After 11 games, Newcastle finally have their first win of the season after beating Watford 1-0 on Saturday.
The team rode their luck throughout the match and in the first half it looked like the Toon would once again suffer defeat.
Gerard Deulofeu missed a hat-full of chances for Watford, and Newcastle suffered injuries to both Yoshinori Muto and Jamaal Lascelles towards the end of the half.
Newcastle came out fighting after the break however and eventually found the good fortune they’ve been looking for all season.
A free-kick from the left was swung in with pace by Ki Sung-Yueng allowing substitute Ayoze Perez to fire home a glancing header.
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The team had to fight incredibly hard to maintain that lead. But through good defending and some poor Watford finishing, they got the three points they were so desperate for.
Newcastle’s victory was not necessarily deserved, but the match showed just how important St James’ Park can be in their survival fight.
St James’ Park can save Newcastle
In many ways, the win against Watford was an unbelievable result for Newcastle.
The Hornets had won their two previous matches with ease and were scoring plenty of goals. It should have been the same story on Saturday.
But for whatever reason they just couldn’t find the net at St James’ park.
They had plenty of opportunities in the first half and dominated the match overall with 58% possession and 16 shots to Newcastle’s 10.
But the second half saw a change in tact from the Magpies. An injury to Jonjo Shelvey in the 50th minute saw Ki brought on and his impact in midfield allowed Newcastle to push forward and attack.
The effect on the atmosphere was huge and the crowd were in full voice..
The fans gave the players so much momentum. During the 15 minute spell before the goal, Watford were completely over-awed. They suddenly became aware that they were the away team.
Prior to this game Newcastle hadn’t won at home in five matches.
But the Watford victory showed just what an asset 52,000 fans can be.
Not only did they encourage the team to drive forward, but their support inspired a fantastic defensive display too.
This was epitomised by a pitch-length sprint from Kenedy late on. The winger put in a last ditch challenge on Andre Gray, with the striker almost certain to score.
It’s clear that teams feel a pressure at St James’ that other grounds cannot create. Rafa Benitez must use this to his advantage in the coming weeks and create a fortress the team can rely on for results.