FROM GTECH COMMUNITY STADIUM – Newcastle returned to third place in the Premier League standings after coming from behind to beat Brentford.
Eddie Howe’s men were far inferior to Thomas Frank’s in a testing first-half but displayed great resilience to earn a huge win in the race for a top-four place.
The Bees are now without a win in four games and their hopes of qualifying for Europe are fading quickly.
Brentford went close to taking the lead after just two minutes. Ivan Toney’s neat give-and-go with Pontus Jansson fooled the Newcastle defence, who had to retreat to clear the England striker’s cross-cum-shot off the line.
The hosts didn’t have to wait to find the back of the net. Mathias Jensen’s cross was headed down by Ethan Pinnock and palmed away by Nick Pope, with Toney following in the rebound. However, after a VAR check, he was judged to have been marginally offside and the goal was chalked off.
Bees skipper Jansson was next to test his luck, heading a delectable cross from Rico Henry onto the top of Pope’s net. That was the Swede’s last major action before being forced off with injury.
The pressure eventually told when Brentford were awarded a penalty midway through the first half, Kevin Schade managed to skip away from Fabian Schar and was clattered by Sven Botman in the area.
But for the first time in his Bees career, Toney saw his spot kick saved, with Pope denying him from 12 yards.
Brentford wanted another penalty when Henry fell under a challenge from Alexander Isak following a corner, and after two minutes of checking, VAR instructed Chris Kavanagh to review the incident, with a spot kick being given.
Toney made no mistake this time and picked out the top corner to give the hosts a well-deserved lead.
Howe opted to make two changes at the break in hope of changing Newcastle’s fortunes and looked more threatening from the whistle. Bruno Guimaraes broke free from midfield and set Dan Burn racing into the box, and though he was denied by a great recovery challenge from Aaron Hickey, the offside flag had been raised.
Newcastle found a leveller within ten minutes of the restart. Joelinton drifted past Ben Mee after he committed to a needless sliding challenge, advanced through the box and fired across goal, with the ball deflecting over the line off of David Raya’s leg.
The visitors were buoyed by the equaliser and soon found themselves ahead. Callum Wilson cut the ball back for Isak on the edge of the box and he stroked it into the roof of the net.
Raya had to quickly get down low to deny Isak from a similar distance soon after as Newcastle looked to put the game out of sight.
From the resulting corner, Wilson slid the ball in at the near post, but VAR ruled the strike out for handball when the striker tried to bring it down.
At the other end, Schade was again felled by Botman, but this time the tackle was deemed legal and the Dutchman got away with a clumsy but legitimate passage of play.
Pope produced a great stretching save low to his left to deny Zanka from a Brentford free-kick, while Frank made four late attacking changes to try and turn the tide.
Wilson fired wide on the counter in stoppage time as Newcastle managed to fend off Brentford’s fightback and leave the capital with the points.
GK: David Raya – 5/10 – Made some decent saved but should have done better with the equaliser which changed the game.
CB: Pontus Jansson – N/A – Hauled off after 15 minutes through injury.
CB: Ethan Pinnock – 5/10 – A weapon in attack but put to work by Wilson and Isak.
CB: Ben Mee – 4/10 – Gifted Joelinton the route to goal for Newcastle’s first of the afternoon.
RM: Aaron Hickey – 6/10 – After a testing couple of games, Hickey put in a performance full of aggression and impetus.
CM: Josh Dasilva – 5/10 – Could hardly keep the ball and let his frustrations known.
CM: Christian Norgaard – 6/10 – Enjoyed some high-level duels with Guimaraes when competing for possession.
CM: Mathias Jensen – 5/10 – A quieter day for one of the Bees’ most important and potent creators.
LM: Rico Henry – 6/10 – Clamped down Newcastle’s right wingers but needed more help in silencing Trippier.
CF: Kevin Schade – 7/10 – Made good of a rare start, galloping past Newcastle defenders with his extraordinary pace and trickery.
CF: Ivan Toney – 7/10 – One goal scored, one goal disallowed, one penalty missed. Quieter in the second half but was easily the protagonist of the first.
CB: Zanka (15′ for Jansson) – 5/10 – Looked leggy as the game wore on, particularly when Newcastle started going through the gears.
Bryan Mbeumo (74′ for Hickey) – 5/10
Shandon Baptiste (74′ for Dasilva) – 5/10
Yoane Wissa (81′ for Norgaard) – N/A
Vitaly Janelt (81′ for Mee) – N/A
Thomas Frank – 6/10 – Brentford swarmed Newcastle in the first half but couldn’t find a way to respond to the Magpies’ onslaught after the break.
GK: Nick Pope – 8/10 – Saved a penalty from Toney and kept plenty of other shots out.
RB: Kieran Trippier – 8/10 – Consistently opened up Brentford with his superb range of passing and crossing.
CB: Fabian Schar – 5/10 – On skates a little in the first half but was more assured after the break.
CB: Sven Botman – 4/10 – Threw himself all over the place and it saw his side concede a penalty.
LB: Dan Burn – 6/10 – Didn’t look overly troubled.
CM: Bruno Guimaraes – 8/10 – Sliced through Brentford like a knife in hot butter.
CM: Sean Longstaff – 5/10 – Made some darting runs beyond the last line but was sacrificed for another attacker at the break.
CM: Joe Willock – 6/10 – Looked far more comfortable and was involved more when coming in from the left in a 4-4-2 after the interval.
RW: Jacob Murphy – 5/10 – Didn’t offer a lot of support to Trippier and was hooked at the break.
CF: Alexander Isak – 8/10 – Conceded a penalty, scored a worldie. Proved a net positive to his team in the end.
LW: Joelinton – 7/10 – Like Willock benefitted from a positional change at half-time, igniting Newcastle’s comeback.
Callum Wilson (46′ for Longstaff) – 8/10 – His partnership with Isak proved too troublesome for Brentford.
Anthony Gordon (46′ for Murphy) – 5/10 – Found it difficult to make an impact. Hooked in stoppage time and was unhappy about it.
Jamaal Lascelles (87′ for Isak) – N/A
Elliot Anderson (87′ for Willock) – N/A
Matt Ritchie (90′ for Gordon) – N/A
Eddie Howe – 7/10 – Newcastle needed a huge response after half-time and boy did they provide one.
Player of the match – Kieran Trippier (Newcastle)