Newcastle United 1-0 Watford: Magpies gain first three points of the season
Photo: Getty Images - Ian MacNicol

Newcastle United 1-0 Watford: Magpies gain first three points of the season

A goal in the 65th minute from Ayoze Perez was enough to ensure that Newcastle won their first game this season.

James Baldwin

Without a win this season, Newcastle were able to pick up their first three points as they managed to defeat a wasteful Watford side, and move out of the relegation zone in the Premier League.

A goal from the substitute Ayoze Perez from Ki Sung-Yueng's cross in the 65th minute was enough to ensure the victory went to the home side.

As it happened

Watford travelled to Newcastle looking for a third successive win -following victories against Wolves and Huddersfield - and they started off the brighter of the two sides; Adrian Mariappa with the chance early on, scuffing his shot and sending it wide from very close-range.

Ten minutes later, the Hornets nearly took the lead again; this time Gerard Deulofeu hitting wide from 12 yards out. In the 27th minute, Deulofeu had another chance - this time with just Martin Dubravka to beat, and hit wide once more following a counter-attack. It was these chances that would come back to haunt the Hornets.

Watford had some minor chances afterwards but it wasn't until just after the second-half when they had a major one. This time, the in-form Roberto Pereyra could only smash his shot onto the crossbar from 12-yards.

As Watford had been creating chances, Newcastle had already made three substitutions. Two of those helped break the deadlock after 65 minutes, when Ki's cross from a free-kick saw Perez convert the header. All Watford's chances undone by a Newcastle goal. Four minutes later, the Magpies almost had two, when Soloman Rondon could only head his chance off target. 

A scrappy end was to follow, with chances and counter-attacks down both ends. Stefano Okaka should have levelled Watford in the 92nd after he placed Abdoulaye Doucoure's pass over the bar from six yards. In the end, though, it was Newcastle who prevailed for their first win of the season.

Takeaways from the match

Watford must be more clinical
Finishing has been an issue that the away side have struggled with for a very long time (although in recent weeks it seemed to have been improving, with two goals at Wolves and three against Huddersfield) and today was no different. The Hornets could easily have been 3-0 up at half-time, and could have had a fourth if Pereyra had hit his shot slightly below the crossbar. They scored three in Newcastle last year, inflicting their largest home defeat of that season, and there was no reason other than finishing why they couldn't do the same again today. The side had 16 shots today, with only one on target - simply not good enough.

Newcastle were brave
The Magpies have, in some games, been unlucky to lose - losing 2-1 against Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal is as close as you'll come - but a win was on its way for the Toon. Some last ditch defending from the Brazilian Kenedy denied Andre Gray from scoring at St. James Park once again, whilst DeAndre Yedlin further prevented many Watford counter-attacks with his pace. It was a brave performance from Newcastle, something the club hasn't seen enough of recently. 

Onto next week

Newcastle will be hoping that they can gain another three points, with the confidence they have in them following today's result, when they host high-flying Bournemouth at St. James Park. If their players continue the spirit in front of the fans, then they can really go for it.

However, Bournemouth haven't had many finishing problems of late - scoring four at Vicarage Road in early October and then three at Craven Cottage last week. They may have been defeated 2-1 at the hands of Manchester United earlier on Saturday, but they will certainly look for three points in Newcastle. The fact that Bournemouth have been scoring means that Newcastle will be hoping for more major chances in front of goal this time around.

Meanwhile, Watford will continue their road trip as they travel down to the other side of the country - where they will try and get back in-form against Southampton.

Javi Gracia will need to reconsider Deulofeu's role as a striker, and should place him at right wing; whilst Will Hughes should be moved to the middle as an attacking midfielder.

Nathaniel Chalobah is expecting his first start this season as Etienne Capoue picked up a fifth yellow card of the campaign, whilst other players could also get a mention. Gracia will supposedly be working on his side's finishing for the test down south - if that can be improved, the Hornets might not have as many troubles trying to get the three points.