Newcastle United eased their relegation fears with Allan Saint-Maximin’s wonder goal earning them a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor.
Trailing to Matej Vydra’s first-half strike, Newcastle looked uninspired before Steve Bruce brought on Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson in the 57th minute. It was Wilson’s first appearance since February 6. The Magpies were winless during the time their top scorer has been out with a hamstring problem.
But it was Saint-Maximin who did the damage. Within two minutes of his introduction, the Frenchman ran into the penalty area, drawing three defenders.
He pulled the ball back for Jacob Murphy to fire in an equaliser. Bailey Peacock-Farrell, deputising for the injured Nick Pope in the Burnley goal, had enjoyed a relatively quiet afternoon to that point.
But five minutes later he was picking the ball out of the net again. Saint-Maximin raced from the halfway line before finding the bottom corner.
It was an incredible turnaround after Newcastle had been second best for almost a full hour.
Victory ended a seven-game winless run for Bruce’s side. Sean Dyche will rue the three points that got away as his side, who have won just one of their last eight.
𝘽𝙄𝙂 𝙒𝙄𝙉 😍
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) April 11, 2021
For much of the afternoon they had looked in control against a Newcastle side short on confidence. Ciaran Clark had come into the Magpies defence to covered for injured captain Jamaal Lascelles.
But the Republic of Ireland defender’s mistake led to Burnley’s opener with 18 minutes gone. Clark’s poor header went straight to Ashley Westwood.
He played it to Chris Wood, who crossed for Vydra to score his third goal in five. Newcastle responded as Dwight Gayle poked the ball into the net from an offside position.
Peacock-Farrell had been a spectator for much of the half but parried Gayle’s close-range header seven minutes before the break. As the ball looped up, James Tarkowski went to boot it clear, catching Sean Longstaff in the head as he did so.
VAR Stuart Attwell took a long look but ultimately agreed with referee Anthony Taylor that Tarkowski got to the ball first. It was certainly close call.
Bruce substitutions inspired
The second half started much as the first half had ended, with Martin Dubravka tipping over shots from Matt Lowton and Dwight McNeil.
Bruce replaced Gayle and Joelinton with Saint-Maximin and Wilson, and the game quickly changed. Burnley tried to rally. Wood was teed up by Pieters but fluffed his lines before Vydra fired into the side netting.
But it was Newcastle who claimed the spoils and will sleep easier tonight.