Digital Football Journalist @ronnabe
Huddersfield 0-1 Newcastle: Salomon Rondon lifts visitors six clear of bottom three
Report and highlights as Newcastle move up to 14th
Last Updated: 15/12/18 7:22pm
Salomon Rondon's second-half goal lifted Newcastle six points clear of the bottom three with a 1-0 win at Huddersfield.
Rondon swept home a lovely Javier Manquillo ball across the box for the only goal of the game to finish off a well-worked counter-attack 10 minutes after half-time, but Newcastle found themselves on the back foot for the majority of the match at the John Smith's Stadium.
Huddersfield enjoyed more than 70 per cent of possession across the 90 minutes, but some strong defending and toothless attacking play contributed to a quiet afternoon for Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.
The visitors should have had a second from another counter when Ayoze Perez was played clean through and lifted the ball over Jonas Lossl before being wrongly denied by the offside flag, but the decision had little significance on the result as Newcastle held firm for a first win in four.
Huddersfield: Lossl (7), Hadergjonaj (5), Zanka (6), Schindler (6), Kongolo (6), Lowe (6), Hogg (5), Billing (7), Bacuna (7), Pritchard (6), Depoitre (5)
Subs: Durm (6), Sobhi (5), Mbenza (5)
Newcastle: Dubravka (7), Clark (7), Schar (8), Lascelles (7), Manquillo (7), Diame (6), Ki (6), Kenedy (5), Perez (6), Rondon (7), Atsu (7)
Subs: Hayden (6), Ritchie (n/a), Dummett (n/a)
Man of the match: Fabian Schar
Huddersfield dominated proceedings from the off but lacked a cutting edge, a recurring theme for David Wagner's side this season, and could not offer Laurent Depoitre any kind of quality service.
The one clear chance he did get he volleyed over from eight yards when found unmarked by a Christopher Lowe corner, but that was the closest they came before half-time.
At the other end, Lossl took a whack when diving at Christian Atsu's feet when the winger got away from impressive debutant Juninho Bacuna, and was also alert to keep out Schar when he was played in over the top from a free-kick, and arrowed an effort at the near post.
Atsu was back at it after half-time, firing first-time at Lossl who showed good reflexes to palm away, but two minutes later he could do nothing to keep out a fine counter-attack which was slotted in by Rondon, but owed so much to a fine curled pass to the far side from Manquillo, who had raced from his own half to pick up Ayoze Perez's pass.
Huddersfield made three changes from their defeat to Arsenal, with the injured trio of Danny WIlliams, Tommy Smith and Aaron Mooy missing out. Florent Hadergjonaj and Philip Billing came in, so too Juninho Bacuna for his first Premier League start.
As for Newcastle, they went back to a three-man defence with Fabian Schar restored, while Kenedy and Christian Atsu were also back in the line-up.
Lowe forced a rare diving save from Dubravka moments later from 25 yards, and from the rebound Florent Hadergjonaj appeared to be pushed in the back by Kenedy inside the area, only for the offside flag to curtail his shouts for a penalty.
It was another flag which would wrongly deny Newcastle a second goal on the break, when Atsu bent the ball around Christopher Schindler and into Perez's path, but after lifting it beyond Lossl his strike was chalked off before replays showed he had been in line with the last man.
Huddersfield attempted a late onslaught but their possession rarely looked like turning into anything more threatening, as they were consigned to a fourth consecutive defeat to stay third bottom.
David Wagner: "It's what we have seen in recent weeks. Performance-wise we were good, sometimes very good, but we had less clear-cut chances than we have in the past.
"We have to continue and still believe that we can change this. Because of how the players have done in recent weeks and how they stick together, it gives me everything I need to think we can change the results."
Rafa Benitez: "It was a really important for us, and them, so to get three points here in the way that we did, with a big effort from every player, is always something you have to be satisfied with.
"We had to deal with all these situations, but in the first half we gave the ball away a little bit cheaply, we were stronger in the second half and they didn't have the space. It wasn't easy for them, and we knew we would have to play on the counter-attack."
- Huddersfield have won just two of their last 14 games against Newcastle in all competitions (D4 L8).
- Newcastle are unbeaten in four consecutive Premier League away games (W2 D2) for the first time since November 2012.
- Newcastle United's Premier League games have seen 36 goals scored this season, fewer than any other side (scored 14, conceded 22).
- Since the start of last season, Huddersfield have failed to score in 29 Premier League games, eight more than any other side.
- Huddersfield posted a 73.6% possession figure in this game, the highest of any side to lose a Premier League game this season.
- Newcastle striker Salomón Rondón has netted four goals in his last six Premier League games, as many as he managed in his previous 24 in the competition.
- Newcastle' Javier Manquillo registered only his second assist in his 58 Premier League appearances.
Man of the match - Fabian Schar
Any of Newcastle's back three could stake a good claim for being the best player on the pitch, they soaked up everything Huddersfield threw at them during the game to make Dubravka's afternoon a quiet one.
But Schar completed more tackles than anyone on his side (3), as well as making more interceptions (4), and every time Hadergjonaj got the ball in space on the right - and it was a lot - he was the man you expected to be heading it away at the back post. And he did.
He wasn't far away from netting the opener either, playing his part in a lovely free-kick move before half-time when Lossl denied him at his near post with a sharp stop.
Huddersfield host Southampton at the John Smith's Stadium on December 22 at 3pm, at the same time Newcastle will face Fulham at St James' Park.