Newcastle recorded their first Premier League victory of the season as Ayoze Perez scored in a 1-0 win over Watford on Saturday. Having failed to win any of their opening 10 league games of a season for just the second time in their history, the relief around St James Park’ was clear to see when the striker headed home (64).
The joy that erupted was followed by anxiety, with 25 minutes still left to play. Watford should have equalised, Andre Gray denied a tap-in by a magnificent last-ditch tackle from Kenedy before Stefano Okaka scooped over from six yards in stoppage time. “If you don’t kill the game when you have chance to do it, something like this can happen,” said manager Javi Gracia.
Yeah. Defeat, then. A bloody long way to come for an underwhelming outcome. If there was a consolation it was that there are worse places to visit than Newcastle with its admirable carpet of proper pubs. We visited a third before braving the train journey home.
There were a lot of angry Watford fans after the game. There was some justification for this as Newcastle had been very poor and were there for the taking. But the first half performance had been impressive and the Hornets should have been 3 or 4 up at half time. If the Pereyra shot that hit the crossbar early in the second half had gone in, we would have won the game. But Newcastle worked hard, managed to get a goal from a set piece and it seemed to be game over from that point. Still it is very dispiriting to hear so much anger directed at the players who have entertained us wonderfully so far this season. We are half way to safety with less than 30% of the games played, so are already on the way to having a great season. There will be the odd blip, but that shouldn’t derail the support as we are all in this together. It would be great if some of our more volatile supporters could remember that.