Matt Ritchie gave Newcastle United a confidence-boosting 1-0 win over Manchester United in Sunday’s Premier League clash at St. James’ Park.
Newcastle United 1 Manchester United 0
Ritchie strikes for the Magpies
The Magpies gave a very good account of themselves in the first half, in which neither side were able to score, in part due to a confident debut from Newcastle’s new Slovakian goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, a recent arrival from Sparta Prague.
Newcastle took the lead just past the hour mark through Matt Ritchie, who slotted home confidently after Dwight Gayle teed him up for his first goal of the season, and were able to hold onto their lead despite a desperate onslaught from United in the closing stages.
The Magpies had the first chance of the match five minutes in when Gayle stood over a free kick after Smalling committed a handball. The initial free kick was poor, but it fell nicely on the rebound off the wall for Shelvey to strike, but his shot was strike at De Gea. A couple of minutes later and a quick turnover of possession gave Perez a sight at goal that he flashed narrowly wide.
After a bright start from Newcastle, United began to get more of a foothold in the game, with Sanchez in particular looking capable of producing something, but his early link-up play with Martial and Lukaku didn’t quite work out.
As the match passed the half-hour mark both sides had chances to open the scoring. For Newcastle, Kenedy stun De Gea’s palms with a rocket from long range before Lingard’s shot needed a save from Dubravka, who produced another save soon afterwards to deny Martial after he was put through by Matic.
Gayle appealed for a penalty late in the first half when he was taken down by Smalling right on the edge of the box, but United had the last chance before the break when Lukaku’s shot on the turn deflected over the bar.
Both sides were denied by the whistle during their opening attacks of the second half, with Ritchie flagged offside after his run was picked out by a lovely through-pass from Shelvey, before Lukaku had a goal ruled out for a foul on the defender before the got on the end of Valencia’s cross.
A few moments later and Sanchez saw his shot deflected wide after a powerful run into the Newcastle box, before the Chilean got on the end of a pass from Lukaku and took it round the goalkeeper, only for Lejuene to come flying in with the block.
The breakthrough arrived in the 65th minute when Shelvey stood over a deep free kick and thumped it forward into the box. Lejeune headed the free kick towards the middle of the box where Gayle got a knock-down into the path of Ritchie, who tucked the chance away with aplomb.
Young almost put United back level with a spicy shot towards goal in the 68th minute, but Dubravka was once again up to the challenge. As the final 15 minutes arrived it became an all-out offensive from United, for whom frustration started growing as Martial had two shots from close range blocked off the line. There were further chances, with Dubravka making one final impressive save to help his new club across the line.