Part two of the Newcastle United Year Review with Rafa Benitez trying to keep the Magpies in the Premier League as well as the lively summer which followed at St James’ Park.
April began with a relegation six-pointer at Carrow Road, as United faced Norwich in a thrilling game which ended in a defeat for Rafa Benitez’s men, 3-2. The result severely damaged the Magpies chances of survival in the Premier League with rivals seemingly pulling ahead and leaving Newcastle behind. This was followed by perhaps United’s poorest performance under Rafa Benitez. United crashed to a 3-1 defeat on the South Coast against Southampton, with Andros Townsend scoring Newcastle’s only goal of the game.
However, in their next game, Newcastle clicked into gear finally under Rafa Benitez. With an amazing 3-0 victory over Swansea City at St. James’. Jamaal Lascelles opened the scoring in the 40th minute. This was followed by another from Moussa Sissoko. Andros Townsend finished off the rout in the 89th minute to give Benitez his first win. Newcastle then faced a must-win game at home to Manchester City. City went ahead within the first 15 minutes through Sergio Aguero in controversial fashion. United fans rightly claiming the 14th-minute header was offside. Vurnon Anita equalised in the 31st minute with the game finishing 1-1.
A trip to Anfield followed, Newcastle falling two behind before returning to secure a point. The month was rounded off by a 1-0 victory over Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace side. With Andros Townsend’s stunning free kick giving United the win.
Despite an upturn in form in April, seemingly Newcastle’s survival chances were grim. This was confirmed after a 0-0 draw with Aston Villa gave Sunderland the chance to secure the victory to secure their safety. Unfortunately for the Toon, they managed this with a 3-0 victory over Everton. However, a relegated United managed to rally against Tottenham Hotspur in their final game. A resounding 5-1 victory over the high-flying Spurs with Daryl Janmatt finishing the goalscoring in United’s final game. The Toon Army turned out in force and providing an amazing atmosphere which contributed a lot to Benitez choosing to stay at the Magpies.
Feature Image credit: Martin Le Roy