Newcastle United claimed a comfortable 2-0 victory at home to Burnley on Tuesday night to move seven points clear of the Premier League relegation zone, thanks to first-half goals from Fabian Schar and Sean Longstaff.
The contest began as a slow burner, but ignited after 24 minutes when Newcastle centre back Fabian Schar smashed a truly stunning strike in off the post from 25 yards out to break the deadlock and give the Magpies the lead.
Fabian Schar is a bargain at 3mil. What a goal— Ian (@ISTB87) February 26, 2019
The hosts then deservedly doubled their lead shortly before the interval. North Shields native Sean Longstaff reacted quickest to a second ball inside the 18-yard box, taking a touch before smashing the ball into the far corner for his first Premier League goal.
Burnley huffed and puffed in the second half, pinging ball after ball into the Newcastle area, but they could not blow down a Newcastle wall that remained resilient in defence.
Check out our breakdown of the game below.
Key Talking Point
Another impressive display at St. James' Park saw Newcastle claim a fourth successive home win in the league, a feat they last achieved ten months ago. Despite taking some time to break out of the blocks, the Magpies put in an excellent team performance, with Schar's rocket of a strike propelling Rafael Benitez's men into life.
The latest victory in this impressive run on home turf, which has seen them claim the scalp of title-chasing Manchester City, saw the men in black and white move seven points clear of the relegation zone with ten games left to play. If their recent form is anything to go by, Newcastle are virtually guaranteed to avoid the drop come the end of the season.
Fabian Schar has just scored the goal Dejan Lovren is convinced he's due— Steve Graves (@steve_graves) February 26, 2019
The Magpies have now won four of their last six games in the Premier League and, by sweeping aside the Clarets on Tuesday night, achieved the league double over Burnley for the first time since 1954/55. In a game of high stakes that was a six-pointer for both sides given their proximity in the table, Newcastle produced a display that more than met the demands of the occasion.
Starting XI: Dubravka (8); Manquillo (7), Lascelles (6), Schar (8), Lejeune (6), Ritchie (7); Hayden (6), Longstaff (9*), Perez (7); Almiron (6), Rondon (6).
Substitutes: Dummett (6), Diame (6), Joselu (N/A).
Local lad Sean Longstaff was excellent for the home side, as he capped a memorable night with a first league goal. The 21-year-old has put in a string of impressive showings since making his Newcastle debut in January.
Composed and collected in the centre of midfield, Longstaff's individual display is one he will not forget for a long time following the milestone of his first league goal for his boyhood club.
Aside from getting on the scoresheet, Longstaff proved that he has the mental fortitude to be a successful midfielder over the coming years with the way he calmly diffused the effectiveness of Burnley's second half aerial bombardment as the visitors attempted to claw their way back into the game.
Key Talking Point
Following a run of eight league games without defeat, the last of which saw Burnley severely dent Tottenham's title hopes last Saturday, optimism in the Clarets' camp was high.
However, Sean Dyche's side failed to match Newcastle's intensity and energy after falling behind to Schar's wonderful long-range effort. Burnley barely threatened the Magpies in open play but they should have got themselves back into the game moments before half-time, but centre-half James Tarkowski somehow volleyed over from three yards out.
“The Art of the Long Ball,” a Burnley FC Documentary...— Le Prince (@LIFEHOOPENS) February 26, 2019
A first defeat since Boxing Day for Burnley leaves them only six points above the relegation zone, a gap that 18th-placed Southampton have the opportunity to halve when they play Fulham on Wednesday.
Although Dyche has turned around his team's fortunes since Christmas, the Clarets have a tough run-in to end the season, as they play four of the Premier League's current top six.
Starting XI: Heaton (6); Bardsley (5), Tarkowski (6), Mee (5), Taylor (7*); Berg-Gudmundsson (4), Cork (5), Hendrick (5), McNeil (4); Barnes (4), Wood (6).
Substitutes: Brady (6), Crouch (6), Vydra (6).
On a night where few players will have pleased Sean Dyche with lacklustre performances, Charlie Taylor deserves credit for his tireless runs up and down the left flank from first whistle to last.
Absolutely rubbish tonight Burnley. Charlie Taylor only played well— Jacob (@JC02017619) February 26, 2019
Despite Taylor's best efforts, Burnley failed to trouble Martin Dubravka in the Newcastle goal, the away side far too often resorting to route one in a desperate attempt to find a way back into a contest that, realistically, they looked like they would lose well before the final whistle.
Newcastle travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham in Saturday's late kick-off at 17:30 GMT. Burnley are in action against another London club, as they welcome Crystal Palace to Turf Moor earlier on Saturday at 15:00 GMT.