Newcastle – Callum Wilson successfully scored from the penalty spot as Newcastle United defeated Brentford in a somewhat chaotic match held at St. James’ Park, alleviating the pressure on their manager, Eddie Howe.
This victory marked the end of a three-match losing streak that had put Eddie Howe in the spotlight.
Wilson’s goal came after Brentford’s goalkeeper, Mark Flekken, fouled Newcastle winger Anthony Gordon.
Despite Brentford’s best opportunity early in the game, courtesy of Aaron Hickey, Nick Pope stood tall to deny them.
Howe claimed that he “didn’t see” the incident that led referee Craig Pawson to award a penalty to Newcastle. However, Brentford’s manager, Thomas Frank, strongly questioned the decision.
Frank stated, “We had a goalkeeper clearly stopping, and a player cleverly leaving his leg hanging there. I am convinced that VAR would not have overturned the decision, so I think that’s an issue. But because it’s not clear and obvious, it’s too tight. Going forward, situations like this should not be considered penalties.”
Howe Heads to San Siro in Better Spirits
Eddie Howe’s demeanor on the sideline during this match didn’t suggest that he was feeling the pressure, even though his feelings might have been similar.
The victory over a Brentford team that was unbeaten in seven league games before this encounter helped Newcastle rise to 11th place, marking their second win of the season.
In line with his typical character, there was no excessive display of emotion from Howe when the final whistle blew. His thoughts were likely already on Tuesday’s Champions League opener at San Siro against AC Milan, especially after Milan suffered a 5-1 defeat in the Milan derby on Saturday.
In an effort to kickstart their season, Howe made five changes to his starting lineup, but Brentford performed better in the early stages.
Hickey came close to scoring, while Yoane Wissa failed to make the decisive touch to Mathias Jensen’s cross. What Brentford lacked was sharpness in attack, and the absence of Ivan Toney, suspended until January for betting offenses, was keenly felt once again.
Newcastle finished the first half stronger, with Bruno Guimaraes seeing his diving header at the back post saved by Flekken’s feet.
Predatory Wilson Demonstrates His Qualities
In the second half, the home side revived some of the intensity that had propelled them into the top four last season, and once again, it was Callum Wilson who made the difference.
The 31-year-old recently signed a new contract that could extend his stay at Tyneside until the summer of 2025.
His predatory instincts in front of goal were highlighted again as he helped Howe’s side secure a victory in a match that had few clear-cut chances.
Alexander Isak had been given the task of leading Newcastle’s attack in their first four matches, but after a poor run of results, Howe turned to the experienced goal scorer, Wilson.
The English striker was unfortunate to be deemed to have fouled Flekken when he turned the ball home from close range shortly after the break.
However, when Flekken brought down Gordon, the Newcastle number nine stepped up and emphatically buried the penalty.
“He is a leader in the group, a vocal presence, a positive guy, and a goal scorer,” Howe said.
“Combine those qualities, and he’s very important, so I’m very pleased he’s staying with us.”
Wilson has scored his last 11 penalties, a run that dates back to May 2021, and now has 14 goals in his last 17 appearances, despite starting only seven of them.
He seems to be a certain starter in the lineup at San Siro next week.
Howe added, “It was a somewhat chaotic game for us. We had to get set-pieces right, crosses right, and defensively, I was very pleased.”