Newcastle United came away with the three points after travelling to Kirklees Stadium in Huddersfield.
The Terries sat out in their usual style, pressing the way Wagner likes and giving United a run for their money.
Despite that, Ritchie earned a penalty kick after running with a ball served by Shelvey into the box. His heel was clipped and down he went. He took the penalty himself and sent it into the net.
Some minutes later Murphy latched onto an overhead ball from Shelvey, his first touch is poor, but the keeper can’t hold the ball. Murphy managed to wrestle it back, and turn and place it neatly into the net.
In the second half, Huddersfield pushed harder than ever and managed to earn a penalty themselves as Shelvey pushed a player over. A well-placed penalty made it Huddersfield 1 – 2 NUFC.
On the 90th minute, Huddersfield won a corner. Up came the Terriers keeper (who had been subbed on) to try to grab the draw. It didn’t happen, their keeper sprinted back towards goal, Shelvey hit it clear and Gayle was way up the pitch already. Joel Coleman stopped his run, turned to try and kick the ball away, misjudged the bounce and Gayle ran past and nodded it into the net.
This was an excellent victory for Rafa’s men, but how did the players do overall?
Karl Darlow – 7
Forced into action on numerous occasions as Huddersfield had several attempts from range. He didn’t show any sign of making a mistake and kept United well in it.
Vurnon Anita – 6
Anita had one of the busiest nights of the evening as Huddersfield targeted him specifically in the second half. Lascelles & Shelvey were there to back him up plenty, and he needed it. Didn’t contribute notably going forward.
Jamaal Lascelles – 7
The captain made a composed and solid performance. Having to partner Clark in defending a bombarded box, he never made a mistake and gave an assured and controlled performance.
Ciaran Clark – 8
Clark continued with his high standard and helped move balls out and away from the box. He was extremely effective defensively and had a good as performance as all season.
Paul Dummett – 6
The Terriers didn’t do much on Dummett’s side and considering how Ritchie shielded him, Paul really didn’t need to do much. One big clearance is what he managed, otherwise he didn’t put himself on the map.
Christian Atsu – 6
Tried to do what he could, but was isolated on the right side and towards the end, subbed for Yedlin. Just not his type of game and brushed off the ball a few times.
Jonjo Shelvey – 7
Had a good range of passing, but didn’t make many passes. Managed an assist for Murphy. Was also integral defensively, but at the same time, he was at fault for the penalty. He was still effective, just in smaller portions.
Jack Colback – 6
Had his typical game. Hustled and bustled the opposition, but didn’t get on the ball much. His role was to break up play as well as he could and he did that to a degree. Disappeared in the second half except for a few clearances. Eventually subbed for Gouffran.
Matt Ritchie – 8
Ritchie did his best to contribute going forward and gave the Terriers a few problems in the first half. But his best performance tonight was outside his box. Furthermore he defended extremely well, causing Huddersfield to give up attacking down his side. Controlled on the ball, and good defensive awareness. MOTM performance.
Mohamed Diame – 7
Made his physical size known, gave Newcastle breathing space at times while Terriers were pressing. He attempted a couple of counters but wasn’t well enough supported. The way the match went, he couldn’t do much more.
Daryl Murphy – 7
First of all, there was not much for Daryl to do, but he had a couple of chances and tucked one of them away. It was an extremely composed finish. If that was a striker without his experience, I’m not sure that would’ve gone in. Applauded off the pitch in favour of Gayle, and rightly so. His presence mattered equally as much as his goal.
Newcastle had a game plan and it was spot on. They let Huddersfield have it, stayed compact & prevented 1v1 situations. In the end, the three goals came as he wanted, hold out during the press, beat them on the counter.
A proper team effort and victory.