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Newcastle United v Brentford FC - Premier League

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Newcastle 1-0 Brentford — Match Report: Back to winning ways

Callum Wilson nets from the spot to help Newcastle return to the win column

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Nervy, anxious and desperate at times but Newcastle picked up their first win since the opening day mauling of Aston Villa after beating Brentford 1-0 at St James’ Park on Saturday.

The win was well timed with Newcastle’s long-awaited return to Champions League football this week, a baptism of fire in San Siro against AC Milan on Tuesday evening. Tough, yes, but this is what the club and supporters have longed for. This was the hope that kept them alive during the dismal Mike Ashley era. A hope that one day, the club would be back where they belong.

Eddie Howe rang the changes ahead of Brentford’s visit to SJP. Callum Wilson, Harvey Barnes, Elliot Anderson, and Sean Longstaff all started. Joelinton flew to Barcelona to see a knee specialist, while Sandro Tonali made the bench but was nursing a slight strain and wasn’t risked.

Newcastle United v Brentford FC - Premier League Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

The crowd felt tense and nervy, which filtered onto the pitch. Newcastle knew they were in for a game with Mbuemo and Wissa looking to cause them problems on the break. Brentford looked more threatening, with Aaron Hickey forcing a save from Nick Pope with an angled shot and Wissa missing an excellent chance when he failed to connect with a teasing Mathias Jensen cross at the far post.

Newcastle needed to respond and did so when Bruno Guimaraes met a Fabian Schar flick-on a few yards out following a corner, only for Flekken to make a smart reaction save with his feet.

Wilson, starting ahead of Alexander Isak for the first time this season, saw a close-range goal harshly disallowed by VAR after he was adjudged to have obstructed Flekken. A quite laughable decision, and had Newcastle not clinched all three points, Howe would have been furious about it.

Wilson didn’t have to wait much longer to put the ball in the back of the net again. Flekken again found himself in trouble as his needless foul on Gordon near the byline saw referee Craig Pawson point to the spot, with VAR this time upholding his decision. Wilson made no mistake from the spot, and the whole of St James’ Park could breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Newcastle United v Brentford FC - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Brentford rarely threatened to pull themselves level in the closing stages but did have one opportunity when Wissa again failed to convert from close range from another Jensen delivery, steering the ball wide when he should have hit the target.

The final whistle was greeted with huge cheers inside St James’ Park as the Magpies, although not at their fluent best, celebrated a morale-boosting win ahead of their midweek trip to Italy.

Howe will hope that they can look back on this game as the turning point of their season. Newcastle haven’t looked out of sorts that often this season apart from at the AMEX. It’s been a tough start but not a disastrous one by any means.

Two very different away games are on the horizon now: A trip to San Siro on Tuesday evening followed by a trip to Bramall Lane on Sunday.

Come out unbeaten from those two games, and Newcastle will be confident of having another stellar season.

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