Newcastle continued their revival with a comfortable 2-0 win over a West Brom side which were completely overran by Alan Pardew's new revitalised men.
Two assists from right back Daryl Janmaat, providing goals for Ayozé Perez and Fabricio Coloccini were enough to see off a Baggies side which seems to have stalled after going four games unbeaten.
After an awful start to the season, the Magpies have now won their last five matches to completely transform the fortune of their season.
Going into the game, it was Saido Berahino who was grabbing the headlines. The top English goal scorer in the Premier League saw his impressive start to this season rewarded with his first call up for the England senior team. However today he failed to impress under the spotlight. It reflected in his team's performance as none of his team mates could carry their recent run of form into the game. Berahino was left isolated and chances were few and far between.
The real star of the encounter was Ayoze Perez. The Spaniard, purched for £1.5 million in the summer from tenerife was the scorer of a subline first goal and displayed incredible work ethic throughout.
The match was played at an incredibly high intensity. Free flowing football and minimum fouls meant that it was an entertaining spectacle to watch from the neutral perspective. Both fans were respective of one another, Newcastle fans carrying out the minutes applause for the ‘justice for Jeff’ campaign and the West Brom home fans participating in the minutes applause in memory of Liam Sweeney and John Alder, the two victims of the Malaysian airline tragedy in the summer. During the ninth minute round of applause for Jeff Astle, the away side nearly took the lead. The ball bounced up to Sammy Ameobi on the right hand side of the penalty area and his looping left footed shot bounced off the top of the crossbar.
The Baggies responded with their best and potentially only clear cut chance of the match with 16 minutes gone. The ball was played into Victor Anichebe, who used his body well to hold off his marker and lay the ball off to Berahino on the right hand side of the penalty area. Unfortunately his shot was taken off balance and was easily saved by Tim Krul.
In the old football cliché, the team from the North East scored on the perfect time with 45 minutes on the clock. A first time cross was fizzed along the floor towards six yard box from the right hand side of the penalty area by Janmaat, where Perez flashed across the front post and ingeniously flicked the ball with his back foot into the far post to net his third goal in as many matches.
The clubs were essentially cancelling each other out in the first half. The middle of the pitch was bombarded as both opted to play five men in the middle of the pitch meant that an opening was hard to find.
Perez’s goal opened up the game but in the favour of Newcastle. They continued with their relentless pressure meaning it was hard for West Brom to find an opening.
With 62 minutes gone the team from Tyneside doubled their lead. Janmaat again the provider from the right. This time he easily skipped past Youssuff Mulumbu on the touch line and whipping a cross in to a completely unmarked Coloccini who had the simple task of nodding home from close range to deplete West Brom.
The second goal knocked the stuffing out of the home team. Despite threatening to score they could never get through the wall of blue and green shirts. The victory was nearly made all so sweeter when Perez had the chance to double his tally for the game but his volley from a cross by Ryan Taylor was saved by ‘keeper Ben Foster.
West Brom manager Alan Irvine said his Baggies side “lacked intensity” but admitted “the goal right on half time was a boost for them (Newcastle)”. The Scot also described his star striker’s performance as “his poorest game but everyone has bad games”.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, despite fearing his job was lost a few weeks ago, was buoyed by the victory today describing it as a “disciplined and strong performance”.