No Happy Return For Chris Hughton

Newcastle Ease Past Brighton To Continue Good Run

Newcastle made it 4 wins in a row in all competitions and moved up into the play off places with a fairly routine victory against Brighton at St James' Park in the teatime kick off last night.

I have to say I was expecting a bit of a sterner test from Chris Hughton's men especially with our lack of options up front but rather surprisingly his team seem to come more focused on throwing themselves on the floor and to be honest never really got going.

We started the game pretty well and for once backed that up with an early goal as Lascelles powered home a cracking header from a Ritchie free kick 15 minutes in.

To be honest we could and probably should have gone in at half time 2 or 3 up as the impressive Gouffran rattled the cross bar with a stunning effort and we missed a couple of other really good chances.

The game was then effectively sealed 10 minutes into the 2nd half as Sam Baldock was dismissed for a 2nd yellow card and then 8 minutes later Jonjo Shelvey stroked home a cracking free kick at the Leazes End for his first Newcastle goal.

I know this might sound a bit silly after a good and fairly comfortable win over one of our likely promotion rivals but the only thing that really disappointed me in this one was our attitude after we scored that 2nd goal.

With half an hour still to play against 10 men we for some reason sat back and invited pressure on from the visitors and it took a couple of smart stops from Sels in goal to stop them grabbing a goal back. Had they managed to get a goal back then with their tails up it could have been an uncomfortable end to the game for us.

Yes of course at 2-0 up against 10 men you don't go all guns blazing but I would have liked to have seen us continue on the front foot and take advantage of the numerical difference and maybe get a couple more goals for the goal difference and to also lay down a bit of a marker.

Brighton are a great example of how goal difference can be important - they missed out on automatic promotion by it last season and ended up in the playoff's and losing.

It just seemed totally unnecessary from us really and for me was a very dangerous game to play but thankfully we got away with it but next time we may not.

In terms of our play I thought the back 4 all had a decent game and I think the area that won it for us was the midfeild with Hayden, Shelvey and Diame all excellent with Gouffran also putting in a really good shift.

I don't know what his transfer situation is but I would be more than happy to see us keep hold of him as a squad player for the remaining year on his contract and then let him leave for free next summer. I think he could do a real job for us at times this long hard season where the fixtures come thick and fast.

Matt Ritchie didn't seem to get himself in the game and Perez predictably struggled up top on his own a bit but luckily we still managed to come away with the points which is a good sign with the likes of Gayle and Mitrovic to come back as well as a likely further couple of signings over the next few days.

Always nice to go into an international break with a win and the players can now have a bit of a deserved breather before another tough game in 2 weeks time as we visit Derby.

Good to see Chris Hughton back in Toon and the fans gave him a nice song when the game looked to be secured which was a nice touch.

Obviously it thankfully wasn't a particularly happy return for him but I don't think he can have too many complaints and I think his team will be there and there abouts come the shakeup at the end of the season.

Supposed Newcastle target Anthony Knockaert played for the visitors and looked lively and tricky at times but was largly disappointing on the whole, seeminly more interested in getting free kicks and arguing with people more than anything else. Whether we are still interested in the next few days we shall see.

Good to see Jesus Gamez and Yedalin get on the pitch late on as subs as the competition for places in the squad hots up.

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