A DISPIRITING afternoon for Huddersfield Town in the fight to avoid relegation.
In the first of three home consecutive home games against a rival for the drop, the Terriers were beaten by a second half strike from Salomon Rondon.
The Venezuelan rounded off a passing move every bit as slick as a John Smith’s Stadium pitch that had faced a deluge of rain from the opening stages.
Both teams looked every inch a Premier League struggler but Newcastle United had that little bit of quality required to settled tight contests at the top level.
Huddersfield huffed and puffed, particularly in the first half. They also built up a decent head of steam that saw Philip Billing denied by a stunning one handed save from Martin Dubravka.
But, once behind ten minutes into the second half, Huddersfield never looked like forcing their way back into the game.
David Wagner’s men simply ran out of ideas, a worrying turn of events with home games against Southampton and Burnley to come in the next month along with trips to Fulham and Cardiff City.
Newcastle’s winner was worthy of winning a game better than this, Town simply left chasing shadows by a sweeping move that began with Dubravka.
The key was how the Magpies slipped through the gears once over the halfway line.
Ayoze Perez stepped up the pace with a dart down the right flank before flicking a pass inside for Javier Manquillo.
He, in turn, moved the ball on to Rondon who finished smartly past Jonas Lossl.
Town never looked like replying after that, even though Wagner turned to Isaac Mbenza and Ramadan Sobhi from the bench in an attempt to pep up his struggling side.