Newcastle United’s enforced injury change and major Eddie Howe call that secured win against Brentford
Newcastle United got back to winning ways with a 1-0 win over Brentford after some major calls from Eddie Howe.
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As Eddie Howe rang the changes for the clash with Brenftord, it was clear a shift in results was needed just 72 hours before their Champions League campaign gets underway. The headline stealing decision from Howe was to select Elliot Anderson and Sean Longstaff in midfield with Sandro Tonali dropping to the bench and Joelinton missing out altogether. However, it was another big call from Howe that helped the Magpies seal their first win in over a month. The decision to reinstate Callum Wilson to the starting side and drop Alexander Isak to the bench was a huge call and one that, eventually, paid dividends.
Whether the changes were enforced or not, they were big calls from the head coach and changes that, in the first-half at least, didn’t seem to have the desired effect. The Magpies often struggled for control of the game and the high-intense football supporters have grown accustomed to seeing from them under Howe failed to make an appearance during large parts of the opening stages.
And the early moments of the second-half didn’t fill fans with confidence that the side had changed too much during the break. However, once Wilson fired his penalty past Mark Flekken, the hosts finally gained a foothold in proceedings.
Debate will rage on whether his first should have stood and whether the decision by Craig Pawson to award the spot-kick was soft or not - certainly Alan Shearer was torn between the two decisions - however, it was an important point in the game that, for the first time in a few weeks, Newcastle actually won and turned to their advantage. The goal, in turn, seemed to settle a few nerves within the group and in the stands.
It was far from a classic performance from Newcastle but as the minutes ticked by and the final whistle came into view - and another penalty was awarded - the magnitude of what three points would mean rose with every passing moment. Although Wilson wouldn’t get the chance to double his tally from the spot, his part had already been played.
Their second-half performance may have reduced anguish and nerves somewhat, however, all of those feelings came to the surface yet again when Tony Harrington indicated there would be nine minutes of additional time to play as Newcastle looked to cling on for their first win since the opening day of the season. After a couple of scares, Newcastle were able to hold off the Bees swarm and head to Milan with three points in the bag.
Few will revisit highlights of Saturday’s game once the initial euphoria of the win passes, however, the result, particularly at this moment in time with European football on the horizon, will be one that supporters may look back on as a crucial weekend of football. Howe may have taken some flack for his decisions last time out at St James’ Park, however, he must be praised for the calls he made this weekend that, ultimately, gave Newcastle United all three points.