Willock, Minamino score on debuts as Newcastle beat Southampton in thriller

Date published: Saturday 6th February 2021 4:57 - Samuel Bannister

Newcastle claimed their first home win of 2021 as they compounded a miserable week for Southampton by beating them 3-2 in a lively game at St James’ Park.

Southampton went into the game looking to bounce back from their painful 9-0 defeat to Manchester United in midweek.

However, they may have been fearing another high-scoring loss when they went two goals down in the first half an hour.

Newcastle took the lead after 16 minutes through Joe Willock. Allan Saint-Maximin drove into the box from the left, before squaring it for the Arsenal loanee as he ran into the area.

Willock finished first time to make it a debut to remember.

Then, 10 minutes later, Newcastle doubled their advantage. Saint-Maximin set the goal up again, playing it to Miguel Almiron, whose shot went in off Jan Bednarek.

The own goal added to the Southampton defender’s recent misery, after he had scored another own goal in the previous loss to Man Utd – in which he also conceded a penalty and was sent off (although that red card was later overturned).

Southampton could have been nervous about there being more to come. But a glimmer of hope came when Takumi Minamino pulled one back on the half-hour mark.

The Liverpool loanee intercepted the ball and rounded the last defender. He finished from a wide angle to halve the deficit.

However, Newcastle restored their two-goal cushion in stoppage time of the first half.

It was Almiron again who took the initiative, and this time, there could be no doubts that the goal was his, as he finished from outside the box after capitalising on a Southampton mistake.

Newcastle went in at the break feeling positive after one of their strongest halves of football in a long time.

However, they started the second half in far from ideal fashion.

Just three minutes after the break, Southampton won a free kick on the edge of the area. It was the kind of territory James Ward-Prowse thrives from, and the midfielder curled his shot in to reduce Newcastle’s lead to one.

The hosts then found themselves a man down shortly after when Jeff Hendrick was shown a second yellow card for a shirt pull.

Newcastle hang on for win

After a buoyant first half, Newcastle were now looking to hang on. They breathed a sigh of relief as Danny Ings hit the post just beyond the 60th minute.

Then, Southampton thought they had an equaliser when Karl Darlow parried Ings’ shot into the path of Che Adams, who tapped home. However, both strikers had been offside in the move, so it did not count.

Bednarek’s week to forget nearly got worse when he committed a foul that earned him a yellow card. VAR checked that he may have been the last man, which would have seen him sent off for the second game in a row, but he was let off this time.

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As the game approached its closing stages, there was a lengthy pause. A stretcher had to be used after Newcastle defender Fabian Schar went down with injury.

Newcastle had already used all three substitutes, so were down to nine men for the final 10 minutes.

They were resolute in their defending, though, and Southampton were unable to break them down. For example, Isaac Hayden made a goal-line clearance in the final minute of normal time.

There were six minutes of injury time, but Newcastle held firm.

Hence, the Saints suffered a fifth consecutive Premier League defeat, while Newcastle earned a valuable three points.

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