Newcastle United fans had the right idea about this pay-per-view capitulation
A promising start from Newcastle United unravelled alarmingly tonight at St James's Park, where Manchester United finished strongly to deservedly win 4-1. Worryingly, Isaac Hayden and Karl Darlow also suffered injuries.
The behind-closed-doors game was boycotted by fans in their own homes on Tyneside.
Many supporters chose to donate £15 to the Newcastle West End Foodbank in lieu of a pay-per-view fee for the fixture, which was decided by a memorable goal from Matty Longstaff last season.
That night was special for Longstaff – and every fan inside the stadium. This game was forgettable, though head coach Steve Bruce will be replaying the visitors’ late goals for some time.
Newcastle, certainly, had needed their fans behind them in the ground. There’s no home advantage right now.
The club had gone into it full of confidence following a positive start to the season in terms of results. The same couldn’t be said for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team, beaten 6-1 by Tottenham Hotspur before the international break.
Solskjaer stuck with captain Harry Maguire, who has endured a torrid few weeks. He wasn't to regret that decision.
Newcastle, set out in a 4-1-4-1 formation, got off to the perfect start.
Allan Saint-Maximin broke down the left and played the ball inside to Jonjo Shelvey, who, in turn, passed to Emil Krafth on the right. Krafth continued his run into the box, and his cross was turned past David de Gea by Luke Shaw with just two minutes on the clock.
Bruno Fernandes had a goal ruled out for offside before Maguire levelled with a powerful header from a corner.
The visitors pressed for a second goal, and Jamaal Lascelles, recalled to the starting XI after recovering from a hamstring injury, cleared a Marcus Rashford shot off the line late in the half.
Joelinton had performed well behind Callum Wilson in the win over Burnley before the international break, but the striker was far less effective on the right.
Bruce didn’t make a change at the break, but Isaac Hayden was forced off early in the second half. Fabian Schar replaced him in midfield.
There was more drama. De Gea superbly denied Wilson after good work from Saint-Maximin, and then play was pulled back for a penalty at the other end of the pitch after a VAR review and pitchside monitor check from referee Craig Pawson.
Jamal Lewis had caught Rashford just inside the box, and those Newcastle fans watching at home will have feared the worst when Fernandes stepped up. Darlow, however, had other ideas, and brilliant stopped his penalty.
Darlow would later need treatment after colliding with Rashford.
Bruce sent on Fraser in the 72nd minute, but the action was to be at the other end of the pitch. Late goals from Fernandez, Rashford and Aaron Wan-Bissaka saw the visitors win comfortably.
Those goals will also make life a little more uncomfortable for Bruce over the coming days.