Sunday, 23 September 2018

Newcastle United 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

Newcastle United 0-1 West Bromwich Albion
28 Apr
Moore ‘extremely proud’ of Baggies’ performances

Caretaker boss Darren Moore refused to contemplate what might have been for West Brom this season after the struggling side staved off relegation for another week with victory at Newcastle.

That result, coupled with Swansea’s defeat by Chelsea, means the basement side might achieve the improbable if they win their final two games and their rivals stumble.

Moore, who has taken eight points from his four games in charge, did not want to dwell on the past, saying: “We can’t cry over spilled milk.

“What’s gone on has gone on and there’s nothing we can do. We can talk about ifs and buts – we ain’t going to change what’s gone on at the start of the season.

“We just look to the next game, and this was a difficult game and we have had to work extremely hard to get a positive result.”

The Midlands club are at home to Tottenham next Saturday before travelling to Crystal Palace for the final day of the season. A point for the Swans at Bournemouth next week would see West Brom relegated.

West Brom just needed one goal to see off Newcastle on Saturday, with Matt Phillips smashing in a 29th-minute strike after being picked out by Jake Livermore.

James McClean and Jay Rodriguez also went close for the Baggies, while their keeper Ben Foster made a sensational save to keep out Dwight Gayle’s header.

The Magpies were also denied by the post after Kenedy had beaten Foster with a poked shot.

A stay of execution?

Former defender Darren Moore was centre-back for the Baggies for five years between 2001 and 2006

Although footballing miracles are possible – remember Leicester’s title win in 2015-16? – the Baggies remain strong favourites to go down.

At least Moore – loved by the fans and, seemingly, the players – has injected the team with some belief, which was sorely missing under the stewardship of former managers Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew.

At St James’ Park, the Baggies showed the sort of gutsy performance Newcastle had shown in recent weeks. However, with safety assured, Newcastle’s levels have dropped and the Baggies took advantage.

They went ahead just before the half-hour mark as Phillips, who was brilliant on the wing, rifled the ball past Martin Dubravka.

Had striker Salomon Rondon been at his sharpest, West Brom might have added to their lead, while Rodriguez forced a good low save from the Newcastle keeper.

The Baggies defence was barely tested, with Newcastle’s attack lacking bite.

Magpies on holiday

England hopeful Jonjo Shelvey (left) produced an underwhelming display against West Brom at St James’ Park

Newcastle appear to have switched off since securing their Premier League status – defeat on Saturday was the first time they had suffered back-to-back losses in 2018.

The influential Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Ritchie and Kenedy were all off their game, although the latter went closest for the home side when his shot came off the foot of the post in the first half.

Substitute Joselu, who has failed to make an impact since arriving on Tyneside in the summer, should have earned Newcastle a late equaliser but inexplicably headed wide from six yards.

Man of the match – Matt Phillips (West Brom)

The former QPR winger was exceptional and produced a great strike to earn his side what could be a vital three points

‘We’ll enjoy today and look forward’ – reaction

West Brom caretaker boss Darren Moore: “We did everything that was asked of us. We came to a tough arena, against a good team, and we needed to perform well to come away with a result.

“I was pleased with the result, it was a good, solid performance. We could have scored more goals, we had plenty of chances, and after we scored our defence was resolute too.

“We’re just continuing to look forward to the next game now, we’ll enjoy today, and look forward.”

Newcastle 0-1 West Brom: Magpies have dropped off since reaching safety – Benitez

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez on BBC’s MOTD: “We tried to do it, but I’m not happy with our performance on the ball, without the ball. Everything we did in the last few games, we didn’t do.

“We wanted to get more points to finish higher in the table, but we didn’t do well today, we made a lot of mistakes, and we weren’t good enough.

“We didn’t think the job was done, but it’s a pity because we’ve had a good season, but we want to finish better, too. I congratulate the players for a good season, but we need to be better than today.

“The target was to stay up, but if we can finish ninth we want to do that.”

Benitez’s run against Baggies ends – the stats

  • In just four matches, Moore (W2 D2 L0) has won more Premier League games for West Brom than Pardew (W1 D5 L12), and as many as Pulis (W2 D4 L6) did for the Baggies this season.
  • West Brom kept their first league clean sheet at St James’ Park since September 1977, ending a run of 15 straight games in which they had conceded at the ground.
  • Newcastle have lost back-to-back league games for the first time since a run of four in December.
  • This was Benitez’s first Premier League defeat against West Brom as manager (W7 D1 L1), meaning Stoke are now the side he has faced the most without defeat in the competition (seven games).
  • Phillips’ goal was his first in 22 games in all competitions for West Brom, since netting against Manchester City in October.
  • There were 15 shots in total in the second half in this game (10 for Newcastle, five for West Brom), but none were on target.

What’s next?

The Baggies face Tottenham at home next Saturday, 5 May (15:00 BST). Newcastle visit Watford at the same time.

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