Newcastle v Southampton
20th April 2019
Mario Lemina scored on his return from months out with an abdominal injury
IBO Reporter : channonite
Well, I will not be doing one of my mega-reports after this game. Saints were completely outplayed in the first half, but with some re-jigging of the team at the start of the second half, they came much more into the game. Unfortunately they had conceded two goals in that first half, living themselves way too much to do. No complaints about the result, Newcastle deserved the win.
Saints had some injury concerns coming into this game with both Vestergaard and Valery not recovering in time. So, in front of Gunn we had Stephens, Yoshida and Bednarek. The wing-backs were Ward-Prowse and Bertrand, with Romeu and Højbjerg in the midfield. Wide were Sims and Redmond, with Ings once again starting up front.
Straight away it became apparent that the crafty old fox, Rafael Benitez had done his homework on the way Saints play under Hasenhüttl and his team were pressing, giving us no time on the ball and moving quickly when in possession. It wasn't long before Rondón played in Almirón on the left and the Paraguayan forced a finger tip save from Angus Gunn. The writing was on the wall and Saints were being overrun.
It wasn't completely one way traffic and Saints got a corner which ws whipped in by Bertrand. Dubravka in the Newcastle goal could only flap at it. One of the defenders managed to hook it away upfield and suddenly it was two on one, Rondón with Almirón in possession for Newcastle and Ward-Prowse was the sole Saints defender. JWP's solution was to cynically shoulder charge the Newcastle player to the floor, whereupon the Newcastle masses went ballistic. Benitez went purple on the sidelines, but Ward-Prowse got away with just a yellow card. Lucky boy.
The Newcastle fans did not need to wait long for the first goal, with Højbjerg caught in possession and in a flash Pérez was onto it, accelerating away and shooting between Bednarek's legs and beyond Gunn into the far corner. 1-0. Simple. It had been coming for a while.
Four minutes later it got worse. Róndon got behind the defenders on the left (again), crossing past at least four defenders, to that man Pérez again who made no mistake slotting past Gunn for his and Newcastle's second goal. Just over half an hour gone, it was 2-0 and the home side were cruising.
For the rest of the half Saints were just hanging on, but hang on they did and it remained 2-0 at the break.
Hasenhüttl didn't mess about, at the start of the second half he replaced Stephens with Lemina and Sims with Armstrong. The meant going to a 4-3-3 and this had an immediate effect, with the team looking more compact, better balanced and certainly more effective.
From a corner, Ward-Prowse sent the ball fizzing into the area and Yoshida sent a header just over the bar. Better.
Newcastle were still making chances though and there was a let off when Ki Sung-yueng had Gunn beaten all ends up, only to see his shot cannon off the inside of the post and bounce harmlessly away.
Saints were growing in confidence and there was some nice football from Ings, cutely back-heeling into the path of Redmond. He looked up and sent a cross-field pass to the feet of Armstrong, who with his back to goal, let the ball run to the onrushing Lemina. The Gabonese player made no mistake, firing his shot beyond the keeper to halve the deficit. 2-1.
At this point it looked more likely that Saints would be the next to score and from a corner Redmond crossed low back into the area. Lemina dived to head the ball, but missed. Standing just behind him, Yoshida made contact with his left foot, but lifted it harmlessly over the bar.
Chance after chance. It wasn't all one way as Atsu won the ball in midfield and raced up the Saints right. Bednarek made a mistake and suddenly the Newcastle sub was crossing from the byline. An awful headed clearance from Bertrand only went as far as Hayden, who immediately volleyed a shot straight at goal. It looked a certain goal, but somehow Gunn got a hand to it. Fantastic save!
The pressure was then all on Saints, with the ball flying around the penalty area and eventually the pressure told. For the umpteenth time the ball was pumped into the penalty area and once again Bednarek headed clear. Unfortunately it fell for Ritchie, who sent a diving header goal-wards. Unfortunately for Gunn, Pérez got a touch on it's way in, deflecting the ball past him. Newcastle and Pérez' third goal. Saints players looked utterly dejected, as the trudged back for the restart. 3-1 and just four minutes of normal time left.
To the Saints credit, they still had time to fashion another chance, with the ball whipped in from a corner and Yoshida headed what seemed certain to be a goal, as it headed for the bottom left of the Newcastle net, only to see Dubravka make diving save to push the ball away.
That was the last effective move of the game and the final whistle saw Newcastle run out 3-1 winners.
In spite of an appalling first half, Saints had come right back into the match in the second half and that third goal with the wicked deflection had just killed the game dead. Hasenhüttl's substitutions at the start of the second half had made a world of difference, but in the end there was just too much for Saints to do.
Maya Yoshida had chances to score, but it just wasn't to be
5 Schär (Fernandez 69')
4 Ki Sung-yueng
14 Hayden (Diamé 78')
24 Almirón (Atsu 64')
5 Stephens (Lemina 45')
16 Ward-Prowse - Booked 23'
14 Romeu - Booked 62'
39 Sims (Armstrong 45')
9 Ings (Long 76')
Saturday 20th April
- Pérez 27', 31', 86'
- Lemina 59'
Referee: Anthony Taylor
- Newcastle 43%
- Southampton 57%
- Newcastle 15
- Southampton 15
Shots on Target
- Newcastle 6
- Southampton 3
- Newcastle 4
- Southampton 11
- Newcastle 5
- Southampton 11