Newcastle United completed a league double over West Ham United on Saturday afternoon, but more importantly moved nine points clear of 18th placed Fulham in the Premier League relegation zone.
This was the Magpies' second win in a row, adding to their 2-1 triumph at Burnley the previous weekend.
The Hammers spent the majority of the game with ten men after Craig Dawson, who was already walking a tightrope, was given his second yellow card by referee Kevin Friend for a foul on Joelinton in the build-up to Newcastle's opener, credited as an Issa Diop own goal.
Brazilian forward, Joelinton, then capitalised on a howler from West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski who spilt what should have been a routine catch, leaving Newcastle's record signing with an open net to fire into.
The visitors to St James' Park did fight back to their credit, and despite being a man short, got the game back to 2-2 thanks to a Diop goal at the right end of the pitch, and a Jesse Lingard penalty.
However, Arsenal loanee, Joe Willock came to the rescue off the bench to score a crucial winner at the Gallowgate End lifting Steve Bruce's side to within touching distance of Premier League safety.
Making a mountain out of a molehill
It wouldn't be Newcastle United without them making a game much more difficult for themselves than it should be.
Prior to their opening goal of the game, Miguel Almiron and Jacob Murphy had good chances to put the home side ahead, so as much as Bruce’s men were gifted the opener, it was nothing less than they deserved.
The second goal was also a gift, but West Ham really struggled to find any sort of momentum in the first half so it could be argued that 2-0 was the correct score at the break.
Into the second half, and for whatever reason the confident and positive Newcastle from the first half went into a shell.
Down to ten, David Moyes’ outfit had no right to start dictating the pattern of play and once Diop’s header for 2-1 went in, it was well and truly game on again.
It took Lingard’s spot-kick to re-ignite Newcastle once more. All they had to be asked is why it took an equaliser to kick the Magpies into gear once more.
Joe Willock - the match winner
This was the second game in a row at St James’ Park that Willock has come off the bench to score a crucial goal, adding to his late equaliser in the previous match against Tottenham Hotspur.
The midfielder may well be thinking what he has to do to get a start, but no doubt Toon fans won’t mind one bit if he keeps delivering as a substitute until the end of the season.
This was Willock’s third strike since his January arrival on loan, and he is certainly proving to be a good find and he has mostly had a positive impact when he has featured.
Is safety secured?
Stranger things have happened in football in the past, but with the end of the season now in sight, Newcastle supporters have every right to believe their side are safe for another year in the Premier League.
It has to be said that Newcastle’s upcoming fixtures are not exactly favourable with Champions League chasing Liverpool and Leicester City to come, as well as runaway league leaders Manchester City.
But Fulham also have tricky games to come, so most will hope that the final day of the season clash between the two at Craven Cottage won’t be the relegation shoot-out feared a couple of weeks ago.
Rivals Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion have also been dragged back into the relegation mix so Newcastle won’t be the only side having to keep an eye on the Cottagers just in case they do pick up a surprise result or two in the coming games.