Newcastle recovery in full swing as Jamaal Lascelles' headed winner edges Magpies past Swansea

Swansea 0 Newcastle United 1: The visitors have now won back-to-back matches and move up to 10th in the league

Graham Thomas
Liberty Stadium
Sunday 10 September 2017 17:49
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Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles scored his first Premier League goal to prove his team are on the road to recovery, even if their manager remains a little way behind.

Rafa Benitez was not well enough to make it to South Wales after an infection brought on by a recent hernia operation.

But his mood will have been improved by back-to-back victories for his side who followed their win over West Ham by subduing a Swansea side stirred by the arrival of Renato Sanches and the return of Wilfried Bony.

In a game that looked as though it might remain goalless, Lascelles headed home powerfully from a Matt Ritchie corner in the 75th minute after the central defender was given all the room he required.

Jamaal Lascelles rises highest to score Newcastle's winning goal

It was arguably a deserved result for Newcastle who created more openings in the first-half and weathered the storm when Swansea rallied midway through the second period.

Swansea manager Paul Clement had spoken in excited tones about the potential influence Renato Sanches could have on his team, following the 20-year-old midfielder’s loan move from Bayern Munich.

Clement’s decision to start with the Portuguese European Championship winner, despite just a solitary training session, underlined that confidence and appeared entirely justified with Sanches at the heart of most of Swansea’s early probings.

Newcastle’s frustration to get to grips with the debutant also drew the first yellow card when Isaac Hayden was punished for a late challenge.

Renato Sanches made his eagerly-anticipated debut for Swansea

But the visitors restricted Swansea to possession rather than opportunities and it was Newcastle who had the best opening of the first 30 minutes.

A long ball caught out Federico Fernandez, but a stretching Jacob Murphy could only lob the ball over the bar.

Lifted by the ease in which they had created danger, Newcastle began to dominate and would have taken the lead but for the brilliance of Lukasz Fabianski in the Swansea goal.

A cross by Matt Ritchie in the 33rd minute was deflected with a glancing header from six yards by Joselu, but the Spanish striker was denied by Fabianski’s fingertip save.

A minute later, with Swansea under siege, Mikel Merino was sent toppling in the box after a collision with Alfie Mawson, but referee Mike Jones ignored pleas for a penalty.

Jordan Ayew takes a shot on goal for the Swans

The defensive insecurities prompted Clement to urge his players to squeeze higher up the field and the restriction of space almost created a goal for the home side.

Tammy Abraham battled hard to win a loose ball and the striker opened the door for Jordan Ayew to chance his arm with a shot from 20 yards that Rob Elliot palmed away for a corner.

Newcastle failed to pick up Mawson from the resulting kick, but the England U21 defender misdirected his header wide of the post.

It was Swansea’s first piece of possession in the opposition penalty area, coming in the 39th minute, and reflected Newcastle’s superiority in the creation of first-half chances.

Two players followed Hayden into the referee’s book at the start of the second-half – Swansea’s Kyle Naughton for a routine trip on Jesus Gamez and Ritchie for a high lunge at Fernandez that would have interested Jurgen Klopp after Sadio Mane’s sending off against Manchester City.

It was Swansea, though, who kept up their momentum from the end of the first-half.

Tom Carroll almost connected with a low cross before Leroy Fer split Newcastle’s defence on the hour mark, only for Lascelles to make a determined goal-line clearance after Abraham had coolly rounded Elliot and seemingly slotted the ball home.

With Sanches visibly fading, Clement took off one transfer window recruit and sent on another – Wilfried Bony.

The Ivorian striker came on in the 69th minute for his first appearance since returning to Wales after two underwhelming seasons at Manchester City.

But Bony had barely had a touch by the time Newcastle went ahead through Lascelles’ header.

The Magpies skipper did not even have to work particularly hard for his reward as he rose above Mawson’s ineffectual challenge to nod past Fabianski.

Swansea substitute Luciano Narsingh had a drive from a narrow angle saved by Elliot in stoppage time, but that was as close as the home side came to an equaliser.

Swansea (4-4-2): Fabianski; Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson; Clucas, Carrroll (Narsingh 84), Sanches (Bony 69), Fer; Ayew Abraham.

Newcastle (4-4-1-1): Elliot; Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo, Gamez, Murphy, Hayden (Diame 69), Merino, Ritchie; Perez; Joselu (Gayle 78)

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