Miguel Almiron scored the fastest goal in the Premier League this season so far, and Dwight Gayle scored against his former team to lead Newcastle to a 2-1 victory over struggling West Bromwich at St James’ Park.
The Paraguayan international Almiron opened the scoring after just 19.98 seconds – the second fastest goal for Newcastle in Premier League history – only to strike back the visitors five minutes after the break of the first half with Darnell Furlong’s third goal for the club.
However, Substitute Gayle – who had made his debut this season – won her for Steve Bruce’s side with a superb header eight minutes before the end.
The victory makes Newcastle, hit hard by Covid’s absence in preparation for the match, jump to 11th in the table, while Slavin Bilic’s men remain in deep trouble at 19 after this latest loss.
How Newcastle beat the Covid turmoil to come up the table
Although Covid severely hampered their preparations for this match, Bruce was still able to put up a strong-looking squad at the start against West Brom, with the host losing only three players from the team that started their previous match at Crystal Palace.
Soon all that pre-match talk was forgotten, with Newcastle taking the lead right from the kick-off – a kick-off that wasn’t even them! However, West Bromwich Albion captain Branislav Ivanovic was knocked off the ball by Callum Wilson, who found Julinton and the Brazilian and then sent Almiron into the penalty area.
In his 50th Premier League appearance with the club, Almiron – who had been completely devoid of area – swept the opening match, to score the second-fastest goal for Newcastle in Premier League history.
However, that quick hit seemed to soothe the hosts to a false sense of security, as West Brom got into action as the competition continued, and loaned Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher was supposed to have settled things before the break.
Bilic made a double change in the first half, bringing seasoned duo Charlie Austin and Kieran Gibbs, with immediate effect as the visitors leveled after a fine goal.
Matt Phillips was able to release him from the left flank, before he crossed into the far post for Forlong and fired the ball into the net with a touch his father Paul would be proud of.
Steve Bruce made three changes to the Newcastle starting line-up: Federico Fernandez and Javier Manchello were the only players to start at Crystal Palace two weeks ago to be completely absent, while Jeff Hendrick was seated on the bench. The trio was replaced by Emil Cravth, Isaac Hayden and Matt Ritchie, with the latter knocked off the bench in the win over Palace after recovering from a shoulder injury.
Meanwhile, West Brom has also made three changes, with Dara O’Shea, Philip Krovinovich and Callum Robinson replacing Kyle Bartley, Grady Diangana and Matthews Pereira respectively.
But instead of pursuing their first away win this season, West Brom slipped back then in the final quarter, with Bruce feeling his chance as the hosts went four goals in attack after Gael’s introduction.
With a header already off the line with almost a first touch, the striker fired a cross from fellow Jacob Murphy on the right winger to break the hearts of his former club.
Newcastle will meet Leeds United at Island Road on Wednesday evening (6 pm), while West Brom will face Manchester City at Etihad on Tuesday evening (8 pm).
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