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Newcastle’s defiant Southampton victory with nine men has saved Bruce’s job

Nine men in black and white, stood defiant in a 4-4-0 formation.

Nine men raised their arms in triumph to herald one of the most remarkable wins of Steve Bruce’s reign.

It was a blood and snot victory, as gutsy as it was chaotic in a cracking second half.

Southampton found themselves with a two man advantage for the last 20 minutes of play, a game after losing 9-0 to Manchester United, because they themselves went down to nine men.

But they also found Bruce’s men willing to run themselves into the ground, splashing around a waterlogged pitch, to protect a 3-1 half time lead.

Steve Bruce was delighted with a hard fought win

Jeff Hendrick was sent off for two silly yellows reducing Newcastle to ten men for the last 40 minutes.

When Fabian Schar was carried off after a big impact block tackle trying to shoot, Bruce had no subs left to make a replacement.

Nine men for the last 15, plus five minutes injury time.

Sub Paul Dummett headed everything away, Isaac Hayden hooked balls and hassled, Miguel Almiron, already a scorer of two goals, sped around disrupting.

Miguel Almiron scored twice and was man of the match

There was a loud roar at the final whistle at St James’ Park, even though there were no fans in.

It was a second win in four games for Bruce, as his side slowly frees itself from a two month rut, and a run of ten defeats in 13 games.

It leaves Bruce’s position strengthened.

But Ralf Hasenhuttl, with just one win in ten games, and leaking goals at a rate of 12 in two hours of play when Almiron scored the clincher just before half time, has a team on the slide.

No wonder he threw his arms in the air, spun on his heels and bellowed: “Oh My God”.

Several times. At the defending on show. And when Danny Ings was denied by the inside of a post which would have made it 3-3.

It wasn’t just resilience from Newcastle. They cut through Southampton with attacking play that was quick witted and ruthless to score three, two from Almiron and one from Joe Willock

“It was a big fight,” said Willock the Arsenal loanee who scored on his debut. The manager just told us to stick together and fight.”

“The last half hour was awful,” admitted Bruce, a nod to the excruciating hold-on-job they executed.

“The way we concede is far to easy,” said Hasenhuttl. “One man more, two men more at the end…”

Ralf Hasenthuttl has overseen just one win in ten games

There is a difference between a good team and a team that wants to be good.”

The heat will stay on the Saints boss.

Bruce now seems safe in his position for the season at least, 11 points clear of the bottom three.

He’s got his squad fighting, and out of a miserable run. And Allan Maximin is back creating, with two goal assists.

Newcastle fans say they only want a team who tries, not necessarily one which will compete for titles.

Bruce’s men proved they are indeed battlers – all nine of them.




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