Newcastle United 2-1 Bournemouth: Magpies seal second consecutive victory
Photo: Getty Images - Alex Livesey

Newcastle United 2-1 Bournemouth: Magpies seal second consecutive victory

Magpies collect all three points in a frenetic encounter at St. James Park

nestorwatach
Nestor Watach

It was a loud, raucous and occasionally nervy afternoon at St. James' Park as Newcastle defeated Bournemouth 2-1.

A first-half brace from Salomon Rondon was enough for Newcastle, seeing out the result even after Jefferson Lerma scored in first-half injury time from a corner. 

Both sides spurned chances for more goals in a surprisingly open game.

Newcastle finally look an offensive threat

All of Newcastle's points this season have come by virtue of their defensive organisation - the goalless draws against Cardiff, Crystal Palace and Southampton, as well as last week's 1-0 win over Watford - but this was the first time since last season that Newcastle looked an attacking force.

Both of Rondon's first-half goals were the result of great width play, with DeAndre Yedlin, and then Kenedy whipping in well-placed crosses for the Venezuelan to convert. 

Only once this season have Newcastle scored more than one goal - the 3-2 loss to Manchester United - and on that occasion they were largely clinical, taking their lead by exploiting defensive lapses.

But on this occasion they looked incisive and creative, with real intent in the final third; Newcastle's second, with Ki Sung-yeung spreading the ball out to the winger, before accurately being sent whipped into to their physical number nine summed up the clarity of their approach.

Ayoze Perez, Rondon and second-half substitute Christian Atsu all had chances to restore Newcastle's two-goal lead. While they failed to do so, Rafael Benitez can take positives in his side looking a lot more creative than recent weeks.

A rare open encounter at St. James'

In the eight minutes of first-half injury time, there was more goalmouth action at both ends than some of Newcastle's entire matches this season. Kenedy got close to scoring twice, first on the end of a looped through ball on then with a vicious free-kick, before Bournemouth got one back on the stroke of half-time. 

The visitors converted their second set-piece in as many minutes as Lerma's cleverly flicked-on a header from a corner. Martin Dubravka was forced into a point-blank save just before. There was almost more drama before half-time as Perez spurned a chance, sending it just wide of the post as he was put through.

Bournemouth left gaps wide open and looked especially vulnerable in the twenty minutes following Adam Smith's nasty injury. The second half began in similarly end-to-end fashion, but it soon settled down as half-time substitute, former Newcastle man Dan Gosling brought more balance and cover.

Bournemouth celebrated a late equaliser but they were soon cut short as the linesman correctly flagged for offside, the crucial flick-on well-spotted by the officials.

Takeaways

Adam Smith's injury a real point of concern for Bournemouth

The versatile full-back suffered a freak injury and took nearly ten minutes to be stretchered off, after he looked to take a quick free kick. Newcastle found space time and again once he'd vacated the left flank, and Bournemouth were lucky not to concede more. It looked a bad injury to his knee and the Cherries will struggle to replace him adequately.

Rondon ties everything together for Newcastle

It's early days, especially as the striker never hit double figures for league goals in three years at West Brom, but today he looked exactly what Newcastle have needed.

His physical presence in the box brings the best out of wide players like Yedlin and Kenedy. 

Man of the match

Rondon produced two good finishes to put Newcastle ahead. He finally looked like the Premier League striker that Benitez has been crying out for and came so close to making it a perfect day with a hat-trick when sent through on goal in the dying moments, but was denied by Asmir Begovic. His second goal was worthy of the number nine shirt, a leap reminiscent of prime Alan Shearer.

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