Newcastle United 5-1 Sheffield United: Magpies go goal crazy and stay on road to Europe

Newcastle United ran riot in the second half to take another step closer to their goal of European football and relegated Sheffield United in the process.

Although, the rock bottom side had silenced St James' Park early on and it took Eddie Howe's team some time to get over their midweek defeat at Crystal Palace. But as Newcastle rediscovered their clinical side they took a big step forward on the road to continental competition as they cemented seventh spot and stayed on the coat-tails of Manchester United in sixth spot.

The Blades almost got an early look in when Dan Burn's poor back pass fell for Ben Brereton Diaz but Martin Dubravka made the block and conceded a corner. Sheff United played it short with Anel Ahmedhodzic getting far too much room in front of goal to convert and hand the visitors a shock lead.

READ MORE: Newcastle United vs Sheff United - live action as it happened at St James' Park

Or should it have come as a shock given the struggling Blades had twice taken the lead at Old Trafford before losing 4-2? Whatever way you look at it, this was a poor one to concede for Newcastle with the Magpies totally caught out by the short corner before Gustavo Hamer floated the ball in and Ahmedhodzic was left completely unmarked to flick home a header.

The Toon defence appealed frantically for an offside but after a VAR review it was deemed the goal would stand and the sold out Sheffield contingent on Level 7 celebrated gleefully. On 15 minutes, Jayden Bogle jinked his way past a couple of defenders and saw his shot deflected for a corner.

The corner came to nothing but again Newcastle looked wide open as the Blades made a gritty start to proceedings in the penultimate home game of the 2023/24 season. Howe's team lacked bite in the opening quarter and while they did create some openings, they did not manage a shot on target in that timeframe.

In fact, on 24 minutes, the visitors came close to doubling their lead as Diaz struck venomously from the left-hand side of the box with Dubravka beating the ball away. However, order was restored for the Magpies with 26 minutes on the clock and it was a goal of simplicity given their over-complicated manner in the build-up.

Jacob Murphy rolled a pass down the right-hand side and Alexander Isak calmly timed his run and sent an angled finish past Wes Foderingham. That tied things up and there were sighs of relief around St James' Park.

But Sheff United kept coming at Newcastle and after Diaz danced around Dubravka on the half-hour mark it required a clearance from Dan Burn to stop them going ahead. Seconds later Sheff United hit the bar through Andre Brooks.

The first half ended with Lewis Hall firing a low left-footed shot at Foderingham but he pushed the ball to safety and the two teams went in level at the interval. Howe was forced into a change at the break with Fabian Schar coming off with Emil Krafth replacing him.

Newcastle took a while to settle into the second half but won a free-kick when Tino Livramento was upended on the edge of the final third. It would be a moment that led to Newcastle going ahead for the first time of the afternoon.

Hall left the ball for Anthony Gordon before he swung the ball in from the right-hand side to pick out Bruno Guimaraes at the back post with the Brazil star's diving header in the six-yard box beating the keeper on 54 minutes.

Things were certainly looking up four minutes later when Gordon was fouled by Mason Holgate and referee Tony Harrington pointed to the spot. With Isak full of confidence he stepped up and tucked it into the right-hand corner and while Foderingham went the right way he couldn't keep it out on 61 minutes.

Newcastle then extended their lead four minutes later when Gordon's corner was headed down by Elliot Anderson. The ball struck a Sheff United defender before a scramble with Ben Osborn flicking it past his own goalie to make it 4-1.

The points were safely in the pocket with 25 minutes left and Howe was able to make a couple of offensive changes by introducing Callum Wilson and Harvey Barnes who replaced Anderson and Murphy. It took Wilson a matter of two minutes to join the party.

Livramento won the ball on the right before threading it to Gordon who then helped it on to Barnes. The £38million man scooped the ball into the path of Wilson who took a touch and then lashed it past the keeper for his first Premier League strike since October.

Howe used the remaining minutes to hand his squad players more minutes as Matt Ritchie and Alex Murphy came on. Hall went off for Murphy and Ritchie replaced Gordon.

Murphy bundled Bogle over in the box in the 90th minute with Harrington pointing to the spot for a second time but after a VAR check and look at the monitor he chalked off his original call.

That would have been harsh on the Irish youngster but the game ended with a convincing scoreline. Newcastle may only need a couple more wins to secure their place in Europe now.

Attendance: 52,196

Referee: Tony Harrington (Hartlepool)