Brighton’s hold on Newcastle is over after the Magpies rode two early goals to a nervy 2-1 win over the Seagulls at St. James’ Park on Saturday, a victory that gives the Magpies tremendous breathing room in the relegation race.
Ryan Fraser had a goal and an assist of Fabian Schar to help Newcastle move seven points clear of the bottom three despite Allan Saint-Maximin not being fit to start and Callum Wilson remaining unavailable. Eddie Howe’s Magpies are unbeaten in eight Premier League outings and have now won five of their last six starts in PL play.
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Brighton did enough to deserve an equalizer but still falls for the fourth-straight match as Newcastle stood firm down the stretch. Brighton got its goal from Lewis Dunk but has allowed multiple goals in all four of their losses and their 33 points are good for 13th place, five points ahead of their Saturday hosts.
Newcastle vs Brighton final score, stats
Newcastle 2-1 Brighton
Goals scored: Fraser (12′), Schar (14′), Dunk (55′)
Shots: Newcastle 10, Brighton 15
Shots on target: Newcastle 4, Brighton 4
Possession: Newcastle 32, Brighton 68
Three things we learned from Newcastle vs Brighton
1. Hex undone, but just: Brighton entered the game with a nine-match unbeaten streak against the Magpies, but Eddie Howe’s men twice hit the Seagulls with early blows before handling a number of body shots from the Seagulls to come away with another big win. Brighton is still well-insulated from the drop but continues to miss out on the finish that could have it positioned for the Europa League.
2. Fraser, Joelinton reclamation projects complete: It’s actually bonkers to consider that Joelinton isn’t just functioning as a center midfielder but looking like he’s played there his entire life. Eddie Howe’s decision to play him there is a stroke of genius and the crazy price tag that made him look like a bust at center forward now looks like an appropriate fee for a havoc-wreaking midfielder who is outright dominating the middle of the park.
Fraser has been much, much better after a near three-season drought following an outburst at Bournemouth that had him targeted by Arsenal and others. Howe rode through some poor performances early in their shared tenure up north but his patience is being rewarded.
3. Depth, all of the sudden? While Brighton is decrying a lack of clinical finishing and depth in attack, Newcastle kept Miguel Almiron and Bruno Guimares out of the Starting XI and was not forced to start recovering Allan Saint-Maximin. That allowed the Frenchman to be a game-shaking substitution that kept Brighton off guard as it fought for an equalizer.
Man of the Match: Fabian Schar – The clever header on what stands as the match-clinching goals was buttressed by an imposing presence at the heart of Newcastle’s back line. If you put Dunk or Fraser here, there would not be too many arguments. We know we just mentioned the goal scorers, but they were the stars of the show.
Rebound finish by Fraser, craned Schar header lift St. James’
Fraser had a goal and an assist in delivering a 2-0 lead to the home faithful.
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Dunk digs in
In another world, Brighton leader Lewis Dunk’s goal drives the Seagulls to a win or draw and he gets all the plaudits. Dunk had 111 touches and four shot attempts — he’s a center back — while completing 86 percent of his passes.