Newcastle's Dwight Gayle celebrates scoring their third goal with Jonjo Shelvey
When Newcaslte's starting-11 to face Reading was announced not many expected to see Yoan Gouffran's name on the team sheet as manager Rafa Benitez looked to help his side pick up their first win of the new season.
It was a bold decision from Benitez but it ultimately paid off as the supposedly exiled wideman grabbed two 'assists' as Newcastle strolled to a 4-1 victory.
Reading's George Evans in action with Newcastle's Isaac Hayden
The first goal of the evening came after 20-minutes as the ball bounced off Gouffran to set-up Isaac Hayden for his first United goal.
And despite being brought in from the cold, Gouffran looked lively at times as he tested Royals' keeper Ali Al-Habsi with a well-struck overhead kick just after the half-hour mark.
Although Reading levelled just before the break Newcastle responded soon after the restart as Gouffran earned his side a penalty that was calmly converted by Matt Ritchie.
|Vs||Passing Accuracy||Ontarget Scoring Att||Goal Assist||Penalty Won||Duel Won||Ball Recovery||Mins Played|
Newcastle's Matt Ritchie scores their second goal from the penalty spot
A superb 30-yard free-kick from former Crystal Palace striker Dwight Gayle made it 3-1 after 69-minutes.
Gouffran left the pitch to a standing ovation after 84 minutes to be replaced by Jack Colback as the Magpies looked to hold out for victory.
And Gayle wrapped things up for the hosts late on as he turned in Hayden's cross to confirm a convincing win.
Newcastle's Dwight Gayle scores their fourth goal
As always Newcastle fans had plenty to say on the matter, with Gouffran being a key topic of discussion.
Here's what they said about the 30-year-old's surprise inclusion prior to kick-off:
Gouffran + Anita are starting, + Dummett is captain?! Wtf is going on— Dan Towns (@townsy123) August 17, 2016
Sort of understand most of the changes but Gouffran starting? Srsly? Probs better off playing my nan and she's been dead for 11 year #NUFC— KieranHarm (@KAH_NUFC) August 17, 2016
Can't get my head around Gouffran starting. Really hope he proves me wrong with a hat-trick, but can't help but feel underwhelmed. #NUFC— Sean McCormick (@S_McCormick95) August 17, 2016
Gouffran starting makes me want to die— Beth (@AbsoIuteIyAyoze) August 17, 2016
Why is Gouffran starting— Sam Welch (@Sam_Welch95) August 17, 2016
But after the game their response was slightly more positive:
If gouffran's bicycle kick went in I would have had a heart attack— Rio White (@tokyo_trap_god) August 18, 2016
Gouffran wasn't a bad decision. Supported Dummett and did a job. No complaints!— Lee Robson (@LeeRobson23) August 17, 2016
Gouffran seemed like he had a good game aswell! What's going on!— Connor Linsdell (@ConnorLinsdell9) August 17, 2016
Am gonna say it. Gouffran was decent tonight— jonathan rose (@freddiemercury) August 17, 2016
Gouffran didn't put a foot wrong tonight. It hurts me saying that #NUFC— Lewis Thompson (@LewisThompsonn) August 17, 2016
Good 3 points, average performance. Gouffran perfect for this league, real grafter. Shelvey seems to have a big attitude problem #NUFC— Jack Moore (@JackyM95) August 17, 2016
Gouffran deserved an applause off. He put effort in, which he didn't do when he got stick from us. Give and take really.— Gary Allan (@GAfatman) August 17, 2016
Gouffran played well dummet was captain and we won 4-1 who saw this day come— Øli (@mbembababa) August 17, 2016
Credit to Gouffran. Hasn't played a competitive game for as long as I can remember, but put a decent shift in. A key squad player perhaps?— Martin Thompson (@MST2810) August 17, 2016
Gouffran, first name on the team sheet from now on https://t.co/91Pp7qM5L7— Nick (@nbarber87) August 17, 2016
Gouffran applauded off the field - he's been good tonight, two important contributions #nufc— Chris Waugh (@ChrisDHWaugh) August 17, 2016
Decent performance. Ritchie, Hayden, Gayle, Mbemba excellent & a little mention to Gouffran, deserved his standing ovation. Roll on Bristol!— Andy (@AndyP1892) August 17, 2016
Does Gouffran still have something to offer at Newcastle?