Nick Pope kept another clean sheet on Saturday for Newcastle, but had to produce a remarkable save to deny Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher.
The Magpies beat Graham Potter’s side 1-0 at St James’ Park, ending the first half of this strange season in emphatic fashion. It was a special night underneath the lights, as Eddie Howe’s side battled to brush Chelsea aside.
There was only ever going to be one winner. And based on the balance of play, only one team deserved to win.
Newcastle set the tempo. They set the agenda and they forced the issue. And they eventually got their rewards in the second half when Joe Willock thundered an effort past Edouard Mendy.
It proved to be the winner, as Newcastle’s resolute defence held on to secure all three points.
But at one point the Magpies’ defence was breached, and Pope had to be called into action. Bruno Guimaraes gave away possession on the edge of his own box, leading to a chance for Gallagher.
The 22-year-old had a great chance to put Chelsea in front, but his curling effort was wonderfully tipped wide by Pope.
It was a magical save, and the £10million man has now spoke about why it was especially important for him.
Nick Pope on his save to deny Conor Gallagher
Ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, Pope has spoke to the Daily Mail. He discussed his special save on Saturday night, and his start to life at Newcastle.
“Conor [Gallagher] wouldn’t have let me forget that for the next four weeks, so it’s a good job it stayed out,” he said.
“The fans have really looked after me here. I am over the moon with how well the first part of this new chapter is going.”
‘Best crack’ Pope
It was earlier this week that Kieran Trippier revealed that Pope has the ‘best crack’ at Newcastle. And his comments about Gallagher prove he knows how to have a laugh.
The Chelsea ace is also going to the World Cup, and would no doubt have been in Pope’s ear winding him up had he found the net on Saturday.
But instead it was Pope who came out on top, while Gallagher endured a tough night at St James’ Park. I wonder if the Newcastle boys will be winding him up for stinking out St James’ Park…
On the whole, it’s been a great start to life at Newcastle for Pope. It’s been quiet for him, such is the quality of the defence in front of him. But the 30-year-old has done his job when called upon, and will now hope for the same opportunity in an England shirt.