Newcastle made life difficult for themselves against a plucky Southampton side, but once again, it was the defence that won the game for Steve Bruce, with Federico Fernandez grabbing a late winner.
Fernandez has been in superb form since finding his way back into the side, and has gone from relative oblivion to match-winner in just a couple of months.
Slamming in a rebound from a spilled Sean Longstaff shot with just three minutes of normal time left, saw the Argentine get his second goal of the season.
Such has been his – and his fellow centre backs’ – form, the fit again Fabian Schar has been unable to force his way back into the side.
Fernandez has barely put a foot wrong since reclaiming a starting spot, and has now made himself un-droppable, as Newcastle prove they have an abundance of riches in the central defensive role.
Fernandez has been a great success story for Newcastle
It has been a remarkable story for the defender who was 29 when he signed, considering he was outside the age of the usual Newcastle signings, and for a fee of around £6 million, he is turning out to be a bargain.
Newcastle’s defenders have contributed nine of the 17 league goals scored this season, but few have been sweeter than that scored by Fernandez on Sunday.
The former Swansea player posted some celebratory comments on Twitter, and Newcastle fans were quick to show their gratitude.
Here are some of those fans’ replies:
New Contract on the way
— GlennO (@glenn2502) December 8, 2019
Player of the season 👊🏻
— Amy (@BobblesTea) December 8, 2019
Winnnerrrrr. Well done 😊⚫⚪⚫⚪
— Ellie (@Ellie_Nufc9) December 8, 2019
You beautiful person toon toon
— Lee Percival (@LeePercival3) December 8, 2019
Absolute rock Fede. Took your chance.. In our best back 3 for me now on merit.
— Gary Simm (@StJamesMecca) December 8, 2019
You’ve been our best defender since you came back into the team!
— JJ Fletcher (@JJFletcher7) December 8, 2019
Hero of a man
— Kevin Monaghan (@youngmono) December 8, 2019
Sign a new deal and stay forever.
— ThOmPsOn. (@garfbobt) December 8, 2019