Newcastle United win at last

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Sun, 05/12/2021
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Newcastle United’s new owners long wait for their first win is finally over.

They beat Burnley by a single goal at St James Park to temporarily move off the bottom of the table, with Norwich temporarily taking their place, ahead of their match away at Tottenham. Now they are level on points with Burnley, giving them hope that they may yet pull off a miracle and escape the drop.

But with away fixtures against Leicester and Liverpool to come, followed by a home match against league leaders Manchester City, from which their expected haul of points will be zero, this was a vital win for the Magpies.

They went into the game as the only side in the top four tiers of English football without a win this season. Their lack of confidence was apparent in the early stages with Burnley well on top.

However, they were gifted the lead when Nick Pope in the Burnley goal came to collect a cross, but spilled it under pressure, and the ball fell to Callum Wilson who tucked it home.

The home side were the better team after the break, but endured a nervy moment when Jay Rodriguez appeared to equalise for the visitors, only for it to be ruled out for offside.

And, finally, owners and fans could celebrate as the referee blew his full-time whistle.

The newly enriched club have been linked with all sorts of transfer targets in January, although the prospect of a player like Kylian Mbappé agreeing to move to the North-East of England is fanciful in the extreme.

One problem manager Eddie Howe faces is convincing potential new recruits that they will not have to spend a season in the Championship next year, something that anybody with international aspirations of playing in the Qatar World Cup will not want to do.

He somehow has to cobble enough points together until he can get his cheque book out in order to make his project a realistic proposition.

It will take more than a narrow win over a fellow relegation struggler to make a convincing case.