Rotherham United 0 Newcastle United 1: Atsu stunner sends Newcastle up to second place

Christian Atsu

Christian Atsu

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A stunning goal from Christian Atsu saw Newcastle United go second in the Championship this afternoon.

Atsu, making his full league debut for the club, scored the only goal of the game against Rotherham United at the AESSEAL New York Stadium this afternoon.

New York Stadium

New York Stadium

The 24-year-old, on a season-long loan from Chelsea, netted late in the first half to give Rafa Benitez's side a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Championship's basement club.

Rotherham belied their lowly league placing by pushing their visitors hard for 90 minutes.

Newcastle spent much of the first half on the back foot, though Yoan Gouffran did have a shot cleared off the line in the 13th minute. Jonjo Shelvey put a follow-up effort over the bar.

Rotherham were relentless. Time and again they came back at their visitors.

Benitez desperately tried to reorganise his team during one break in play, but still they kept on coming.

They struggled to hold on to the ball until Atsu came to the fore later in the half. The winger made a series of runs up the right, and in the 41st minute he cut inside and curled a left-footed shot past Lee Camp and into the far corner of the net.

It was a stunning goal. And it lifted the roof at the other end of the stadium, where Newcastle's 2,587 fans were housed.

Atsu forced a save early in the second half from a clever Mohamed Diame through ball, but Rotherham didn't cave in.

Benitez threw on Matt Ritchie in an attempt to relieve the pressure on his team, but Stubbs' side gave them an uncomfortable last 10 minutes.

Rotherham struck the post, and Ciaran Clark, outstanding at the back on an uncomfortable afternoon in South Yorkshire, made a crucial interception on the line.

Benitez, in need of more height at the back, sent on Grant Hanley for the last few minutes.

And, unlike a week earlier at Villa Park, Newcastle saw the game out.

ROTHERHAM UNITED: Camp; Fisher, Fry, Ball, Halford; Taylor, Adeyemi (Vaulks, 26), Frecklington, Newell (Blackstock, 73); Brown, Ward. Subs not used: Price, Forde, Forster-Caskey, Wood, Wilson.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow; Anita, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Shelvey, Colback; Atsu (Ritchie, 66), Diame (Hanley, 87), Gouffran; Gayle (Mitrovic, 79). Subs not used: Sels, Hayden, Mbemba, Yedlin.

Goal: Atsu 41

Bookings: Frecklington 37, Ward 59, Diame 82

Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)

Attendance: 11,653 (2,587 Newcastle)