Dwight Gayle: I'll never forget THAT hat-trick '“ Newcastle fans made it so special
Dwight Gayle says he'll NEVER forget his dramatic hat-trick against Norwich City.
The forward scored a 96th-minute winner for Newcastle United at St James’s Park on Wednesday night.
And the 4-3 win took the club up to third in the Championship ahead of tomorrow’s game against Rotherham United at the New York Stadium.
Newcastle were trailing 3-2 when the fourth official revealed that there would be six minutes of injury time.
Yoan Gouffran scored a header to equaliser, and Gayle, signed from Crystal Palace for £10million in the summer, was there when substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic headed a ball forward from Jonjo Shelvey down to him.
The strike took his goal tally for the season to seven goals.
“That’s my fourth hat-trick I think and definitely the most dramatic and my favourite one,” said Gayle.
“The fact it was at home as well and the last goal right at the death proved to be the winner made it even more special.
“It’s unbelievable to do that in front of these fans.
“The feeling when I scored that last one with virtually the last kick is something I will never forget.”
Gayle – the club’s No 9 – had four early chances for United before opening the scoring in the 24th minute with a near-post shot from a Matt Ritchie cross.
Norwich scored three unanswered goals before Gayle gave Newcastle hope with a second goal in the 70th minute.
And Gayle – who was frustrated not to score in last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Aston Villa – felt the comeback underlined the “character” manager Rafa Benitez has in his United dressing room.
“The funny thing is that I could have had a hat-trick in the opening 20 minutes,” said the 25-year-old.
“After the last game (against Villa), and then that, you start to think ‘is it your day?’.
“But we just kept on going and played all the way to the last minute, and it worked out for us.
“Wins like this make us believe anything is possible.
“Those two goals at the end prove just how important it is never to give up and keep going until the very end, whether you’re winning or losing.
“It just shows the character in the team and the togetherness. Those celebrations at the end show what a great team spirit there is here.”
Gayle was mobbed by his team-mates – and wrestled to the ground by Mitrovic – after scoring Newcastle’s winner.
The goal – the 21st scored in the league by United this season – was celebrated wildly by disbelieving fans.
For Gayle, everything was a “blur”.
Asked about the noise when the ball hit the back of the net, Gayle said: “Yeah I heard it, but, to be honest, at the end, everything was just a blur for me.
“Everyone was going mental. We were all just going crazy together. Unbelievable.
“The noise was right up there with Wembley.
“I don’t think you can get much louder than that, but I joined this club for moments like that.
“You dream of scoring hat-tricks and scoring last-minute winners when you are young.
“To do it in a game like that is mind-boggling, and I will never forget it.”
Gayle spoke to journalists after the game in front of a list of the club’s all-time leading scorers.
The Londoner – who is contracted to Newcastle until 2021 – hopes to score many more goals for the club over the coming years.
But he isn’t looking beyond scoring the goals that will take United back into the Premier League.
“That’s way off right now,” said Gayle, who was playing in English football’s ninth tier six years ago.
“I’m just concentrating on scoring goals for the team this season, and see what happens from there.
“Hopefully, they’ll help us get promoted.”