Newcastle took a giant stride towards Premier League safety after Ayoze Perez’s late winner secured a 1-0 victory over relegation rivals Huddersfield at St James’ Park on Saturday.
Perez was perfectly placed to slide home a pass from Kenedy from six yards out with 10 minutes left to play, on an afternoon when United dominated the game but failed to convert a succession of good chances that threatened to undermine what was a positive home performance.
That win sent Rafa Benitez’s side soaring up to 12th in the table on 35 points from 31 games and seven points above the bottom three – meaning Newcastle are potentially just three points away from all but clinching top-flight survival.
Benitez will certainly be pleased with how his players conducted themselves against the Terriers and dealt with what little threat the visitors posed during a display that served as another testament to the improvement masterminded by the Magpies boss since the turn of the year.
A trip to the King Power Stadium to face to Leicester awaits next weekend – the scene of Benitez’s first game as manager – and Newcastle can approach it with confidence after registering back-to-back home wins.