Newcastle United given a scare by Brighton and Hove Albion as Bruno Guimaraes makes late appearance
Newcastle United moved seven points clear of the relegation zone – after recording their first Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion.
Eddie Howe’s side won 2-1, and stretched their unbeaten run to eight games, thanks to goals from Ryan Fraser and Fabian Schar at St James’s Park this afternoon.
United, however, were far from their best on home turf, and they were fortunate to take a two-goal lead into the break after an unconvincing first-half performance. Brighton pulled a goal back after the break, but Howe’s players sw the game out.
Newcastle remain 14th in the Premier League, but they now have a healthier cushion over 18th-placed Burnley.
"I still think we’re in a relegation battle, and it’s very important the players feel that, because we can’t let up, we can’t stop,” said head coach Howe.
“We’ve got a really difficult run of games – we’ve got four away games, which I think for any team in the Premier League is very difficult, and also they are four difficult opponents, so today was very important.
“It’s lifted us in terms of, obviously, the points, but we haven’t achieved anything.”
The game, which kicked off after a stunning Wor Flags display, also saw Allan Saint-Maximin make his comeback from injury.
Newcastle, unchanged from the 2-0 win over Brentford last week, started poorly, but, by the 14th minute, they were 2-0 up.
First, Ryan Fraser, so impressive at the Brentford Community Stadium seven days earlier, scored from close range in the 12th minute after a Jacob Murphy hit the post with a shot following a quick break forward.
Two minutes later, United scored again. Fabian Schar, set for talks over a new deal at United, headed a Ryan Fraser free-kick from the right at the near post.
United hadn’t deserved the lead, but they haven’t always got what they have deserved this season.
Newcastle struggled to build on their early advantage in a scrappy half, but they took their two-goal advantage into the break.
United had struggled to get a hold of the ball in midfield, but Howe kept Burno Guimaraes on the bench, and Brighton soon got a goal back. Lewis Dunk, unchallenged, headed a corner home to give Brighton hope early in the second half.
Visiting head coach Graham Potter sent on Neal Maupay and Solly March, and Howe responded by replacing Jacob Murphy with Saint-Maximin. who had missed the club’s previous two games with a calf problem.
Fans had to wait to see Guimaraes, who came on for Fraser in the 79th minute. Newcastle, somehow, held on to claim three more important points.
"The players have committed to everything,” said Howe. “Physically, the shift they put in out of possession was huge, so the spirit and the resolve needed is there.
“There could have been improvements in our performance, but, at the moment, it’s all about the results for us – and it was another good one.”
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka, Krafth, Schar, Burn, Target, Willock (Longstaff, 90), Shelvey, Joelinton, Murphy (Saint-Maximin, 64), Wood, Fraser (Guimaraes, 79). Subs not used: Darlow, Dummett, Lascelles, Manquillo, Almiron, Gayle.