Newcastle United and its supporters came into Saturday’s home meeting with Watford hoping to get back on the right foot after a string of three straight defeats, including a 4-1 loss at the hands of Manchester United last weekend. Unfortunately for Newcastle, that was not to be.
The match opened with Newcastle playing mostly on the front foot, earning multiple corners in the first four minutes of play. The best chance of the early going came in the form of a cross from Jacob Murphy that fell perfectly to Joselu, who unfortunately was unable to force the Watford keeper to do any work.
Fifteen minutes into the match saw Jonjo Shelvey doing Jonjo Shelvey things, coming in from behind to scissor a Watford player on a ball that Shelvey had no chance of winning. The challenge earned Shelvey a yellow card that could have certainly been red on another day.
Watford opened the scoring in the 19th minute as a diagonal ball put left back Marvin Zeegelaar into space on his flank, which did enough to draw the Newcastle defense over and open space in the penalty area for Will Hughes to slide in unmarked and slot home Zeegelaar’s cross.
Newcastle supporters didn’t have to wait long to see their club respond, with DeAndre Yedlin making a wonderful run and putting a perfect through ball in for Joselu who again proved unable to convert an excellent chance afforded to him. Newcastle spent most of the remaining 20 minutes of the first half on the attack, primarily attempting diagonal balls to beat the Watford back line. The best stretch of play came in the 35th minute, when Newcastle was able to create a number of chances but proved unable to produce the end product.
A goal did finally come from a Newcastle foot at the very end of the first half, but unfortunately it ended up in the back of Rob Elliot’s net as Zeegelaar’s cross from the end line deflected off of Yedlin and in for Watford’s second goal. Yedlin had a superb match, keeping Richarlison out of the action for Watford while also contributing in the attack, but he will unfortunately be remembered in this match for this deflection that he knew little about.
Both clubs came out in the second half looking to leave a mark early, and it was Watford who looked the most likely for the opening ten minutes, creating and subsequently squandering perfect chances. As Newcastle began to get involved in the attack, one got the sense that those squandered chances would come back to haunt Watford.
That was not to be the case, however, as Andre Gray was able to turn in a perfect cross from Richarlison and give Watford its third goal. Richarlison, who was anonymous for the first 60 minutes, got on the end of a through ball to beat both Yedlin and Florian Lejeune, while Gray was left alone in the box as Newcastle players failed to get back to defend the counterattack.
Newcastle then looked willing and able to at least better the goal differential, creating attacking chances culminating in another wonderful ball from Murphy that Joselu, who was wide open fourteen yards from goal, was only able to squib straight into the Watford keeper’s path.
The best moment for Newcastle unfortunately came in the form of a double substitution, which saw Joselu taken out of the match in favor of Aleksander Mitrović, along with a return to action for Mikel Merino following a month out of action with a back injury. The two new players to the match almost linked up two minutes later, with a beautiful ball from Merino falling just long for Mitrović to be able to run in on goal.
Newcastle did look more likely to score with Mitrović and Merino in action. Ayoze Pérez joined the match in the 77th minute in place of Jacob Murphy, who performed well in his second start of the season but saw his chances squandered by Newcastle attackers. With the three changes made, Newcastle continued on its theme of creating and wasting numerous opportunities on goal. Ultimately, nothing United did would prove good enough, and the match would end with Newcastle scoreless and Watford earning three goals and all three points.
Newcastle and its supporters will look to put this match behind them when they take on a struggling and managerless West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday.