It wasn’t easy, but they did it. After a highly frustrating season, United’s hard work paid off as they snatched the Championship crown. Brighton, who were top going into the day, slipped up away to Aston Villa; handing Rafa Benitez’s men the title.
A remarkable today which will live long in the memory on Tyneside
Unbelievable. The only word which could possibly describe Newcastle’s remarkable end to the season. Going into the game against Barnsely, Newcastle’s chances looked slim. However, Newcastle somehow managed it. It took a big slice of luck; Brighton’s David Stockdale allowing the ball to slip through his legs to allow Grealish to equalise.
However, United had to win to secure the league. They did that in emphatic fashion. A lovely finish from Ayoze Perez opened the scoring after Jonjo Shelvey unlocked the door allowing Atsu in. It was followed by phantom cheers as United fans believed Villa had taken the lead. However, they were mistaken. United, however, were on top.
The second half began as the first ended. Newcastle pressing with the score still goalless at Villa Park. United then doubled their lead through centre-back Chancel Mbemba firing home. Newcastle were on course to win the league when Brighton were given a penalty in Birmingham. Glenn Murray converted and it looked as though the title was heading to the South Coast.
St. James’ Park fell into silence, however, Dwight Gayle scored. In was in the midst of celebrations for that goal that news came through of Grealish’s goal at Villa Park. St. James’ Park went into pandemonium as United moved back top with minutes to spare. After the whistle went there was a few nervous moments before confirmation came. Newcastle United were champions.
A happy ending to a hard and difficult campaign for United. Now focus will turn to making sure they secure Premier League survival.
Feature image credit: Martin Le Roy