NEWCASTLE, England (Reuters) - Newcastle United shook off the effects of a COVID-19 outbreak at the club when Miguel Almiron netted the fastest Premier League goal of the season and Dwight Gayle scored a late winner in a 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Victory moved Newcastle up to 11th in the standings as Steve Bruce's side played their first match in two weeks after their fixture against Aston Villa was postponed when several squad members and staff tested positive for COVID-19.
Almiron fired Newcastle ahead after 20 seconds when a mistake by Branislav Ivanovic allowed the hosts to counter-attack and Joelinton found the Paraguayan midfielder unmarked in the box as West Brom scrambled to recover.
The visitors equalised five minutes after the restart when Matt Phillips's cross was met by Darnell Furlong who stretched to place a sweet, low volley into the bottom corner.
Substitute Gayle nearly made it 2-1 a minute after coming on in the 70th minute -- his first appearance of the season -- when he out-muscled his marker to head on a corner kick towards the goal, only to see Phillips clear it off the line.
However, Gayle restored Newcastle's lead against his former club in the 82nd minute when he connected with fellow substitute Jacob Murphy's cross and his bullet header into the top corner hit the underside of the bar on its way into the net.
The result left West Brom in the relegation zone at 19th with six points from 12 games, increasing pressure on manager Slaven Bilic who is in danger of being sacked during the busy December schedule.
West Brom travel to Manchester City next on Tuesday while Newcastle are away to Leeds United a day later.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond and Clare Fallon)
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