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Jonjo Shelvey strikes winner at Elland Road for Newcastle

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Jonjo Shelvey scored his second goal of the season for Newcastle United following his denial in the first half. Newcastle boss Eddie Howe hopes his squad’s mega victory at Leeds can transform their season as they battle relegation.

Shelvey’s 20-yard free-kick earned what was only a second win of the season in an energetic and tempestuous encounter where both sides struggled to make the most of first-half chances. But Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka saved Dan James’ point-blank shot and Illan Meslier palmed Shelvey’s volley away, the visitors finally found a breakthrough.

      Newcastle players celebrate victory in a past match.Photo courtesy: Getty Images

Substitute Javier Manquillo score came in the 75th-minute from a brilliant run but was brought down on the edge of the box. Shelvey stepped up and fired past Meslier, who perhaps should have done better, given the ball went in on his side of the goal.

Leeds had in the first place wasted a great opportunity through Jack Harrison, whose goal-bound shot was well blocked by Fabian Schar, and they paid for the absence of injured striker Patrick Bamford. It came as proof and a turning point as Newcastle resiliently held on, despite dropping 21 points from winning positions already this season. Following the win from Norwich over Watford, Howe’s side failed to leave the bottom three, but such a victory provides a much-needed boost ahead of a two-week break where the team will travel to Saudi Arabia for a training trip.

His methods have started bearing fruit with the significance of Shelvey’s goal and the three points for Newcastle cannot be underestimated in the context of what has been a difficult season for the visitors. After the club’s October takeover by new Saudi owners, it was hoped a poor start could be eliminated once Howe was appointed as the new manager.

Greater hope came by after they entered the transfer window as Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood joined the club. But a porous defence has hampered their efforts to move up the table and frustrations in the transfer market this week led to a feeling among some fans that relegation looked increasingly likely. But to hang on for a precious success sparked delight at the final whistle among the players and Howe, as Trippier and the manager led the applause in front of their travelling fans.

        Leeds squad in a past match, via Getty Images

Schar’s block had a greater impact as Longstaff who replaced the injured Joelinton before the break also contributed to a team performance that has given Howe hope for the future. There have been questions about whether Howe was best suited to keep Newcastle in the top flight despite a previous relegation with Bournemouth. But after a positive display which only ended with a draw against Watford last week, this showed his team is moving in the right direction.

Despite Leeds missing Bamford, they still managed and created chances through Raphinha, who had Paul Dummett on toast, and Harrison, who caused problems for Trippier. James also lacked the killer instinct upfront even if his hard work and endeavour were appreciated by the partisan home support. For the first 20 minutes, it was Leeds who looked most likely to score. But once Shelvey’s left-footed volley was saved by Meslier, Newcastle brought a balance to the game which they did not relinquish.

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