Newcastle United 3 – 1 Southampton. Callum Wilson took his Premier League tally to 15 goals for the season as Newcastle fought back to beat bottom club Southampton at St James’ Park and strengthen their place in the top four.
Saints, who started the day six points adrift of safety, took a surprise lead in the first half when Stuart Armstrong turned in Kamaldeen Sulemana’s low ball following a swift counter.
Newcastle sent on Wilson, who scored twice in the 4-1 win at Everton last Thursday, at half-time and he made an almost immediate impact when he poked in from close range following a free-kick nine minutes after the break.
Wilson then saw a header tipped over before a second was ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee for offside.
But Newcastle completed the turnaround when Theo Walcott deflected a corner into his own net and Wilson finally got his second when he showed great composure to round the goalkeeper and slot in.
Wilson came close to his third in the final few seconds when he hit the bar, but the victory means Newcastle are third, 11 points clear of Tottenham with five games remaining.
Southampton, meanwhile, remain six points adrift at the bottom of the table and staring relegation to the Championship in the face.
The arrival of £60m forward Alexander Isak back in August left Wilson’s long-term future at Newcastle in some doubt, as Eddie Howe’s side spent big to give them the quality to compete at the top end of the table.
But Wilson has risen to the challenge of his place being under threat and while a start is never guaranteed for him this season, he has done the business whether in the first XI or initially on the bench.
He scored twice in the thrashing of Everton at Goodison Park but was among the substitutes in this game with Isak preferred in attack.
After a fairly below-par display by Newcastle in the first half, Howe turned to Wilson and his arrival on the pitch completely changed the home side’s attack.
For the second game in a row he could easily have finished with a hat-trick but his two goals continued his incredible run of form in front of goal – he has now scored eight goals in his last seven games.
It now appears to be a matter of when, not if, Southampton will be relegated as a 22nd defeat of the season leaves them needing two wins just to draw level with Nottingham Forest, who occupy the final place above the relegation zone.
In a season that has had little cheer, there has been some encouragement from the Saints’ recent performances that could give the fans hope for the future, which now looks most likely to be as a Championship club.
Three games ago, they were denied a famous victory at then league leaders Arsenal by a late Bukayo Saka goal and although they suffered a disappointing 1-0 home loss to Bournemouth last week, they showed fight in this game, at least until the threat of the in-form Wilson overwhelmed them.
source – BBC