Scintillating Seagulls punish Magpies

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Albion claim a first win of the Premier League campaign after they put in an outstanding performance at Newcastle United, defeating the hosts 3-0.

By Bruce Talbot • 20 September 2020

By Craig Doyle
Albion celebrate the first of Neal Maupay's two goals
  • Neal Maupay’s early double sets up convincing 3-0 win at St James’ Park
  • Frenchman scores two in first seven minutes including a penalty
  • Aaron Connolly scores third late on before Yves Bissouma is sent off for dangerous play
  • Graham Potter’s men up to 10th with Manchester United at the Amex up next

Neal Maupay scored twice in the first seven minutes as Albion claimed their first Premier League victory of the season with a superb performance at St James’ Park.

The Frenchman marked his 100th start in English football by giving the Seagulls a third-minute lead from the penalty spot before applying a neat close-range finish four minutes later.

Graham Potter’s team could have been even further in front at the end of a dominant first-half display in which Tariq Lamptey produced another eye-catching performance, including winning the penalty.

By Craig Doyle
Lamptey gets away from Newcastle winger Alan Saint-Maximin.

In the second half both Aaron Connolly and Leo Trossard hit the post before the tireless Irishman made it 3-0 in the 84th minute with a clinical finish after Maupay had set him up.

It’s hard to underestimate just how well Albion played. Maty Ryan was so well protected that he didn’t have a serious save to make. Their midfield were in control throughout while Maupay and Connolly didn’t give Newcastle’s defence a moment’s rest.

By Craig Doyle
Maty Ryan was untroubled throughout the match at St James' Park, keeping his first clean sheet of the Premier League season.

The only blemish came two minutes from time when Yves Bissouma caught Jamal Lewis with a high boot to the face and was sent off for dangerous play. It certainly wasn’t a malicious act by the midfielder but referee Kevin Friend showed a red card after consulting a replay.

Albion had made one change to the side which lost their opener to Chelsea. Adam Lallana, who came off on Monday, dropped to the bench with Aaron Connolly coming into the starting XI. It was their youngest Premier League starting line-up, at an average age of 24.4. On the bench, Bernardo replaced Dale Stephens.

Both games last season ended in 0-0 draws but within seven minutes there had been two goals, both scored by the predatory Maupay.

Lamptey made his first telling surge into the Newcastle box in the third minute and was sent spinning by Allan Saint-Maximin – a striker’s challenge if ever there was one. Kevin Friend pointed to the spot and Maupay, who had missed his previous Premier League penalty against Leicester last season, made no mistake this time when he fired the ball confidently down the middle.

By Craig Doyle
Neal Maupay celebrates after putting Albion ahead against Newcastle.

Four minutes later Maupay had scored twice in a League game for the first time since September 2018. He was offside at the start of the move but not when Leo Trossard’s low right-wing cross found him applying a deft touch past Karl Darlow from the edge of the six-yard box.

Newcastle resorted to crude methods to halt Lamptey’s rampaging runs. Jonjo Shelvey and Lewis were both booked for heavy challenges and Jamaal Lascelles followed them into the book for a foul on Maupay.

By EUHV Football
Jonjo Shelvey got a booking for a poor challenge on Lamptey - one of three in the first half for Newcastle's side.

Such was their dominance that the only disappointment for Albion was they hadn’t added to their lead by the break. Bissouma, twice, and Trossard failed to test Darlow from distance but the Newcastle keeper made a great save with his legs in stoppage time to block a shot from Lamptey, who had made another surging run into the box to get onto Trossard’s clever pass.

The introduction of Miguel Almiron gave Newcastle a bit more of midfield presence but Albion had the first effort on target in the second half when Darlow saved a shot from the edge of the box by Trossard after good work by Connolly, whose willingness to run the channels and engage defenders to create space for his team-mates was evident throughout.

Lamptey, who had taken a couple of heavy knocks to his ankle in the first half, was replaced by Dan Burn on 57 minutes with Ben White switching to right-back and Burn on the left.

Newcastle had their best and only decent chance to get back into the game in the 63rd minute. Almiron’s cross found Callum Wilson six-yards out, but he directed his shot over the bar. A let-off for Albion.

Connolly struck a post but from an offside position as Albion regained their composure and the other upright was rattled in the 71st minute, this time by Trossard whose low effort from the D beat Darlow but not the left-hand post.

By Craig Doyle
Aaron Connolly celebrates opening his goalscoring account for the campaign.

Connolly got his reward with six minutes to go. Maupay ran at a retreating defence and found the Ireland international on the left and he curled his shot inside Darlow’s left-hand post. A wonderful goal to round off a memorable Albion performance, which not even Bissouma’s harsh late red could take the shine off.

Albion: Ryan; Lamptey (Burn 57), Webster, Dunk, White, March (Lallana 78), Bissouma, Alzate, Trossard, Connolly (Jahanbakhsh 90), Maupay. Unused subs: Steele, Gross, Bernardo, Veltman.