Ayoze Perez helped steer Newcastle to victory over Watford on Saturday after his headed goal ended a winless run of 10 games.
It was the Spaniard’s first goal of the season after suffering something of a scoring drought.
Perez is often a divisive figure on Tyneside and when things aren’t going well for the striker he is often roundly criticised by fans.
People are quick to forget that the striker was actually the Toon’s top scorer last season, with 10 goals in all competitions.
However poor displays this campaign have begun to test the patience of supporters and he found himself benched against Watford.
But an injury to Yoshinori Muto just before half-time saw Perez back onto the pitch quicker than many would have liked.
In fact, there were audible boos heard around St James’ Park as he was substituted on. An astonishing reaction from fans to a member of their own team.
And so ironically it was probably those same fans cheering when the striker nodded home from an excellent Ki Sung-Yueng free kick.
Perez celebrated by putting his fingers in his ears, an obvious message to his detractors.
But will that goal be enough to improve his relations with the supporters?
Fans come out in defence of Perez
I for one will never boo an #NUFC player coming on to the pitch, I didn’t boo Mike Williamson or James Perch even though I thought they were rubbish. I’m certainly not going to boo a young player like Perez who isn’t as bad as a lot before him! Good on the lad for scoring!
— Leigh Carter (@leighsamagpie) 4 November 2018
Never booed an NUFC player in my life crass stupidity at best booing Perez when he came on. Wonder how many cheered his goal , hmm. No wonder he put his fingers in his ears.
— THEGHOSTOFCAPTNKIDD (@GHOSTOFCAPTNKID) 4 November 2018
Monthly reminder that Ayoze Perez is in our top five best players and anyone that questions that needs their head shook #nufc
— Bru (@SBru77) 4 November 2018
#nufc perez is a very important player for us not always at his best but he scores some very important goals for us . If it was not for him last season we could of probably been relegated . He deserves more respect than some of our fan base give him
— toon travel 2 (@RuzMark) 3 November 2018
There is still work to do for Perez
Despite scoring the winner, Perez had a very quiet game against Watford.
Other than his goal, he rarely touched the ball, perhaps a reflection of his current lack of confidence.
His tendency to run himself into trouble or be easily muscled off the ball will still be a source of annoyance to a lot of fans.
He’s unlikely to improve in that aspect and so his only hope of keeping critics off his back is to just keep scoring.
But that’s easier said than done and Perez still has a long, hard season ahead of him.
Fair play to Perez for that winning goal
BUT he can’t do a celebration like that and not back it up for rest of the season
He’s been gash and criticised rightly imo #NUFC
Prove us wrong
— Tony Walters (@Carmonte) 4 November 2018
It’s the strange quirks of football that a player who’s been roundly criticised was our match winner! Perez, fair play. But stop falling on your arse, be more consistent and be braver and you’ll win nufc fans back easily
— derek bird (@derekbird3) 3 November 2018