It was the perfect result and display from Newcastle United this afternoon at St. James’ Park with our lads producing the good when it really mattered.
The 3-0 win against a poor Southampton side will help our goal difference and it’s our second successive home win and clean sheet following the 1-0 against Manchester United.
It was the first two goals from Kenedy for Newcastle and Matt Ritchie’s second of the season (he scored in the last home game too) that gave Newcastle what was a comfortable win in a crucial game.
We move up to 13th in the table just 5 points behind Watford and currently 5 points above the drop zone with Crystal Palace and Stoke still having to play.
Kenedy – two great goals today – he’s got to be a Geordie!
Our goal difference of -10 is with Bournemouth the best goal difference in the bottom half of the league table and before this game, Southampton’s goal difference was better than ours.
It was Jonjo Shelvey who set up the first goal quickly as he sent a ball to Kennedy who then controlled it with his chest and beat goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
The crowd went crazy – what a start for Newcastle.
Southampton had some decent possession after the goal but the well-disciplined and well-organized team shielded goalkeeper Martin Dubravka from having to make a save.
And we saw what Newcastle have been practicing all season in training – the quick counter-attack – and Newcastle were very dangerous in the first half.
Gayle went close after he had been put through by Mo Diame but then Kenedy put Newcastle 2-0 up.
Our second goal came in the 29th minute when Perez made a quick move from defense and the Spaniard put a nice ball through to Dwight Gayle and the number 9 rolled the ball to Kenedy who put the ball into the empty net.
A brilliant team goal by Newcastle and Gayle getting another assist.
It was 2-0 at the break with Newcastle very much in control.
There were chances to put Newcastle further ahead early in the second half but then after 57 minutes, Matt Ritchie got his second goal of the season.
Shelvey had the ball just outside of the penalty box and he rolled the ball nicely to Matt Ritchie, who put his shot just inside the post to make it 3-0 and equal the best win of the season – so far.
We also had a 3-0 home win against West Ham last year.
Even at 3-0 we had to ensure the game didn’t slip away, but Southampton in truth had little to offer and Dubravka had to make some saves to get his second consecutive clean sheet at St. James’ Park.
Joselu was brought on for Gayle after 69 minutes and then when Kenedy followed by Shelvey were replaced late in the game, they both got deserved standing ovations from the appreciative St. James’ Park crowd.
We have to work out how we can sign Kenedy permanently!
It was another full house this afternoon and all that really mattered today was the result but you can see what Rafa is doing on the training pitch and the manager’s right – this (Championship) team is improving under his guidance.
Our last two home games have resulted in two great wins (6 points!!) and no goals conceded and our lads have played great!
This was little short of a fabulous win for Newcastle United this afternoon and we have a full 3 weeks to savor it before we have to do exactly the same with (to?) Huddersfield in 3 weeks time.
Newcastle: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett; Ritchie, Shelvey (Merino, 82), Diame, Kenedy (Atsu, 77); Perez; Gayle (Joselu, 69).
Subs not used: Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Murphy.
Southampton: McCarthy, Cedric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand, Hojbjerg, Lemina (Sims, 46), Ward-Prowse, Tadic (Long, 46), Redmond, Carrillo (Gabbiadini, 66).
Subs not used: Forster, Romeu, Boufal, Bednarek.
Goals: Kenedy 2, 29, Ritchie 57
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)