By 90Min
March 31, 2018

Ayoze Perez's second-half strike helped Newcastle move seven points clear of the relegation places after a 1-0 win over a struggling Huddersfield at St James' Park on Saturday.

Perez was on cue to score in the 80th minute after he was coolly found by Kenedy to inflict misery on the traveling Terriers. Huddersfield may have felt confident heading into this one having beaten Newcastle twice in their last three matches, including the match at St. James Park last season.

On the other hand, Newcastle came into the match in decent form having lost just one of their last five matches. The home side sat four points from the drop zone, while Huddersfield were just a point behind their opponents, three points ahead of Southampton in 18th place.

Image by Marco Maggio

The game got off to a sloppy start, with several errant passes being played from both sides. The opening exchanges were played with a great deal of intensity as Aaron Mooy and Jamaal Lascelles both picked up bookings in the first ten minutes.

Jonjo Shelvey had the first effort on goal after Dwight Gayle attempted an overhead kick which was initially blocked. The ball fell kindly to Shelvey whose low drive from 20 yards flew an inch wide of Lossl's goal.

The home side started to dominate the game - having 70% of possession in the first 20 minutes - and they should've gone ahead through Matt Ritchie who found himself through on goal, but his low shot was easy enough for Lossl to deal with.

The away side found themselves coming into the game midway through the first half, but their pressure and buildup around Newcastle's penalty box ultimately came to nothing. 

Instead, it was the Magpies who had the chance to break the deadlock after two clear-cut chances in the space of two minutes. Both chances fell to Gayle who saw his efforts in the penalty box blaze over the Huddersfield goal.

It was a feisty first half, and both Rafael Benitez and David Wagner would've been disappointed with their side's performances. Newcastle had definitely been the more dominant side, but Huddersfield looked somewhat dangerous when going forward.

The away side had the brighter start after the interval and had the first chance through Depoitre. The Belgian let fly from just outside the penalty area, but it went too far left and wasn't enough to trouble Dubravka.

From then on it was a game of virtually no chances, as anxiety filled the stadium, with most fans beginning to get frustrated with the action on the pitch.

We had to wait until the 69th minute to see the next effort on goal, after substitute Christian Atsu cut inside from the right, shaped his body for a curling shot, but his effort goes high and wild. Excitement then filled the stadium after Newcastle's January signing came on for his debut after an injury-hit start to his Magpies career. 

Momentum was with the home side, and this showed as they made the breakthrough after 80 minutes. Perez was on cue to tap in from close range after Kenedy calmly squared the ball to the Spaniard.

Unfortunately for Wagner, his side hadn't scored a Premier League goal in March, which showed that it was an uphill task for his side to get back into the game.

This was a deserved victory for Benitez's side, but the Terriers gave it a good go in the final ten minutes creating a flurry of opportunities.

Newcastle find themselves climbing up to 12th, now seven points from the drop zone. Meanwhile, Huddersfield have six crucial matches left to ensure their Premier League survival. Wagner's side are just three points from the relegation places and are in real danger.

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