Newcastle beat Stoke 1-0 at the Bet365 stadium thanks to a goal from Ayoze Perez.
Newcastle started the game brightly when Perez played through Christian Atsu whose shot just screwed wide of the goal. The same duo linked up again when Perez headed to ball down to Atsu, but his curled shot was too long range and went out for a goal kick. Atsu had yet another chance after Yedlin squared the ball to him, but the shot was right at the keeper. Stoke’s first chance was an audacious long range freekick from Charlie Adam which Darlow got a strong hand to. The away side went into the second half firmly on top, but yet to break the deadlock.
Charlie Adam almost caused a scare when he whipped in a powerful deep cross that Darlow had to quickly react to. Down the other side, Shelvey’s freekick was very unlucky and it just went wide of the post. With less than 20 minutes to go, the deadlock was broken. Adam’s poor pass fell straight to the feet of Murphy who put a perfect cross into the box for Ayoze to slot away. One nil to the away side. Newcastle finished the match (and started 2018) the right way, with all three points.
That goal from Perez could be incredibly important because for one, Newcastle won very valuable points and two, it increases confidence tenfold. While the match vs Brighton was far from ideal, yesterday’s match was incredibly important. Now Newcastle are closer to 10th than 18th. They’re 12th in the league and four points from the relegation zone (of course this could all change due to games in hand etc). However, for the minute this remains a very important match in the road of reaching the golden target of 40 points.
Feature image credit: Ben Sutherland