Callum Wilson, left, celebrates after scoring Newcastle’s winner (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Callum Wilson sent Newcastle into Champions League action on the back of a first Premier League win since the opening game of the season as they edged past Brentford at St James’ Park.
The England striker’s 64th-minute penalty proved enough to clinch the points for the Magpies, who had not won since they trounced Aston Villa 5-1 on August 12 and had since slipped to back-to-back defeats by Manchester City, Liverpool and Brighton.
They will now head for Italy for their Champions League opener against AC Milan on Tuesday evening in positive mood after a victory which was achieved without the rested Sandro Tonali and Alexander Isak as head coach Eddie Howe used the depth of his squad.
The Bees will perhaps feel aggrieved at both the penalty decision and the fact that they gave at least as good as they got for long periods in front of a crowd of 51,670, although ultimately they were unable to trouble keeper Nick Pope often enough.
Brentford started brightly with Aaron Hickey and Mathias Jensen combining well down the right, and it took a good near-post save by Pope to keep out Hickey’s fourth-minute attempt from a tight angle after he had been played in by Jensen.
Newcastle enjoyed an escape when Yoane Wissa was unable to make contact with Jensen’s teasing cross as he slid in, but it was the Magpies who very nearly took the lead with 28 minutes gone.
After Fabian Schar’s long-range attempt had been deflected behind, Sven Botman got his head to Kieran Trippier’s corner and flicked the ball to the back post where Bruno Guimaraes saw his close-range effort repelled by keeper Mark Flekken.
Mark Flekken, left, saves from Bruno Guimaraes (OwenRead on belfasttelegraph.co.uk