Chief Sports Writer Scott Wilson selects Rafael Benitez's most memorable five games as Newcastle United manager

Newcastle United 5 Tottenham 1 (May 15, 2016)

The Northern Echo:

With relegation having been confirmed at Villa Park the previous weekend, Newcastle’s final game of the 2015-16 season should have been a wake. Instead, it was an emotional bonding exercise, with a packed St James’ Park imploring Rafael Benitez to stay.

On the pitch, Newcastle ripped Spurs apart, with two goals from Gini Wijnaldum and further strikes from Aleksandar Mitrovic, Rolando Aarons and Daryl Janmaat ensuring a bitterly disappointing season would end on a rare high.

Brighton 1 Newcastle United 2 (Feb 28, 2017)

The Northern Echo:

The final day of the Championship season was unforgettable, with a 3-0 home win over Barnsley clinching the title, but the night when promotion felt inevitable came a couple of months earlier on the south coast.

Trailing to Brighton, Newcastle equalised with nine minutes left when Mo Diame somehow deflected Christian Atsu’s shot into the net. Pandemonium followed when Ayoze Perez drilled home an 89th-minute winner.

Newcastle United 1 Manchester United 0 (Feb 10, 2018)

The Northern Echo:

Newcastle were deep in relegation trouble when Manchester United visited Gallowgate in the second half of the Magpies’ return season in the Premier League.

Matt Ritchie’s precise low finish settled things as Martin Dubravka performed heroics on his Newcastle debut, keeping out Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Michael Carrick. The win sparked a run of results that would eventually lift the Magpies into the top half of the table.

Newcastle United 2 Manchester City 1 (Jan 29, 2019)

The Northern Echo:

A rout looked on the cards when Sergio Aguero scored in the very first minute of title-chasing Manchester City’s game at St James’ Park last season.

But after Salomon Rondon fired Newcastle level, Matt Ritchie converted a winner from the penalty spot after Sean Longstaff was fouled in the box. It would be the only time Manchester City dropped league points in the whole of the second half of the season.

Fulham 0 Newcastle United 4 (May 21, 2019)

The Northern Echo:

It might have been a meaningless end-of-season dead rubber, but few Newcastle fans that witnessed Benitez’s final game will forget it in a hurry.

Newcastle ran riot at Craven Cottage, with goals from Jonjo Shelvey, Ayoze Perez, Fabian Schar and Salomon Rondon securing their biggest win of the season. It felt like the start of a new era – instead it proved to be the end of Benitez’s reign.