Nov 3 (Reuters) - Newcastle United finally got their season up and running by beating Watford 1-0 at St James’ Park to record their first Premier League win at the 11th attempt.
Ayoze Perez flicked home a 65th-minute header from a Ki Sung-yeung free kick to claim the points and move Newcastle out of the relegation zone into 17th place.
The goal was Newcastle’s first at home since a 2-1 defeat by Arsenal on Sept. 15.
“I think [the win] was important for everyone,” said manager Rafa Benitez.
“To win against a good team with a lot of confidence, to win in the way that we did with everyone behind the team — and with three players coming from the bench and making a great contribution — was very positive.”
The contrast between the teams going into the game could not have been starker with Watford enjoying their best top-flight start and Newcastle needing a win to avert their worst.
They negotiated a nervous opening when they struggled to cope with the pace of Gerard Deulofeu and Watford had several opportunities to take the lead before the interval.
Adrian Mariappa wasted Watford’s best chance, dragging the ball wide of the left-hand post before Roberto Pereyra went even closer by hitting the bar.
But for all their possession, Watford only managed one shot on target.
Newcastle, who lost Yoshinori Muto, Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey to injury before the hour mark, gradually became the stronger side although they required an excellent block from Kenedy to deny Watford substitute Andre Gray an equaliser.
Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Ken Ferris