Newcastle United 2 Huddersfield Town 0
- Kevin Friend
Second half goals from Salomón Rondón and Ayoze Pérez gave Newcastle United a comfortable 2-0 victory over ten-man Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
The Terriers – who had skipper Tommy Smith sent off after 20 minutes – were swept aside by two well-taken strikes early in the second half in front of a crowd of over 52,000 at St. James’ Park.
But in the end two goals were enough to secure United’s third successive triumph at home, and a second win over the Terrier this season.
Benítez handed Almirón his first start for the club, with the winger replacing Christian Atsu in United’s only change from the 1-1 draw at Wolves 12 days previously.
The Paraguayan international was welcomed by a flag display in the Gallowgate End, with one bearing a message in his native tongue just above a giant shirt adorned with his name and squad number.
And just 12 minutes in, he almost made the perfect start. Sent clear on goal and homing in on the Gallowgate End, he dinked the ball over goalkeeper Jonas Lössl but saw it bounce back off the post. On-loan frontman Rondón met the rebound well, striking low with his left foot, but Lössl got a touch to it before the ball struck the upright once more.
Much of the first half’s action revolved around the Magpies’ new boy, and 20 minutes in it was a challenge on him which saw the visitors reduced to ten. Smith was high and late, catching Almirón’s ankle, and Kevin Friend swiftly produced a red card despite the full back’s protests.
Newcastle looked to take advantage of the extra space afforded to them by the Terriers captain’s dismissal; Almirón forced a fine save from Lössl down low to his right before beating the German shortly after, only to see the back hacked away just inches from the goalline.
Longstaff saw a shot blocked after an Almirón lay-off and Pérez saw his shot tipped over by Lössl, while Rondón nodded a fine Longstaff cross wide of the target as Huddersfield held out until the break.
But it took just a minute for the hosts to break through after the restart. Florian Lejeune started the move, spraying a pinpoint crossfield pass to DeAndre Yedlin, who played in Pérez. His flick found Isaac Hayden, whose touch found Rondón, who drilled home to break Jan Siewert’s side’s resistance.
And five minutes later, it was two. Almirón had a hand in it, hooking a cross over to Yedlin, who cushioned it into Rondón’s path. The Venezuelan found Pérez, who guided his volley beyond Lössl to put the game beyond the ten men.
Substitute Kenedy almost extended the lead, thumping a fierce volley goalwards only to see it cannon back off the crossbar, while Longstaff’s 25-yard curler had the crowd on their feet before it clipped the woodwork and bounced to safety.
But the points were rarely in doubt after Rondón and Pérez’s efforts. Almirón received a memorable ovation when he was withdrawn late on, capping a fine afternoon for the new addition and his team, who will now look for a fourth home win on the bounce against Burnley on Tuesday night.