A 2-0victory over Aston Villa at Saint James’ Park on Monday night saw Newcastle United return to the summit of the Championship table, maintaining their one-point lead over Brighton after 32 games.
The win, however, came at a cost. Dwight Gayle, who was making his first start in 8 games hobbled off the pitch after 33 minutes as he appeared to pick up a knock on his hamstring which had earlier ruled him out of action for the majority of 2017.
Steve Bruce’s men were proving equal to the task as they sought their first win in 9 games, and Birkir Bjarnason almost got 2 goals for them, only to be denied by Darlow, while an earlier attempt from a Scott Hogan pass was missed from close range.
Gouffran opened the scoring in the 42nd minute from close range, pouncing on some terrible defending from Aston Villa. The second goal was anticipated and it came minutes after the restart.
It was Jamaal Lascelles rose highest to head Jonjo Shelvey’s corner and it deflected off Lansbury into the net, leaving Johnstone with no chance, to make it two.
The victory leaves Newcastle with a narrow lead at the top of the table, and the title and promotion run-in continues to get more thrilling.
Here is how the Magpies are rated in their 22nd win of the Championship season:
Newcastle United Player Ratings
Made a great stop to deny Bjarnason and despite seeing very little action, he was always on hand whenever called upon, keeping a useful clean sheet in the end.
Put in a fine performance against his former side and it was evident in his 10 clearances and 3 interceptions.
Was solid on the right side for Newcastle, both defensively and offensively, making a total of 90 touches as he proved influential at front and back.
Was solid at left-back and was also trying to make things happen at the other end, providing Gouffran with enough support.
Got an unnecessary booking but was on hand to help Newcastle get their second goal as he continues highlighting his aerial threat during set pieces.
Was inches away from grabbing a goal and always created chances with his crosses in a yet another impressive performance.
Put up a solid display in the absence of Hayden and was superb going about his duties in the middle of the park.
Struggled with a change of position as a supporting striker but did well with his hold up play, although much more was expected of him.
Bagged his 7th goal of the term with a sharp response in the box after a mix-up from the opposition. Wasn’t able to influence the game afterwards.
Ran the show and dictated the pace of the game with his wide range of passes.
Also, put in a great combative effort in the middle of the park.
Could be facing another lengthy spell on the sidelines after injuring his hamstring again.
Didn’t see a chance to make something happen in his half an hour involvement.
Came on for Gayle and he did put in a hardworking performance carrying the Aston Villa defence all game.
Looked more like a substitution used to run down the time.
Rating: Not Applicable