Grit, determination, and a sprinkling of good fortune saw Newcastle gag all three points against Fulham.
On the balance of play, Newcastle fully deserved the victory but it looked for a long time that it was going to be one of those days again. Similar to when they faced Leeds, Eddie Howe’s side was guilty of wasting a number of chances.
This Newcastle side has everything and they showed how they could win ugly against Fulham. The visitors had to be alert at the back and the impressive Issa Diop got across to make a superb last-ditch block to deny Sean Longstaff a shot on goal.
Newcastle grew into the game and started creating opportunities as Korean Tripper’s cross picked out Callum Wilson, but the striker’s header was straight at Bernd Leno.
Bruno Guimaraes looked to roll his ankle when pressing Joao Palhinha, Newcastle supporters had their hearts in their mouths as Bruno writhed in pain. The Brazilian completed the half but couldn’t make it out for the second period.
It remains to be seen how serious the injury is; the midfielder will be sent for a scan this week to reveal the full extent of the damage.
Allan Saint-Maximin replaced Bruno at halftime, and the Frenchman made an impact. There were more incisive passes to teammates and fewer solo runs that ended in little end product. This looked to be a different Saint-Maximin, the version Howe has craved since arriving on Tyneside.
Newcastle continued to press—Wilson headed wide from a Trippier corner before Fabian Schar’s powerful free-kick hit the upright.
The missed chances looked like they would be costly when Fulham were awarded a penalty. Decordova-Reid flung himself to the floor after standing on Trippier’s foot, and after a long VAR review, the penalty was awarded.
Step up former Newcastle man, Aleksandar Mitrovic.
The Serbian slipped as he struck the spot-kick and hit the ball against his standing foot before finding the net. The goal was correctly ruled out because of the double contact.
Newcastle were on course for their third straight 0-0 in the Premier League, but Isak arrived right on cue to head home the 89th-minute winner.
Perhaps on the face of things the most important win of the season to date.
Newcastle are back up to third and within a point of Manchester City. If Manchester United are suddenly in the title race, sitting on the same points as the Magpies.
Then surely Howe’s men are in the mix too? They couldn’t, could they? The realists would say not, but it’s good to keep the dream alive.