Newcastle United 0 Brighton and Hove Albion 1
- Andre Marriner
Newcastle United slipped to the foot of the Premier League table after losing to Brighton & Hove Albion, who scored with their only shot on target at St. James’ Park.
The decisive moment came just shy of the half-hour mark, when José Izquierdo’s powerful drive from the edge of the penalty area took a deflection before hitting the back of the net.
The Magpies started and ended the first half on top and dominated possession after the break, but they failed to convert a considerable amount of pressure into anything more meaningful.
They have still to pick up a single point on Tyneside this season, and – following Cardiff City’s success over Fulham – are one of just two sides in the top flight yet to register a win.
But, in truth, Newcastle really ought to have taken the lead five minutes in. Brighton left back Gaëtan Bong intercepted Matt Ritchie’s ball on the edge of the penalty area, only to be swiftly caught in possession by Jonjo Shelvey. The United midfielder unselfishly played in Ayoze Pérez, who had time to pick his spot with just Mat Ryan to beat. However, the Spaniard opted for power rather than placement, and the ‘keeper got down low to his left to make an important stop.
A nasty head injury to Albion frontman Glenn Murray sapped United – and, indeed, the game as a whole – of momentum, though. The Magpies didn’t muster another effort at goal until the midpoint of the first half, when a scuffed Mohamed Diamé shot failed to reach as far as Ryan.
The Seagulls then started to perk up, with Dutchman Jürgen Locadia – Murray’s replacement – firing wide from 20 yards after cutting in from the left flank. A stray Yoshinori Muto pass then gave Izquierdo the chance to take aim from a similar distance, with the ball deflecting wide for a corner.
And, from it, came the opening goal of the game. Under pressure on the left of the area, Shane Duffy got up to help the ball back into Izquierdo’s path, and the Colombian’s first-time strike from 18 yards took a nick before nestling beyond a helpless Martin Dúbravka.
Newcastle ended the half brightly enough, and ought to have pulled level through Muto, who somehow nodded the ball over the top of an open goal after Shelvey's deflected effort dropped kindly. Kenedy then let fly as a hefty chunk of stoppage time began, but the Brazilian’s effort was a little too high.
The half-time interval failed to disrupt the Magpies’ attacking charge, with Rafa Benítez’s side continuing to enjoy almost all of the ball as the second period began. Shelvey saw a low-struck effort parried by Ryan after a Pérez lay-off, before the Spaniard forced Duffy into a crucial block after Bong’s miscue deep inside the area.
Ritchie twice came close to an equaliser before the hour mark, just failing to convert a Paul Dummett cross to the back post, before lashing high of the target from a tight angle.
United continued to huff and puff, camping themselves inside the Albion half but – unfortunately – struggling to create anything clear-cut. Shelvey brought a fine stop out of Ryan with a 20-yard free kick ten minutes from time, with Kenedy then firing wide with another strike from range.
A couple of late crosses aside, the Magpies failed to really threaten after that. It could have got even worse in injury time, but Albion substitute Yves Bissouma pulled the ball wide of Dúbravka’s near post with just the ‘keeper in his path.