked something up from the game – this time our 6th win of the season.
So we have taken 7 points from the last 4 games and only lost to Manchester City 1-0 and in the last three games, we conceded only that one goal – so the defense is looking a lot better these days.
Ayoze started the game up front with Christian Atsu, and both Dwight Gayle and Joselu were on the bench having started the game against Brighton on Saturday.
Stoke looked fairly poor in the first half and we had chances to score but most were tough chances and we couldn’t put one of them and it was 0-0 at the break.
Ayoze Perez – scoring Newcastle’s winner this afternoon
That’s apart from one bad miss from Ciaran Clark who ballooned the ball over the bar from three years out.
Karl Darlow made a number of good saves in the first half late in the game, and Karl was a really important player for us today.
Karl looks back to his best after that error at home to Everton – but all goalkeepers at some time make mistakes – that’s because they are human.
The Newcastle goalkeeper did well to turn a Charlie Adam (not Charlie Austin) free-kick around the post.
There was an appeal for a Newcastle penalty from Gayle in the second half after he had replaced Atsu, but referee Chris Kavanagh waved play on – wonder when we’ll get a penalty this season.
Newcastle on 73 minutes broke forward and it was young Jacob Murphy who put in a pinpoint right-wing cross into the penalty area and Perez was there to confidently put the ball into the back of the net with the outside of his foot – an excellent goal.
And that gave us all 3 points which we desperately needed.
Stoke City did come at us at the end but Karl Darlow made two critical point-blank stops to preserve the second clean sheet in a row.
We can now relax just a little with two home games on the next two Saturdays – the 3rd round FA Cup tie at home to Luton Town and then the home games against Swansea.
And we can bask in the positivity of Newcastle getting 7 points from the four holiday games and prepare for those two home games coming up.
Maybe we can also get some players into the squad now that the transfer window has opened.
Two wins in those games would have Newcastle fans spirits on the rise – we can do it!
Congratulations have to go to our players who showed the courage and the guts today to get the win in what were difficult conditions.
Excellent win in front of the delighted 3,168 Newcastle fans who will not have a good journey back from Stoke.
Newcastle: Darlow; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo; Murphy (Dummett, 82), Shelvey, Diame, Ritchie; Atsu (Gayle, 64), Perez.
Subs not used: Woodman, Haidara, Hayden, Merino, Joselu.
Stoke: Butland, Edwards, Zouma, Wimmer, Pieters (Berahino, 71), Cameron, Adam, Allen, Shaqiri (Diouf, 57), Choupo-Moting, Crouch.
Subs not used: Grant, Ireland, Fletcher, Ramadan, Souttar.
Referee: Chis Kavanagh (Lancashire)
Attendance: 28,471 (Newcastle 3,168)