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Newcastle's Bad Away Run Ends With 1-0 Victory

Dwight Gayle, and a stingy defense, push Newcastle up the table.

The 2,501 Magpie fans who traveled to Ashton Gate were justly rewarded with an historic victory from Rafa Benitez's club. A bit dramatic? Possibly. Yet considering Newcastle's away form last produced a win 8 months ago when they returned from London with a 2-1 victory over Spurs you can forgive my framing.

It was also Benitez's first away win as Newcastle coach.

Newcastle was quick off the start as Mohamed Diamé's pressure inside of two minutes harmlessly rolled left of promise. Bristol City would return the pressure a few minutes later as Lee Tomlin's header chip from outside the box lacked the touch.

Roughly ten minutes later Newcastle would take the lead.

In the 16th minute Matt Ritchie delivered a gem to Isaac Hayden whose header from the center of the box missed right.

In ironic fashion it was Dwight Gayle, the player who turned down a move from Crystal Palace to Bristol city last season, that delivered the lone score in this match of attrition. The 19th minute saw Diamé deliver a flawless through ball that Gayle found in stride, settled it with his right foot and skillfully struck home with his left.

It was a confident effort from Gayle who had been criticized in the first two matches for looking tentative. There was nothing to aide the argument today as Gayle netted his fourth goal of the season.

The teams would go into the half without much offensive flair.

The Robins came out of the locker room inspired as Tomlin and Luke Freeman each had shots blocked, and for much of the second half it appeared Newcastle would not hold the lead. Today, however, Newcastle's back four offered enough quality with impressive showings from Chancel Mbemba and Jamaal Lacelles.

While Matz Sels can claim his first clean sheet of the season it was not without concern. Late in the first half Sels failed to clear a cross that left Freeman a potential game tying strike. Sels was able to recover and deny the attempt. As the wet conditions worsened in the second half Sels once again failed to clear the ball which left Bristol's Jonathan Kodjia an opportunity that thankfully found the crossbar instead of the net.

Neither team managed to put either goalkeeper to the test. Gayle's game winner was Newcastle's only shot on goal, while Bristol City managed only two. Yet it was the Robins who kept Newcastle on the backfoot launching a total of 17 shots, and holding a slight possession advantage.

These are the types of games Newcastle will need to win if they want promotion. It's the type of game Newcastle, in the past, might have folded either before the half or close to final time. While it may not have been a pretty victory it is three points, and it shows Rafa's club have the quality to sit back and hold a lead.

Newcastle presently sit at 7th in the table, level on points and GD with QPR.