Newcastle has previously survived on the back of misfit Allan Saint-Maximin and goalkeeper Martin Dubravka masking an otherwise joyless campaign.
And so it was that this victory from behind in Burnley turned out to be a microcosm of last season under Steve Bruce.
Dubravka’s resistance meant that by the time the cavalry arrived just before the hour in the form of the fit Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson, the hosts had not disappeared beyond the snow-capped hills surrounding Turf Moor.
Substitute Allan Saint-Maximin (left) in the second half inspired Newcastle to a massive three points
Jacob Murphy equalized for Newcastle from Matej Vydra’s opener on an assist from Saint-Maximin
The winger then stole the show as he went on a stunning solo run to put Newcastle in the lead
Burnley (4-4-2): Peacock-Farrell 6; Lowton 6.5, Tarkowski 6.5, Mee 6.5, Pieters 6; Gudmundsson 6 (Mumbongo 90), Westwood 7.5, Brownhill 6.5, McNeil 6.5; Vydra 7, Wood 7
Subs not used: Norris, Bardsley, Richardson, Dunne, Nartey, Taylor, Cork, Stephens.
Target: Otter 18
Manager: Sean Dyche 6
Newcastle (5-3-2): Dubravka 8; Murphy 7.5, Fernandez 6.5, Clark 6, Dummett 6, Ritchie 6.5; Almiron 5.5 (Hendrick 90), Shelvey 5.5, S Longstaff 7; Joelinton 5 (Saint Maximin 58, 8.5), Gayle 5.5 (Wilson 58, 6)
Subs not used: Darlow, Carroll, Lewis, Krafth, Manquillo, Willock
Goals: Murphy 59, Saint-Maximin 64
Manager: Steve Bruce 6.5
Referee: A Taylor 6
But they soon feared Saint-Maximin, who took just 60 seconds to put down an equalizer for Jacob Murphy and another five minutes to score the solo goal that ended Newcastle’s seven-game streak without a win. putting them six points ahead of the bottom three.
Saint-Maximin won a new contract after tormenting Burnley in the reverse match victory in October, so Sean Dyche’s side knew what to expect.
But being warned about the French winger doesn’t necessarily mean a forearm. Burnley has, in fact, committed the one crime you can’t stand his wizardry – they gave him time and space to work his magic.
Saint-Maximin’s winner was due as much to Burnley’s fear as to his own wizardry. It was as if they were all waiting for a teammate to take on a challenge as he galloped unimpeded through the middle of the park.
By the time he faced backlash it was too late, Saint-Maximin was already in the penalty area, carving his way out of two Claret jerseys before hitting the bottom corner.
He largely celebrated on his own – even his own team can’t keep up – but there’s no question how grateful his comrades should be, especially given their toil to the point of his introduction.
Bruce spoke of Newcastle’s ‘back-to-back wins’ afterwards – they played a draw against Spurs last week. He has a habit of coloring the past to shine a more favorable light on their situation.
In actuality, this performance was as gray as most of their desperate season, save for five minutes of relief courtesy of Saint-Maximin.
It’s not for nothing that the 24-year-old has earned the nickname ‘Plan A’ in some quarters, and without being him, he just exposes a lack of strategy under Bruce.
Matej Vydra poked in from close range to give Burnley the lead in the first half
The first half ended amid a debate over VAR not awarding a Newcastle penalty, but that deviated from Burnley’s dominance so far.
James Tarkowski’s high boot seemed to deserve a penalty on the first viewing, as he hooked off Sean Longstaff’s head after Bailey saved Peacock-Farrell – in front of injured Nick Pope – from Dwight Gayle and bounced the ball up into the six meters. Surface.
VAR Stuart Attwell said no punishment. Was he right? In Tarkowski’s defense, he won the ball and was unaware that Longstaff was arriving in his shadow. But did he endanger the safety of his opponent? Yes.
Attwell’s decision felt like a case of clinging to Anthony Taylor’s on-field call amid the doubt, and the PGMOL later said, “Tarkowski played the ball first and then Longstaff bowed and stuck his head in that area.”
If Newcastle had gone on the same level at half time it would have been undeserved. By the half hour they had only touched the ball twice in the opposition’s penalty area.
Burnley, on the other hand, scored in the 18th minute with their sixth shot as Chris Wood drove past Ciaran Clark and squared strike partner Matej Vydra to hand in from six meters.
Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka has been called into action time and again at Turf Moor
There would be two who entered the hiatus if Dubravka hadn’t beaten Paul Dummett’s wild clearance.
Dubravka made an equally important save on the other side of halftime from Matt Lowton’s 20-yard volley, just as he did when he threw Dwight McNeil’s purposeful blast over the bar.
It meant Newcastle stayed within one goal when Saint-Maximin came off the bench at 58 minutes, and he wasted no time teasing Burnley’s petrified defense before rolling up Murphy’s path to swipe home from 16 yards.
Saint-Maximin then made the headlines belong to him with his beautiful winning goal, but Dubravka’s role should not be forgotten.
Together they got Newcastle to safety and kicked it, and not for the first time either.
Dubravka was on full force to keep out a pass from Westwood that deflected from Paul Dummett
Relive Sportsmail’s Ieuan Ivett’s live EPL coverage from Burnley vs Newcastle, including score, line-ups and build-up.