Newcastle United Seal Premier League Return

Nervous, Anxious, excitement and relief – That was St James’ Park last night as Newcastle United joined Brighton in next season’s Premier League.

Newcastle United got off to a flyer as Ayoze Perez stabbed home from a Matt Ritchie corner in the seventh minute. It was just the start Newcastle needed, one that Rafael Benitez would have hoped and craved for. However, it was never going to be easy for a Newcastle side that had won 2 of the their previous 8. Preston levelled things up in the fourteenth minute after a lethal counter attack, Hugill volleying past a returning Rob Elliot in the Newcastle goal.

There was a lot of tension inside St James’ Park after Preston threatened to spoil the party. You would not think Newcastle were on the verge of a return to the Premier League, judging on the nervous atmosphere. That tension lifted somewhat on the stroke of half time, as Isaac Hayden took advantage of a misunderstanding between Johnson and McGeady, Hayden found Mitrovic who selflessly found Atsu who made no mistake with the finish.

Newcastle started the second half much like the first, Perez forcing a save from Preston keeper Maxwell. Preston settled once again and always looked a threat to Newcastle, that was until Preston captain Paul Gallagher was sent off for a deliberate handball, after he saved an Isaac Hayden shot on the goal line. Matt Ritchie stepped up to take the penalty, the Scotland international made no mistake as dispatched the penalty – Sending St James’ Park wild. The very second Matt Ritchie converted the penalty, the atmosphere was back at St James’ Park. A crowd that were quite, nervous and anxious were now full of joy and excitement for what is to come.

Newcastle controlled the game after their third goal, Preston knew they could not be a threat any longer. Newcastle got their fourth as a Jonjo Shelvey shot smashed off the post and into Perez’s path who couldn’t miss. The young Spaniard knew very little about it in truth, he hand Newcastle fans will not care one jot. Perez looked lively throughout, one of his better displays during a tough season.

Newcastle still have a chance to claim the title, they will look to put pressure on Brighton. Newcastle travel to Cardiff on Friday before Brighton host Bristol City on Saturday evening. A Newcastle win would see the gap closed to a single point before Brighton play again. Rafael Benitez will want the title, however he will be delighted to secure promotion and end the wait for Newcastle fans. It is a fantastic achievement by Benitez and Newcastle, to bounce straight back up automatically is hard. Only Burnley have managed that from the last 15 teams relegated.

Benitez will now have an eye on the summer and the changes ahead for Newcastle. The Spaniard will be looking for at least 8 additions during a busy summer on Tyneside. Newcastle look set to be the only North East side to feature in the Premier League next season, with Sunderland and Middlesbrough running out of time and points in their fight for survival.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley will be pleased with the amount of money the club will receive in the Premier League. It is vital that the owner backs Benitez to the hills, something I am sure will happen, Ashley has seen what Benitez can do when he is in complete control. The Spaniard has completely turned the club around and the fans can look forward to a bright future under him.

There will be plenty of sore heads this morning, mine included. I hope everyone enjoyed the celebrations last night. I am looking forward to the final two games where Newcastle can play with freedom, knowing they are Premier League players next season.

What are your feelings Newcastle fans? How many sore heads are there today? Comments as always, welcome.

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