Newcastle United 3 Burnley 1
- David Coote
Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson starred for Newcastle as the Magpies moved into the top six of the Premier League with victory over Burnley at St. James’ Park.
Fortunate to pick up a point at Spurs last Sunday and given a scare by Newport in the Carabao Cup three days later, United put in a much-improved display against the Clarets – particularly during the first 45 minutes.
Saint-Maximin set them on their way with a fine individual strike in the first half, and although Ashley Westwood briefly levelled for Burnley, the visitors found the going tough against the Frenchman all night. He provided the assist – a brilliant one – for Wilson’s first, before the frontman calmly despatched a late penalty to make sure of a first three-point haul in the league since the opening day.
The Magpies perhaps should have taken the lead two minutes before they actually did. A searching ball forward from Jonjo Shelvey was gathered by Wilson, who skipped past onrushing Burnley ‘keeper Nick Pope and into the penalty area. With the angle tight and the Clarets getting numbers back, Wilson tried to pick out Joelinton 12 yards from goal, but Charlie Taylor managed to intervene.
Another long ball was the undoing of Burnley, though. It was delivered by Karl Darlow and helped on by Wilson, though Saint-Maximin still had plenty to do. The Clarets had several men behind the ball but none of them ever really got close to the Frenchman, and after a couple of twists and turns the Magpies’ wide-man fired the ball beyond Pope and into the near corner.
Burnley didn’t concede against the Magpies – and, to be fair, rarely looked like doing so – in 180 minutes of football last term. But they were at sixes and sevens at an empty St. James’ Park. Centre backs James Tarkowski and Kevin Long looked uncomfortable on the ball throughout the opening half, and the former carelessly ceded possession to Wilson on 40 minutes without anyone near him. The United forward fed Emil Krafth, whose in-swinging cross from the right was met by Joelinton but gratefully gathered by Pope.
Up top, Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood were anonymous during the first half, but the pair found themselves far more involved as the second got underway. After 52 minutes, they combined, and New Zealand frontman Wood brought a flying save out of Darlow at the near post.
The Clarets were starting to get a foothold, and they managed to draw level just after the hour. The Magpies failed to clear their lines following a corner and former Sunderland full back Phil Bardsley found a pocket of space on the right. It was nodded away by Federico Fernández but only as far as Westwood, whose fizzing volley left Darlow helpless.
At that point, the game suddenly looked like it could go either way, but the pendulum swiftly swung back in United’s favour. Krafth found Saint-Maximin down the right and the Frenchman left Taylor for dead before putting the ball on a plate for Wilson, who duly converted at the back post.
With the visitors’ heads seemingly dropping, Newcastle’s Isaac Hayden saw a curling strike held by Pope. Then, Sean Dyche’s side shot themselves in the foot once more, Pope failing to control Tarkowski’s back-pass and clattering into Ryan Fraser in the process, the Scot having just took to the pitch to replace Saint-Maximin. The ‘keeper was made to pay by Wilson, who confidently put the penalty away to register his fourth goal for the Magpies in as many games.
And that was the job pretty much done for Newcastle, who cruised over the line to make sure of a first Premier League victory at St. James’ this term.