Newcastle United 1 Chelsea 0
- Chris Kavanagh
Isaac Hayden’s last-gasp header gave Newcastle United a 1-0 win over Chelsea at a raucous St. James’ Park on Saturday evening.
Hayden struck deep into stoppage time, nodding in Allan Saint-Maximin’s superb cross to earn Steve Bruce’s side the points at the end of a hard-fought contest.
United – who were forced into an early change when Jetro Willems was stretchered off – went close through Joelinton in the first half, while Tammy Abraham had a host of chances to put the visitors ahead.
But in the end it was Hayden’s late contribution which proved decisive, with the 24-year-old’s first goal of the season winning it for the hosts and lifting them to 12th in the Premier League table – jut two points off eighth.
A low-key first half produced few flashpoints but the Magpies, whose injury problems looked to be subsiding this week, lost wing-back Jetro Willems inside the opening ten minutes. The Dutchman was replaced by Matt Ritchie, but they still managed to find some rhythm; the returning Saint-Maximin blasted high and wide before Federico Fernández’s cross from deep was met by Joelinton, whose header cannoned back off the crossbar.
Chelsea struck the woodwork too. Abraham, who endured a torrid afternoon against United’s backline, got to N’Golo Kante’s flick-on first but his first-time effort hit the bar, though it heralded a spell of pressure from Frank Lampard’s men. Reece James’ perfectly-weighted through ball released Kante who shot low, but Martin Dúbravka saved well with his feet.
Both sides had half-chances in the half’s closing stages, with Fernández glancing a Jonjo Shelvey free kick over before Mason Mount’s similar miss at the other end, but the visitors carved out a far better one after the restart. On the counter attack at speed, Willian was played in with just Dúbravka to beat but dragged his shot wide of the upright.
Newcastle’s Slovakian stopper then held strikes from Cesar Azpilicueta and Kante while Shelvey saw a shot of his own kept out by Kepa Arrizabalaga, but Chelsea continued to push. A fortuitous deflection gave Abraham a chance and he rounded Dúbravka with his first touch, but couldn’t adjust his feet, sending his finish wide with his second.
Another opportunity presented itself to the England frontman minutes later, but United had Matt Ritchie to thank for keeping the scores level. It was the substitute’s timely clearance from under his own crossbar which prevented Abraham from scoring when he had prodded the ball beyond Dúbravka and towards the bottom corner.
There was still time for a few more openings, with Chelsea replacement Emerson catching his first-time shot well but seeing it fly wide and Callum Hudson-Odoi thumping one wide, but Newcastle kept going. In the game’s dying moments, deep into added time, Saint-Maximin lifted a cross into the box and there was Hayden, his run timed perfectly to meet it with his head and nudge it low into the bottom right-hand corner to send a crowd of over 52,000 at St. James’ Park wild – and give Bruce’s side their first home league win of 2020.