In my preview to the Newcastle vs Watford game I wrote how Newcastle fans would be hoping that their away draw against Southampton might give the side a lift. I said how the club’s next two fixtures (both home matches) would be a great opportunity to pick up their first win. Was I being optimistic? Yes. But did Newcastle just win their first game of the season? Absolutely.
The first chance of the game fell to the Watford captain. A defensive lapse saw Mariappa left unmarked from a corner. His initial header was blocked but the ball dropped back at his feet after another deflection, but he missed the target from close range. Watford looked to be on the front foot in the first half, creating chances of the counter attack. Deulofeu had two opportunities to give Watford the lead. Holebas created the first with a cut-back ball into the centre of the box which found an open Deulofeu. The Spaniard failed to wrap his right foot round the ball and instead struck it straight and missed the target similarly to Mariappa earlier in the match. His second chance came on a quick counter. Success was played the ball on the left wing and found a quick switched pass to the opposite wing to find Deulofeu. He met the ball at the edge of the box and tried to place the ball passed Dubravka who had rushed out of goal, but his shot slowly rolled wide of the target.
Watford’s closest chance came in the 49th minute. Success shrugged off Yedlin’s challenge and cut in from the left wing. He squared the ball to Pereyra whose effort struck the cross bar. Newcastle would punish Watford for these missed chances in the 65th minute. Ki fired a free kick into the box from the left wing and Ayoze Perez guided it goal-bound with a near-post header. Perez’s flick had too much speed for Foster and found the back of the net. Newcastle almost made it 2-0 but the ball was cleared after a goalmouth scramble. That clearance led to a Watford counter attack in which they might have scored if Kenedy hadn’t made a vital interception to stop the ball from reaching Andre Gray. Stefano Okaka had a great chance to equalise in the 93rd minute from the centre of the Newcastle box but he blazed the ball over the cross bar.
Newcastle held on to seal what is their first win of the season. The performance may not have been incredible, but the result is the most important thing for Newcastle fans as their side have climbed out of the relegation spots with that result (as things stand before Sunday’s matches). The jubilation for Newcastle fans was summed up by Alan Shearer who described the result as a “mahoooooosive 3 points” in a tweet after the game. Newcastle will look for a similar result in their next fixture when they host Bournemouth.
Newcastle line-up: Dubravka, Yedlin, Fernandez, Lascelles (Schar 45’), Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey (Ki 51’), Diame, Kenedy, Muto (Perez 45’), Rondon
Watford line-up: Foster, Femenia, Cathcart, Mariappa, Holebas, Pereyra, Hughes (Okaka 77’), Doucoure, Capoue, Deulofeu (Gray 66’), Success (Chalobah 85’)