Newcastle stretched their unbeaten run to eight games in the Premier League as they survived a late Brighton onslaught to earn a crucial 2-1 win at St James’ Park.
Newcastle United continued their remarkable Premier League revival with a win over Brighton – their fifth victory in their last six games. Ryan Fraser and Fabian Schar scored in quick succession early in the game to put Eddie Howe’s side in the driving seat. But they had to fend off a determined Brighton fightback, winning 2-1 after Seagulls skipper Lewis Dunk pulled one back.
Newcastle came out of the dressing room firing on all cylinders, buoyed by a raucous crowd that backed the home team throughout the game. Joe Willock burst down the right flank, before launching a cross for Ryan Fraser to volley straight into Brighton keeper Robert Sanchez’s hands.
Soon after, Newcastle took an early lead when Chris Wood put Jacob Murphy through on goal to spark a fast-paced counter-attack, and the winger saw his dink beat Sanchez but rebound off the post, falling kindly for Fraser to send it into the bottom corner.
Brighton had no respite, as moments later, Fraser crossed into a dangerous area from a free-kick that was met by Fabian Schar. The Swiss defender climbed highest to direct his header past the Brighton keeper to double Newcastle’s advantage. Dunk headed home a corner to pull Brighton back into the game, but the hosts held on against the Seagulls’ late rally to grab the win.
The visitors were the better side for much of the game and enjoyed the greater possession. But it was Howe’s side that was more clinical from set-pieces and counter-attacks, coming away with all three points to steer further clear of the relegation zone. The Magpies have created a seven-point buffer between them and 18th-placed Burnley.
Martin Dubravka: 6.5/10
Dubravka looked unsteady from Brighton’s set pieces, and it showed when he opted to stay on his line for Lewis Dunk’s header. That said, he was a wall in front of the Newcastle goal and made a couple of vital late stops to deny goal-bound attempts from Dunk and Leandro Trossard. He was also quick off his line to smother Danny Welbeck’s effort. The Slovakian has only let in four goals this calendar year.
Emil Krafth: 6/10
Krafth put forth an athletic performance down the right side. He seemed hesitant to join Newcastle’s attacks, preferring to stay in his place due to Brighton overloading his side, while Marc Cucurella had him on his toes. The Sweden international did not always look comfortable, but played his part late on as Newcastle held on for a victory.
Fabian Schar: 9/10
Fabian Schar has been phenomenal since Eddie Howe came in. Always thought he was Newcastle’s most talented centre-back.
Happy to see his resurgence under a new manager. 💪🏼 #NUFC
— Charlie Bennett (@CharIieBennett) March 5, 2022
Schar converted sharply from Fraser’s free-kick with a well-taken header to double Newcastle’s advantage, which eventually proved to be the match-winner. He also put in a solid defensive shift to keep Brighton’s forwards at bay and contributed with two tackles, three interceptions and six clearances. However, at times, he looked unsure while defending set-pieces in his own area.
Dan Burn: 7/10
Up against his former club, Dan Burn was rock-solid at the heart of Newcastle’s backline and ended up making two crucial last-ditch clearances. Despite his 6ft 7in frame, he never hesitated to put his body on the line for his boyhood club and was a vocal presence on the pitch.
Matt Targett: 6/10
It was another decent showing from the on-loan Aston Villa left-back. His addition has made a significant difference to the Newcastle backline, as he has tucked in to help out his centre-backs when required. He was always in for a tough battle against an electric Tariq Lamptey, but Targett kept him quiet to some extent before being hooked off at the hour mark.
Joe Willock: 6.5/10
After an enterprising and high energy start, Willock faded as the game went on. He cleverly galloped into open spaces on the flanks to create overloads, but that was only in the opening exchanges when his cross for Fraser forced Sanchez into action. Overall, like Jonjo Shelvey, he had a rather quiet afternoon. Willock covered a lot of ground, but did not get into the opposition box as much as in recent games.
Jonjo Shelvey: 6/10
Shelvey sat behind other Newcastle midfielders and offered a defensive shield in front of the back-four. He struggled to dictate the game’s flow with his passing, which left the midfield battle hanging in the balance against Brighton’s fluid attacking unit.
— NUFCborn (@NUFCborn) March 5, 2022
Another selfless, industrious and powerful midfield performance from Joelinton, who has absolutely transformed himself into a midfield destroyer since switching positions. Probably the best of Newcastle’s midfield trio on the day, the Brazilian covered a lot of ground and tracked back to shield his teammates tirelessly. At the same time, he drove forward with the ball when necessary to push the team.
Jacob Murphy: 7/10
Murphy was impressive for Newcastle in the first half as he got the better of Cucurella to stretch the Brighton backline. It was his dink that bounced back off the post and into the path of Fraser for the opener. But after the interval, the winger was careless in possession before being replaced by Allan Saint-Maximin.
Chris Wood: 7/10
One of Wood’s better displays in black and white, albeit his first goal still eluded him at the seventh time of asking. His overall play was simply outstanding as he played a major role in Newcastle’s breakaway opener and was impeccable aerially and at holding up the ball. He was a constant nuisance and ensured Brighton’s centre-halves were not able to breathe for a moment.
Ryan Fraser: 8/10
📊 Ryan Fraser's game by numbers vs Brighton:
– 5 crosses
– 3 fouls against
– 2 shots (on target)
– 1 key pass
– 𝟭 𝗴𝗼𝗮𝗹
– 𝟭 𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗶𝘀𝘁
— The Chronicle (@ChronicleNUFC) March 5, 2022
Fraser’s improved performances from the left flank have given Howe food for thought as the Scotsman looks to force Saint-Maximin to the opposite wing. He has only played there twice this season, but he has made significant contributions each time and showed great end-product with one goal and two assists.
The Scottish international put in another match-winning display on Saturday. He not only scored his second goal of the season and assisted Schar’s goal, but was tirelessly pressing from the front and running his socks off for the benefit of his team.
Allan Saint-Maximin: 5/10
Burst forward in typical surges, but upon reaching Brighton’s box, he either played the wrong pass or got crowded out. However, he relieved the pressure on Newcastle’s backline with his long runs.
Bruno Guimaraes: N/A
The Brazilian did not feature much, but showed some flashes of quality control and precise passing while releasing the pressure on his defence with his composure in midfield.
Sean Longstaff: N/A
Did not play enough to warrant a rating.