Newcastle United 2 Southampton 1
- David Coote
Newcastle United fought back from a goal down to beat Southampton at St. James’ Park and move into the top half of the Premier League table.
The Magpies rode their luck at times – offering little in the first half and falling behind to Danny Ings’ strike early into the second – but they came to life in the final quarter of the game.
Jonjo Shelvey capped off a remarkable eight-day spell by notching the leveller, before defender Federico Fernández fired home an 87th-minute winner after substitute Sean Longstaff’s strike was parried.
Crucial defensive interventions at either end of the pitch provided the only moments of note during the opening quarter of an hour. Following a period of possession from Southampton, the Magpies were the first to really threaten, with Allan Saint-Maximin embarking on a typically marauding run down the left. He looked to tee up Miguel Almirón inside the penalty area, but Jan Bednarek slid in to deny the Paraguayan a shot at goal. The Saints countered quickly, and only a fine headed clearance from Fernández stopped Ings from meeting Cédric Soares’ teasing cross.
Newcastle nearly shot themselves in the foot after 18 minutes, with Jetro Willems’ mis-hit pass cut out by Nathan Redmond in a dangerous position. The Southampton forward soon found himself one on one with Martin Dúbravka but the Magpies’ stopper held firm, frustrating Redmond for a second time just seconds later after United failed to deal with the resultant corner.
That was as close as either side came prior to the break. The Saints continued to get into one or two inviting positions but lacked a final pass. Moussa Djenepo’s wayward ball with 40 minutes on the clock largely summed up their efforts, the winger having had plenty of time to pick out a teammate further forward after Willems again ceded possession deep inside his own half.
Newcastle looked a little more purposeful as the second half began – Shelvey seeing a shot blocked by Redmond 20 yards out – but Steve Bruce’s side found themselves trailing after being sliced apart by a long ball. Jack Stephens delivered it, Ings ran onto it, and after shrugging off Fernández’s challenge the former Liverpool frontman coolly slotted home.
Things almost got worse very quickly for United as the Saints attacked in their numbers two minutes later. With options either side, Shane Long chose to play in Cédric down the right, and the full back stung the palms of Dúbravka with a fizzing drive.
At that point, a first home defeat since the opening weekend of the season looked a real possibility for the Magpies. However, they managed to steady the ship, and after 68 minutes they restored parity. The move which led to their equaliser was started and finished by Shelvey, sparked by a foul from Cédric on Almirón just to the left of the area. Shelvey’s set-piece was headed away but the attack was kept alive by substitute Andy Carroll, who did superbly to dig in a cross from the right byline for the in-form midfielder to nod in at the far post.
The game now appeared to be there for United’s taking, though head injuries to both Fabian Schär and Paul Dummett halted any momentum they might have been able to build after drawing level. Southampton still posed a threat themselves, full back Ryan Bertrand heading off target from a decent position after Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side won successive corners.
With just two and a half minutes of normal time remaining, though, Newcastle grabbed the goal which continued their upward trajectory in the Premier League. Longstaff had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes when he let fly from 20 yards, and his effort was too powerful for goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to gather. Cue Fernández, who was on hand to smash the loose ball into the roof of the net to complete a fine United comeback.