In the midst of a thrilling end-to-end Friday night clash between Newcastle United and Leeds United, Karl Darlow was making his first Premier League appearance since February.
The 30-year-old started the first 25 league games of last season, but he hadn’t featured since then due to the return of Martin Dubravka, and after contracting coronavirus, Darlow struggled with the aftereffects.
But Darlow returned for the 1-1 draw against Marcelo Bielsa’s side last night at St. James Park.
A good night for Darlow against Leeds
Darlow and his opposite number Illan Meslier both had extremely busy nights with the league’s two leakiest defences struggling to contain one and other.
But after Raphinha gave the visitors the lead with a cross that Rodrigo dummied and left Darlow helpless, it looked like it could be another volatile evening amongst the Magpies faithful.
But Steve Bruce’s side showed great resilience and went toe-to-toe with Leeds’ adventurous approach which left both sides open at the back.
However, Darlow was on hand to rescue his side on several occasions. He looked assured and sharp on his return which transmitted trust and confidence into his teammates.
In control of the jersey
With Dubravka making good progress in his recovery from injury, Darlow will believe that his form will only get better with every passing game and that he can retain the number one spot even when the Slovakian does eventually return.
Darlow made 9 saves against Leeds (SofaScore) whereas Meslier made 6 stops.
To put that into context, Woodman, who had played every game up until last night including the Carabao Cup defeat to Burnley, made 11 saves across the five matches.
The solitary goal Darlow conceded against Leeds was also the least the Magpies have conceded in a league game so far this season.
With back-to-back away clashes against Watford and Wolverhampton Wanderers to come before the second international break of the season, Darlow will be targeting his first clean sheet of the season which hopefully brings our first win of the season.
Allan Saint-Maximin stoke all the headlines last night, but Darlow’s performance in the draw cannot be overlooked.