Burnley 1 Newcastle United 2
- Anthony Taylor
An Allan Saint-Maximin-inspired comeback saw Newcastle United pick up a precious Premier League victory over Burnley at Turf Moor.
The Magpies trailed at the interval following a disappointing first-half display, Matěj Vydra giving Sean Dyche’s side a lead they deserved on the back of a bright start.
However, United were lifted by the introduction of Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson early into the second period, and the Frenchman provided an assist for Jacob Murphy before finding the net himself after a magnificent run from deep.
With Fulham having lost to Wolves on Friday night, Newcastle now find themselves six points above the division’s drop zone.
Playing to their strengths, Burnley fired a couple of warning shots United’s way early on. James Tarkowski rose high to head Dwight McNeil’s set-piece over the top, before Josh Brownhill met Ashley Westwood’s corner and forced Martin Dúbravka into a flying stop.
Having impressed against Spurs at St. James’ Park a week ago, it was a bit of a listless start from Newcastle, and with 18 minutes on the clock they found themselves trailing. The Magpies had numbers back but allowed Chris Wood the room to roam, and the New Zealander calmly took the ball beyond Ciaran Clark before delivering a cutback from the byline. Vydra had started to put his body weight to the wrong side but still managed to connect cleanly, easily finding the back of the net from a central position.
Newcastle struggled to assert themselves in the attacking third but were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty after 37 minutes when Tarkowski caught Sean Longstaff with a high foot. Despite a VAR check, it still wasn’t given, and the Magpies were forced to dig deep to make it to the break just a single goal behind, Burnley winning a series of corners in the closing moments of the half, and Dúbravka having to make another instinctive save to keep out Paul Dummett’s untidy clearance and prevent an own goal.
The Clarets pretty much picked up where they left off after the interval, corners again causing havoc for United and Matt Lowton and McNeil both testing Dúbravka from range. With the game in danger of slipping away, Magpies head coach Steve Bruce shuffled his pack ten minutes into the second half, introducing both Saint-Maximin and Wilson at the expense of Joelinton and Dwight Gayle.
Almost immediately, United looked a different animal. Within five minutes of the pair’s introduction, they were level, as Saint-Maximin made inroads down the Burnley right before playing the ball back for Murphy, who produced a lovely swerving strike which left Clarets ‘keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell with no chance.
Taking the game by the scruff of the neck, Saint-Maximin produced his moment of magic another five minutes after that. The wide-man picked up Jonjo Shelvey’s pass inside his own half before embarking on a marauding run forward, with Burnley’s defenders seemingly frightened to go anywhere near him. After making it to the edge of the penalty area, he swivelled, opened his body up and picked out the near corner with a precise left-footed effort.
Burnley continued to pepper the Magpies’ penalty area with crosses but, re-energised, the visitors looked resolute and managed to keep averting the danger. Vydra was lively but found space hard to come by, with Clark, Dummett and Fede Fernández now much tighter as a three-man rearguard. Before four minutes of additional time got underway, United nearly sealed the deal as Miguel Almirón saw a powerful drive cleared off the line by Tarkowski.
In the event, though, the Magpies managed to see out the remaining exchanges anyway, making sure of a crucial three points in their battle to stay in the Premier League.