A scoreless first half gave way to plenty of fireworks in a goal-filled, card-filled second half that saw Newcastle hold on to a 2-1 win and become the first side to defeat Chelsea this season.
There were a few moments of brilliance from Newcastle in the first half. Despite spending most of the opening 45 minutes defending, Newcastle had their chances. In one instance, Ayoze Perez played a brilliant ball into Jack Colback who saw his shot saved. At times, Newcastle had good spells of possession, but could not find a shot opportunity.
On the other end, Chelsea saw a lot of possession, but rarely put shots on frame. However, Rob Elliot injured himself on a goal kick near halftime, and he had to make way for Jak Alnwick.
However, first blood went to Newcastle. In the 57th minute, Sammy Ameobi gathered in possession on the left hand side. He crossed the ball in, and it somehow eluded the Chelsea defense while hitting the foot of Papiss Cisse. The Number 9 had just come into the match, and had instantly given the hosts a 1-0 lead. It marked the first time that Chelsea was behind in the second half of a league match this season, and snapped a nearly 8 hour long shutout streak for the Blues.
If there were any doubts that it was going to be Newcastle's day, they were laid to rest in the 78th minute. With Chelsea pressing, Hazard found space in the box and got off a nice shot. It went off the frame though, and from there Newcastle was able to counter. On the counter, Moussa Sissoko found Cisse again to double Newcastle's lead.
However, there were to be late fireworks at St. James' Park. After the second goal, there were several reckless challenges. One came from Steven Taylor, who was already on a yellow. The referee showed Taylor a red card, sending Newcastle down to ten men. Drogba scored off of the ensuing free kick, and suddenly, Newcastle had only a one goal lead with only ten men to protect it with.
The fourth official put up six minutes on the clock, much to the chagrin of the Newcastle supporters. It would be a nervy six minutes of stoppage time as well, with Chelsea looking to nick an equalizer. However, this is where Alnwick shined. He made a few quality saves and kept Newcastle organized as they steered through the six minutes to the 2-1 win.
After two straight subpar performances, Newcastle put in a solid effort today to earn three points.