Match Reports

Late goals make it tough on the Tyne for Albion

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Deniz Undav scored his fourth goal in five games but two late goals helped earn Newcastle a 4-1 win at St James' Park.

By Bruce Talbot • 18 May 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Deniz Undav scores his fourth goal in five games to make it 2-1.

Albion suffered a setback in their push for European football despite an improved second-half performance at St James’ Park on Thursday.

Newcastle deservedly led 2-0 at the break thanks to an own goal by Deniz Undav and a header from former Albion defender Dan Burn.

But Undav scored his fourth goal in five games with a confident finish seven minutes after the break and Albion pressed for an equaliser.

But Newcastle struck twice on the counter-attack to improve their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League. Callum Wilson raced clear in the final minute to make it 3-1 and Bruno Guimaraes rubbed salt into Albion wounds with a fourth in stoppage time.  

The winning margin may have flattered the hosts but Albion will need to regroup ahead of Sunday’s crucial home game against Southampton.

By Paul Hazlewood
Billy Gilmour congratulates Deniz Undav after he made it 2-1 from the Scot's pass.

Roberto De Zerbi had made four changes to the side that beat Arsenal as he looked to freshen things up. His alterations including a first Premier League start since January for Jan Paul van Hecke in defence and the Dutchman grew into the game and will have been pleased with his performance.

 Alexis Mac Allister, Evan Ferguson and Julio Enciso dropped to the bench but they all came on early in the second half and offered Albion some fresh impetus before Newcastle sealed their victory in the closing stages. 

With so much at stake Newcastle fans had cranked up the noise levels at kick off and the home side took their cue. In the first ten minutes Alexander Isak swerved a shot wide, van Hecke blocked Miguel Almiron’s goalbound effort, Sven Botman drilled a free-kick from 30 yards into Steele’s midriff and Almiron in space fired wastefully over from a good position.

Our passing lacked its usual crispness in the opening stages, but Albion finally threatened when Danny Welbeck tested Nick Pope from 20 yards as we sought to get a toehold in the game.

By Paul Hazlewood
Lewis Dunk gives Joelinton the brush off as he challenges at a free kick.

Lewis Dunk slid across to make a terrific block when Joelinton let fly but from the corner Newcastle, who haven’t lost when scoring first at home this season, took a 23rd-minute lead when Kieran Trippier’s inswinging corner from the left flew in, with the last touch coming off Undav’s head.

On the balance of play it was no more than Newcastle deserved. Burn went close with a shot that deflected wide off Dunk’s heel before Kaoru Mitoma offered some respite at the other end, cutting onto his right foot but failing to keep a drive from the corner of the box down.

But Newcastle were in charge and doubled their lead in first-half stoppage time. Trippier swung in a free kick from the right-hand corner of the box and Burn towered over Moises Caicedo and beat Jason Steele with a firm close-range header.

Albion could have had no complaints and it nearly got worse five minutes into the second half. Burn’s cross took a deflection off Facundo Buonanotte and landed perfectly for Almiron, but Steele did superbly to block his half volley and Wilson headed the rebound onto the roof of the net.

By Paul Hazlewood
Danny Welbeck tested Nick Pope with this first-half effort.

The value of Steele’s save became evident moments later when Albion pulled one back. Billy Gilmour played a lovely ball between Newcastle’s central defenders and Undav, timing his run to beat the offside trap, held off Botman before steering a right-foot shot past Pope to make it 2-1.

‘Sussex by the Sea’ could now be heard from high behind Pope’s goal and De Zerbi, sensing a possible momentum shift, made a triple change with Alexis Mac Allister, Julio Enciso and Evan Ferguson all coming on.

Steele made another superb save to block Almiron’s shot with Ferguson getting in the way of Burn’s follow-up half-volley, but with a quarter of the contest to go Albion were very much back in it and Enciso wasn’t far away with a glancing header from Pervis Estupinan’s cross.

By Paul Hazelwood
Jan Paul van Hecke blocks a pass from Joelinton.

Odel Offiah replaced Pascal Gross enabling Moises Caicedo to move into midfield for the last 20 minutes and Undav was replaced by Cam Peupion in the closing stages with the Australian slotting in down the right. Albion had a lot of possession late on but they were caught on the counter in the 89th minute when Wilson raced clear and poked his shot past Steele.

Game over and just to make sure Guimaraes beat the exposed Steele with a close-range volley deep into stoppage time after Wilson set him up. 

Albion: Steele, Caicedo, Dunk, van Hecke, Estupinan, Gilmour (Mac Allister 56), Gross (Offiah 69), Mitoma, Welbeck (Ferguson 56), Undav (Peupion 85), Buonanotte (Enciso 56). Subs not used: McGill, Ayari, Peupion, Samuels.

Referee: Robert Jones

Attendance: 52122 (1000 Albion)