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Full time: Newcastle 3-0 Sheffield United.
Peep peep! Newcastle move up to 12th with a fine victory. The first half was tight, but Newcastle took control once Sheffield United had John Egan sent off. Allan Saint-Maximin and Matt Ritchie put them 2-0 up before Joelinton produced the feelgood moment of the day by scoring his first league goal at St James’ Park.
90 min Three minutes of added time.
86 min Basham’s low cross from the right just evades the stretching Zivkovic at the far post.
85 min Kieron Freeman replaces Oli McBurnie for Sheffield United. And Newcastle make two more changes: Valentino Lazaro and Fabian Schar replace Shelvey and Almiron.
83 min Both these teams play again on Wednesday night. Newcastle are at home to Aston Villa; Sheffield United go to Old Trafford.
79 min A double change for Newcastle: Andy Carroll and Nabil Bentaleb replace a delighted Joelinton and the brilliant Allan Saint-Maximin.
GOAL! Newcastle 3-0 Sheffield United (Joelinton 78)
Well in, lad! Joelinton punches the ground with joy after finally scoring his first Premier League goal at St James’ Park. He started the move with a good ball out to Almiron on the left, who waited for Joelinton to get into the area and then picked him out with a perfect low cross. Joelinton charged onto the ball and stabbed it past Henderson from eight yards.
77 min Ritchie shoots straight at Henderson from long range.
76 min A win would move Newcastle up to 12th in the table – and, more importantly, 11 points above the relegation places.
74 min A double change for Sheffield United: Luke Freeman and Richairo Zivkovic replaces Billy Sharp and John Fleck.
73 min Stevens misses an excellent chance to get one back. The chance was made by Sharp, who got to the byline and cut the ball back through the legs of Lascelles. Stevens charged onto the ball, on the edge of the area, and smashed a rising drive just past the post.
71 min “Hi Rob, says Tom Atkins. “Most of the MBM audience probably aren’t as childish and easily amused as I am but the amount of off-message, clearly audible swearing I’m hearing in this game is making me chuckle. Someone at Sky in charge of these things must be having kittens.”
70 min Lascelles is booked for a foul on Sharp.
GOAL! Newcastle 2-0 Sheffield United (Ritchie 69)
Matt Ritchie seals a fine victory for Newcastle. Hayden found him 35 yards from goal with a good crossfield pass. Ritchie ran at the backpedalling Baldock, used the overlapping Rose by not using him and then thrashed a left-footed drive from the edge of the area that flew past Henderson.
67 min Time for a drinks break.
64 min Sheffield United are having a lot of the ball, despite being down to 10 men. I suppose Newcastle are never shy about protecting a lead.
61 min Saint-Maximin skins Robinson down the right, charges into the area and cuts the ball back to Almiron, 10 yards from goal. He sidefoots a first-time shot straight at Henderson. That was a great chance to make it 2-0.
59 min: Sharp misses a great chance! Sheffield United should be level. Sharp started the move, hammering an excellent crossfield pass out to Baldock on the right. He clipped an inviting cross back towards the far post, where Sharp charged onto the ball but steered a downward header just wide from six yards.
58 min “De Gea would have saved that with his feet,” says Vibanshu Bisht. And I suppose Henderson would have saved Bergwijn’s goal on Friday with his hands, so it’s 1-1.
GOAL! Newcastle 1-0 Sheffield United (Saint-Maximin 55)
Newcastle are a man up and now a goal up. It was a dismal howler from Enda Stevens, who somehow nutmegged himself as he tried to clear Ritchie’s low cross from the left. The ball ran across the area to Saint-Maximin, who rammed it through Henderson at the near post.
53 min Joelinton heads straight at Henderson from Hayden’s cross. It was a decent effort from near the penalty spot, but he didn’t get enough of a flick on the ball to send it towards the far corner.
John Egan is sent off!
50 min Sheffield United are down to 10 men. Egan, the last man, got ain a tangle and pulled Joelinton back 35 yards from goal. You can make your own joke about a clear goalscoring opportunity, such is Joelinton’s form in front of goal, but I can understand why the referee gave him a straight red. Ah, saying which, it seems Egan was given a second yellow rather, which is definitely a fair decision.
47 min Newcastle’s last three home games before lockdown finished 0-0.
Half time: Newcastle 0-0 Sheffield United
Peep peep! Lots of endeavour, not much attacking quality. Joelinton had the best chance, by far, but sadly made a show of himself. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.
