Through illegal radio streams, my new favorite person on Earth Periscoping the game from his place in the stands, and a constant eye on Twitter I witnessed Newcastle gain their first points of the year in a 4-1 victory over the traveling Royals of Reading.
The first 30 minutes of the match was all Magpies. In the opening moments Newcastle looked to go ahead. It was the 3rd minute when Dwight Gale used his outstretched arm to redirect a cross from the wing into the back of the net and was promptly written into referee Andy Madley’s book. Newcastle continued to have the share of possession and opportunities leading up to the opening goal. In the 20th minute, from a free kick not far outside of the 18 yard box, Isaac Hayden was able to slot home the ball that ping ponged around the box. Hayden was able to settle the ball down and give the Magpies the lead.
Around the half an hour mark of the game, it became obvious that Newcastle needed to grab another goal. Reading grew in confidence and possession and unfortunately, nothing came of the chances the black and white created. After Reading shots, scoring opportunities, and crossbars hit, a poor challenge in the box by center back Ciaran Clark, in his debut wearing black and white, Reading was awarded a penalty. Again, for the 3rd time in the three games played in this new season, Newcastle conceded a goal in the dying minutes of the opening half. Garath McCleary beat Matz Sels to tie the game at one.
Rafa Benitez made no substitutions leading his team out to the SJP pitch for the second half. He was rewarded with good football from his players leading to Madley awarding a second penalty, this time to Newcastle. In the 50th minute, Matt Ritchie stepped up and powered his kick past Ali Al Habsi, who guessed correctly but couldn’t stop the football from finding the back of his goal.
The scoring didn’t stop there. 19 minutes later, from 30 yards out Matt Richie and Dwight Gayle stood over a free kick and with his right foot Gale swung a beautiful shot past an outstretched Al Habsi to put the game likely out of reach.
Rafa's tactics changed and seemed to become negative as he brought on center back Jamal Lascacelles and holding midfielder Jack Colback for two of his attacking midfeilders, Perez and Goufrann. Despite his deployment of a 5-4-1, Benitez was again rewarded with an easy Gayle tap in, 3 feet from goal with a nifty assist from my man of the match, Isaac Hayden. The final whistle blew and Newcastle got their first win of the new season in the Championship.
-Howay the Lads