Premier League
NewcastleNewcastle United1WatfordWatford0

Newcastle 1-0 Watford: Perez earns Magpies first win of season

By Matthew HowarthBBC Sport
Ayoze Perez's celebrates second-half goal
Ayoze Perez's second-half header earned Newcastle their first win of the campaign

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez said his players "showed what they can do" as the Magpies claimed their first win of the season against Watford at St James' Park.

Ayoze Perez headed Ki Sung-yueng's in-swinging free-kick past Ben Foster in the second half to end the hosts' winless run and lift them out of the relegation zone.

The Magpies rode their luck in the first half, with Watford duo Adrian Mariappa and Gerard Deulofeu both guilty of spurning excellent opportunities to put the Hornets ahead.

But Newcastle - who lost Yoshinori Muto, Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey to injury before the hour mark - improved after the break to earn their first home points of the season.

"I think [the win] was important for everyone," said Benitez.

"To win against a good team with a lot of confidence, to win in the way that we did with everyone behind the team - and with three players coming from the bench and making a great contribution - was very positive."

Benitez's team came under intense pressure in the first half as Mariappa scuffed a shot wide moments after seeing a close-range header hacked off the line, before Deulofeu dragged a tame effort off target following a delightful through-ball from Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Roberto Pereyra rattled the crossbar in the opening minutes of the second half, but Newcastle held on to climb into 17th above Cardiff and Fulham.

"It's important for everyone to see that the team is capable to perform and compete," added Benitez.

"If you are in a better position in the table, the players will have more confidence."

Magpies ride their luck

Newcastle failed to register a single shot on target against Southampton last weekend, and the Magpies struggled to create clear-cut opportunities once again on home turf, testing Foster on just two occasions.

The Watford custodian's only save in the first 45 minutes came from Mohamed Diame's long-range drive, while Salomon Rondon - making his first Premier League start since 22 September - cut an isolated figure in attack.

Kenedy broke clear of the Hornets' defence midway through the first half, but the Chelsea loanee's powerful shot was blocked by Mariappa.

The hosts improved after the break, with Perez scoring Newcastle's first home goal since a 2-1 defeat to Arsenal on 15 September.

Benitez will hope the win proves a turning point for the Magpies, who host Bournemouth next Saturday.

Wasteful Watford

Watford inflicted the Magpies' heaviest defeat at St James' Park last season, and manager Javi Gracia will feel his team should have registered another three points after a dominant performance in the North East.

The Hornets laid siege to the home goal in the first half but only managed one shot on target over the course of 90 minutes.

Deulofeu - who scored his first goal since February in the 3-0 victory over struggling Huddersfield last weekend - missed a hat-trick of chances before the break.

The former Barcelona and Everton attacker scuffed a shot wide from close range before firing harmlessly off target from Doucoure's pass.

He then drilled a low effort into the side-netting as Newcastle somehow managed to go in to half-time with their clean sheet still intact.

Pereyra was unlucky not to break the deadlock shortly after the interval with a fierce shot that rebounded off the crossbar, but it wasn't to be for Gracia's men who slipped to their fourth league defeat of the season.

Man of the match - Ayoze Perez (Newcastle)

Ayoze Perez
After entering the fray for the injured Yoshinori Muto, Ayoze Perez struck his first goal in 11 Premier League games for Newcastle to earn the Magpies a priceless victory

Perez breaks his duck - the stats

  • Newcastle earned their first victory in all competitions against Watford since a Championship game in February 2010, ending a run of five consecutive defeats against the Hornets.
  • A league-high share, 57% of Newcastle's Premier League goals this season have been headers (4/7).
  • Watford mustered 16 shots in this match, but just one of these was on target - 13 of their attempts came in the opening 45 minutes.
  • Three of Newcastle's seven Premier League goals this season have been scored from substitutes (43%).
  • Ayoze Perez scored his first goal in 11 Premier League games for Newcastle, since netting twice against Chelsea on the final day of the 2017-18 season.
  • This was Rafael Benitez's 50th win as Newcastle manager in all competitions, in his 116th game in charge of the Magpies.

What the managers said...

We showed everyone today what we can do - Rafa Benitez

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez: "In my opinion we deserved to win before today, but to do it today with the team working so hard and with the fans behind us was good.

"We had three injury problems and three substitutions but the reaction was good. It is a great three points.

"All three players really contributed, we needed energy and commitment from everyone and the three players quickly focused and did what they had to do."

Gracia 'disappointed' with Watford result, but not his players

Watford manager Javi Gracia, speaking to BBC Sport: "I think in the first half we played much better, we had more chances - clear chances - and a lot of them.

"If you don't score, then from a free-kick Newcastle can score. We need to improve for the next game. I can be disappointed with the result but not with my players.

"I like to be demanding and want us to finish better, but we have played well and need to keep this level. Today was a missed opportunity but that is football."

What's next?

Newcastle welcome Bournemouth to St James' Park in the Premier League next Saturday (15:00 GMT kick-off), with Watford away at Southampton at the same time.

Line-ups

Newcastle

  • 12Dubravka
  • 22Yedlin
  • 6LascellesSubstituted forSchärat 45'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 18Fernandez
  • 3Dummett
  • 11Ritchie
  • 8ShelveySubstituted forKi Sung-yuengat 51'minutes
  • 10Diamé
  • 15Kenedy
  • 13MutoSubstituted forPérezat 45+2'minutes
  • 9Rondón

Substitutes

  • 4Ki Sung-yueng
  • 5Schär
  • 17Pérez
  • 19Manquillo
  • 21Joselu
  • 26Darlow
  • 30Atsu

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 21Femenía
  • 6Mariappa
  • 15Cathcart
  • 25HolebasBooked at 90mins
  • 16Doucouré
  • 29CapoueBooked at 38mins
  • 19HughesBooked at 64minsSubstituted forOkakaat 77'minutesBooked at 84mins
  • 37Pereyra
  • 7DeulofeuSubstituted forGrayat 66'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 10SuccessSubstituted forChalobahat 85'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 11Masina
  • 12Sema
  • 14Chalobah
  • 18Gray
  • 27Kabasele
  • 33Okaka
Referee:
Craig Pawson
Attendance:
49,157

Match Stats

Home TeamNewcastleAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home42%
Away58%
Shots
Home10
Away16
Shots on Target
Home2
Away1
Corners
Home8
Away9
Fouls
Home12
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Newcastle United 1, Watford 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Newcastle United 1, Watford 0.

  3. Post update

    Kiko Femenía (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Kenedy (Newcastle United).

  5. Post update

    Etienne Capoue (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Salomón Rondón (Newcastle United).

  7. Booking

    Andre Gray (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Andre Gray (Watford).

  9. Post update

    Fabian Schär (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Stefano Okaka (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Abdoulaye Doucouré.

  11. Booking

    Fabian Schär (Newcastle United) is shown the yellow card.

  12. Booking

    José Holebas (Watford) is shown the yellow card.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by DeAndre Yedlin.

  14. Post update

    Etienne Capoue (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Salomón Rondón (Newcastle United).

  16. Post update

    Foul by Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford).

  17. Post update

    Mohamed Diamé (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Craig Cathcart (Watford).

  19. Post update

    Ayoze Pérez (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Nathaniel Chalobah replaces Isaac Success.

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