Newcastle 1-0 Burnley: Callum Wilson strikes again as Eddie Howe’s side go level on points with the Clarets after their first win of the season in crucial relegation tussle
- Newcastle striker Callum Wilson scored the opening goal just before half-time
- Burnley felt it should have been ruled out for a foul on goalkeeper Nick Pope
- The Clarets could only muster one shot on target across the entire match
At the 15th attempt and with their fourth manager of the season, Newcastle United have finally won a Premier League football match.
Steve Bruce had eight goes, caretaker Graeme Jones three and current assistant Jason Tindall just the one. For Eddie Howe, this was third time lucky, and boy did they need a bit of good fortune.
Not that the aesthetics will matter to Howe and a joyous crowd of 52,000. The sight of their team emerging victorious for the first time in seven months was enough to send the Toon Army marching into town in search of celebration.
Callum Wilson (l) scored the only goal as Newcastle got their first win of the season vs Burnley
Wilson netted just before half time and Newcastle were good value for the three points
Eddie Howe’s men will hope to kick on now and move themselves towards safety
Howe looked drained as he exited down the tunnel after a win secured thanks to Callum Wilson’s first-half strike. There was a glaze in his eyes after what was an emotional lap of appreciation for the new boss.
When Howe clenched his fists and shook them in the direction of the crowd, he probably did not anticipate the entire East Stand to ape his actions. ‘F****** love it’ he appeared to scream back at them.
The win moves Newcastle level on 10 points with Sean Dyche’s Burnley, but in the bottom three they both remain.
It has, though, been a good week for Howe. A 1-1 draw at home to relegation rivals Norwich should not feel uplifting. But on Tuesday night, for all associated with Newcastle, it strangely did.
The toxicity that had polluted St James’ Park under the previous owner and manager had evaporated. There was a sense of all pulling in the same direction, a feeling strengthened in adversity when Ciaran Clark was sent off after just nine minutes. Supporters spoke afterwards of their pride in finally ‘having our club back’.
But such evenings of positivity are a one-off to the backdrop of a negative result. You cannot continue to celebrate togetherness while your season is falling apart. To that end, only victory would do against Burnley, pretty or otherwise.
It did not start well. Newcastle were better with 10 men for 80 minutes in midweek than they were with 11 for the opening 40 minutes here.
But in Wilson they have a striker who can render team performance academic. Give him a chance – a half chance, even – and he will likely come very close to scoring. He has learnt to become economical in this Newcastle side.
And so it was the case five minutes before the break when, from 14 yards, he squeezed the ball between the crossbar and the crown of Burnley striker Chris Wood, who at 6ft 3in was no insignificant barrier.
Wilson had done so after snaffling the scraps when Nick Pope fumbled from a high delivery. The goalkeeper wanted a free-kick given the ball had slipped from his grasp after contact with Newcastle’s Fabian Schar. But Pope only had himself to blame for landing on top of the defender.
With referees less quick to whistle for the comfort of a VAR review, it is to the betterment of the game that the sight of a goalkeeper going to ground no longer equates to an automatic free-kick. Just ask David de Gea.
Wilson’s finish, for his sixth of the season, was magnificent. Not that they deserved their lead.
Burnley hit the post through Johan Gudmundsson early on and Max Cornet was denied by a flying Martin Dubravka when heading on goal from close range. The visitors were organised and composed, the hosts were not.
It was a different story after half-time, when only Newcastle looked the likely scorers of the game’s second goal.
Miguel Almiron’s low shot was brushed around the post by Pope and the keeper did well to flip over from a Jonjo Shelvey blast on 79 minutes.
It was no secret in these parts that Newcastle’s players were not happy with training and preparation under Bruce. But for Wilson to outline that in such damning terms this week served to highlight the ground lost at the start of the season. ‘We weren’t fit enough and we weren’t in the right place,’ he said.
So, are they any fitter now? They had to be in the closing stages as Burnley belatedly rallied and went in search of a point. Jay Rodriguez did find the net but the goal was ruled out for offside.
But Newcastle – fitter and hungrier under Howe – resisted. There is a long way to go, but it does not feel like a club headed for relegation.
Newcastle (4-4-2): Dubravka; Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Lewis; Almiron (Fernandez 85), Willock, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin (Murphy 90+1); Joelinton, Wilson.
Substitutes not used: Darlow; Krafth, Hayden, Hendrick, S Longstaff, Ritchie, Gayle.
Goals: Wilson 40.
Yellow cards: Manquillo 87.
Manager: Eddie Howe.
Burnley (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton (Roberts 75), Collins, Tarkowski, Taylor; Gudmundsson (Rodriguez 81), Brownhill, Westwood, McNeil; Wood, Cornet (Vydra 32).
Substitutes not used: Hennessey; Long, Thomas, Pieters, Cork, Lennon.
Yellow cards: Collins 75.
Manager: Sean Dyche.
Referee: Paul Tierney.
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