43 min After a promising start, the first half is petering out. Given the defensive record of both sides, the scoreline isn’t really a shock.
40 min Fleck’s deep corner is headed back across goal by Egan, lurking beyond the far post. The ball falls kindly for a Newcastle defender to boot clear.
35 min It’s been a decent game, but both sides have lacked a bit of composure in the final third.
33 min Saint-Maximin concedes a silly foul just outside the area on the right. Norwood curls it in and Lascelles heads clear.
30 min Joelinton has an impromptu row with Egan. It was all a bit pointless, and both players are booked.
29 min Almiron heads the ball past the last man Egan, who struggles desperately to stay with him. Eventually Almiron goes over in the area and the referee waves play on. There was a slight pull of the shirt from Egan, no more than that.
27 min Matt Ritchie has looked really bright in the first half hour. Newcastle missed him so much between August and January.
22 min “Dear Rob,” says Oliver Lewis. “Not having watched all that much Sheffield United this season, has it been commented on how pleasant on the ear the combination of Basham, Baldock, and Berge are when the commentators say their names as they pass to each other, like some slightly dodgy law firm.”
It has now!
20 min Shelvey’s long-range shot is charged down by Egan. Newcastle have been excellent in the last 10 minutes.
17 min Joelinton misses an excellent chance. He ran through on goal after a fine pass from Almiron, but the closer he got to Henderson, the less assured he looked. Eventually he tried to open his body and steer the ball across Henderson, but made a hash of it. The ball dribbled into Henderson’s hands and Joelinton fell on his face.
13 min Ritchie’s fierce 30-yard shot is pushed away by the flying Henderson. It was a good save, though one he’d expect to make.
12 min McBurnie’s header, from Baldock’s cross, bounces gently through to Dubravka.
10 min Almiron’s dangerous low cross towards Joelinton is put behind by Basham. Ritchie’s corner leads to a helluva scramble in the six-yard box before Sheffield United clear. Moments later, Saint-Maximin beats Stephens with a lovely stepover but his cutback is missed by Almiron (I think).
9 min Sheffield United are dominating the game, with Newcastle struggling to get out of their half at the moment.
6 min Norwood’s big, inswinging corner from the left just evades the leaping Robinson at the far post. It’s been a decent start from Sheffield United.
5 min Baldock zips between Saint-Maximin and Rose and is fouled. Fleck’s inswinging free-kick is headed away by Shelvey.
4 min Nothing to report yet. The fake crowd are in excellent voice though.
1 min Peep peep! Newcastle, in black and white stripes, kick off from right to left. Sheffield United are in red and white stripes.
The players are out on the field. It’s a cloudy afternoon in St James’ Park, very pleasant conditions for football.
“Hey Rob,” says J.R. “Wouldn’t the Aston Villa v Sheffield United game four days ago qualify in the both-managers-in-charge-of-their-boyhood-club-derby category?”
Yes, yes it would.
“But just imagine when Robbie Keane becomes a manager. Every club he’ll be in charge of will have been his boyhood club. I’m here all week.”
Live football, while u wait
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1) Dubravka; Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Rose; Hayden, Shelvey; Ritchie, Almiron, Saint-Maximin; Joelinton.
Substitutes: Darlow, Schar, Krafth, Yedlin, Lazaro, Bentaleb, Carroll, Gayle, Muto.
Sheffield United (3-5-2) Henderson; Basham, Egan, Robinson; Baldock, Berge, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; McBurnie, Sharp.
Substitutes: Moore, Jagielka, K Freeman, Lundstram, L Freeman, Osborn, Rodwell, Zivkovic, Mousset.
Referee David Coote.
Hello. During lockdown, Newcastle United became a moral compass, with endless chat about the rights and wrongs of their proposed takeover by a Saudi-based consortium. This afternoon, they revert to being a football club. This fixture at home to Sheffield United is their first since the 1-0 win at Southampton on 7 March, a game which, if I am to be honest, I had completely forgotten about.
That win moved Newcastle very close to safety, a fine effort from Steve Bruce given the limitations of his squad and the pathetic abuse he received at the start of the season. If he has had a good season, Chris Wilder has ejoyed a spectacular one. Sheffield United will move up to fifth if they win today, a level of overachievement that verges on the surreal.
This match is an endearing rarity, with both managers in charge of their boyhood club. I don’t have all the data to hand, or indeed any of it, but I can’t imagine that has happened too often in the Premier League era.
Kick off 2pm.