Newcastle United bagged an extremely important three points on Friday night as they came from behind to win for the first time this season thanks to two goals from Alexander Isak. The second was an injury time penalty that looked like it was going to be taken by Kieran Trippier until the last second.
The Nottingham Forest goal had led a very charmed life for much of the game with the crossbar twice coming to Forest’s aid and let’s not even talk about that VAR decision.
It seemed for all the world that the game was destined to be a 1-1 draw but then, as the game entered stoppage time, Moussa Niakhate jumped up for a challenge with Alexander Isak and played the ball with his arm. He knew straight away what he’d done, falling to the floor with his head in his hands as the ref pointed to the spot. About the first decision he’d got right all game, in fairness.
Trippier countered the Forest mind games with some of his own
It was then that the brilliant mind-games began. Kieran Trippier hugged the ball as if he was readying himself to take the spot-kick while the Forest players surrounded him trying to get in his head. As things calmed down and everyone got into position, Trippier calmly handed the ball to Isak who stepped up and fired the ball into the corner beyond Keylor Navas.
Now Trippier has told the Shields Gazette what he said to Isak before he stepped up. “Teams can put you off, get in your face. So I just said to Alex: ‘Listen, I’ll just hold the ball, you just zone-in, get in the moment, do your normal routine and I’ll take all the pressure as if I’m taking the penalty. I want you to be as calm as possible.
“And little details like that can help and be a massive point and he put it away well.”
It was a stroke of genius by the captain, although Isak revealed to Sky Sports that Forest ‘keeper Navas saw through the ruse and told Isak that he knew he’d be taking it. Not that it helped him in the end.
Eddie Howe: “I can’t take the credit”
Eddie Howe also told Sky Sports that it was a ploy that was not from the training ground saying: “I can’t take the credit for that one. I was unsure what was happening, so I’m not going to sit here and take the credit.”
It was all Trippier’s doing and it worked wonders. He’s definitely got a future in coaching ahead of him.
That win along with other results on Saturday mean that Newcastle are now in fifth place, just two points behind Tottenham in the league with two games in hand as well as three points behind Manchester United who are our next opponents after the international break. Our superior goal difference means that a win will take us above them again.
Fourth spot is ours to lose and third is still very much on the cards.