Swansea City 0-1 Newcastle United: Jamaal Lascelles boosts absent Rafa Benitez
By Jack Wilkinson at Liberty Stadium
Last Updated: 11/09/17 9:04am
Jamaal Lascelles was the unlikely hero as Newcastle claimed a 1-0 win at Swansea without manager Rafa Benitez.
The Magpies skipper's towering 76th-minute header proved decisive as the visitors secured a victory to give absent Benitez a timely boost as he recovers from hernia surgery.
Renato Sanches had an uneventful 69-minute cameo on his Swansea debut, before being replaced by Wilfried Bony, who tasted defeat on his much-anticipated return to south Wales.
The result lifts Newcastle up to 10th in the Premier League while Swansea drop a place to 15th following their second defeat of the season.
Swansea: Fabianski (7), Mawson (6), Olsson (6), Naughton (6), Fernandez (6), Sanches (5), Clucas (6), Carroll (6), Fer (6), Abraham (6), Ayew (6).
Subs: Bony (5),Narsingh (5).
Newcastle: Elliot (7), Clark (6), Lascelles (8), Hayden (6), Manquillo (6), Gamez (6), Merino (6), Ritchie (6), Murphy (5), Perez (6), Joselu (7).
Subs: Gayle (5), Diame (5), Atsu (6).
Man of the match: Jamaal Lascelles
After a subdued opening half hour, the game burst into life with a flurry of chances at either end. First, Joselu thought he had scored on 33 minutes but Lukasz Fabianski pulled off a sublime save to tip his head around the post.
A minute later, referee Mike Jones waved Mikel Merino to his feet after diving in the area under an Alfie Mawson challenge, and Swansea nearly sought their own retribution when Jordan Ayew stung Rob Elliot's palms with a long-range drive.
Mawson came within inches of breaking the deadlock as he drifted a header wide on 39 minutes, but there was still time for Newcastle to respond as Isaac Hayden's drive drew a save from Fabianski in stoppage-time.
After Matt Ritchie saw yellow and not red for a Sadio Mane-esque high boot on Mawson, the chances continued as Ayew set up Kyle Naughton and Tom Carroll in quick succession, but a combination of Ciaran Clark and Elliot kept the Swans at bay.
Renato Sanches made his Swansea debut as Paul Clement made just one change from the team that beat Crystal Palace before the international break, Mike van der Hoorn dropping out to accommodate the Portuguese.
With Rafa Benitez absent, Jesus Gamez replaced Chancel Mbemba in the Newcastle defence, while Jacob Murphy came in for Christian Atsu. Jonjo Shelvey returned on the bench against his former club following the culmination of his suspension.
Magpies skipper Lascelles then expertly cleared Tammy Abraham's effort off the goal-line on the hour before Fabianski saved Ayoze Perez's low drive with his foot on 73 minutes.
But Newcastle struck the killer blow 14 minutes from time as Lascelles rose high above the Swansea defence, sending an effort past Fabianski from which the Swans could not respond.
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- Since the start of last season, no side in the top four tiers of English football has won more away league games than Newcastle (15, level with Chelsea and Exeter).
- The Swans have lost their opening two home league games of a season without scoring a goal for just the second time in their history (also 1985/86).
- Matt Ritchie has registered an assist in all three of his Premier League appearances against Swansea (three in total).
- All three of Jamaal Lascelles goals for Newcastle in the Premier League have been headers from a corner - with two of those coming against Swansea.
Paul Clement: "Although the margin of the defeat is small I am more disappointed with our performance. I'm not satisfied with the way we played. I take responsibility for it. It's a performance I'm not proud of. It is collective responsibility and I'm at the head of that."
Jamaal Lascelles: "The manager rang me this morning and told me to make sure the boys were on it. Hopefully he gets well soon and gets back with us. We have set a standard now. We will be hard to beat back home but if we play like this every week, we will do well. It is down to us to bring it every week."
Man of the match - Jamaal Lascelles
Newcastle supporters were staring at the prospect of having a fruitless 708-mile round trip to the Liberty Stadium, but, when it mattered most, up stepped their captain.
Lascelles' stunning goal-line clearance set Newcastle on their way to a second clean sheet on the spin, and he went one better by scoring the winner to send the travelling fans back to Tyneside on a high.
Swansea travel to Wembley on Saturday tea-time where they look to extend Tottenham's winless start to life at their temporary home. Before that, Newcastle will try and secure a third win on the spin when Stoke visit St. James' Park.