Newcastle are still searching for their first win after a defensive blunder on Tuesday night meant they drew 1-1 with relegation rivals Norwich City.
It was a frustrating introduction to life at St James’ Park for Eddie Howe as Ciaran Clark saw red inside eight minutes after a piece of brainless defending.
It was a strange affair under the lights as the Magpies once again lost ground in their battle for Premier League safety.
After Clark’s dismissal, Fraser was sacrificed and replaced by Federico Fernandez.
Callum Wilson gave Newcastle an unexpected lead courtesy of a second half penalty, before Martin Dubravka failed to catch the ball from a cross and gifted the opposition an equaliser late in the game.
The ‘keeper then became a hero, making a vital stop in injury time to prevent the Canaries from taking all three points back to Norfolk.
Howe was forced to make defensive changes as Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie served their one-match suspensions. This meant long-awaiting recalls to the starting eleven for Jamal Lewis and Javi Manquillo as the home side reverted to a back four.
The new system was foolishly dismantled inside the first ten minutes of the game after Clark’s woeful clearance cannoned off Norwich striker Teemu Puki and prompted the Irish international to deliberately pull down his man who was through on goal.
The home fans prayed for a VAR reprieve but it didn’t come.
Referee Andy Madley had no doubts and despite the ball coming off Pukki’s hand, the new ruling meant the decision wasn’t overturned.
Newcastle’s 10-men dealt easily with a poor Canaries side who lacked any real attacking threat; Jamal Lewis blocked a shot from Striker Josh Sargent which proved to be the best chance of the half for the visitors.
Howe moved to a 4-3-2 set up and his side produced a couple of promising moments. Jonjo Shelvey fired over after loud shouts of “shoot” from the home fans. Joelinton followed suit moments later.
After an attacking run from Joe Willock on the left wing, the ball found its way to Callum Wilson inside the box who replicated his teammates and failed to hit the target.
The second half began much like the first.
But when man of the match Joelinton felt he was brought down in the opposition box, the fans turned on the referee. The 25-year old was incandescent and was right to be.
Moments later his teammates were unified in their protests as Jonjo Shelvey’s corner found the head of Federico Fernandez. The ball fired towards goal before hitting the outstretched arm of Billy Gilmour.
After a long VAR review, Newcastle were given a lifeline.
Callum Wilson converted from the spot to make it 1-0 to the home side. Tim Krul in the Norwich goal was visibly disappointed as he parried the spot kick onto the underside of the bar, before it hit the back of the net.
This gave St James’ Park a lift and seemingly with VAR, the more you complain the more likely you are to get a VAR call in your favour.
Unlike at Arsenal where a number of dubious incidents in the opposition box were ignored, the Newcastle players made a song and dance about the penalty claim – eventually getting the decision in their favour.
Now all that was left to do was keep the Canaries out for the remainder of the game and things were going well until the 79th minute.
Minutes before Newcastle made two defensive changes which saw Miguel Almiron and Isaac Hayden enter the fray in replace of a leggy Joe Willock and exhausted Saint-Maximin. However, this pragmatic move to a more structured line-up seemed to backfire instantly.
The ball was whipped in on the Norwich right towards the back post where Slovak goalkeeper Dubravka spilled the cross into the path of the onrushing full back who played a looped it back into the middle.
Time seemed to go in slow motion as the ball floated towards the penalty spot where it was met by Finish striker Teemu Pukki who placed an impressive volley into the top corner.
Now the question was if Newcastle could hold on…
The home side pushed for an unlikely winner as the majority of players looked dead on their feet, having gave it their all. However, the Magpies rarely threatened as the visiting Canaries bore down on the Leazers end goal.
Newcastle nearly served up another gift in stoppage time as Fabian Schar tried a ridiculous Cruyff style turn before being dispossessed by freshly substituted Pierre Lees-Melou who rushed towards the box.
His driven right-footed effort was saved dramatically by the outstretched leg of Dubravka who diverted the ball over the bar.
Some more mindless defending.
Despite a valiant effort from the ten-men in black and white, the result feels demoralising given the current predicament as Newcastle still search for their first win of the season.
Things were made worse by Leeds’ late winner from the spot in the other Premier League game on Tuesday evening, leaving Newcastle six points from safety and Watford have a game on hand in 17th position.
However, for fans to boo that performance given the context of the game is hard to understand – if you boo that you don’t know much about football…
Only Ciaran Clark has answers for his pathetic display of brainless defending, which from an international standard player is hard to believe. He was at fault for his clumsy tackle that gave Brighton their penalty a few weeks ago and wouldn’t be at any other forward-looking club but Newcastle have been a team lacking for too many years.
Yes, he’s a liability but he is not the only one.
Failure to keep clean sheets means the Magpies are heading in only one direction – towards the Championship. They have entered uncharted territory having failed to win on the fourteenth occasion this season, with no team ever reaching safety from that position.
All attention now turns to another must-win battle against fellow strugglers Burnley on Saturday afternoon at SJP. A challenging Christmas fixture list leaves Newcastle in a precarious position.
The Mags may already be too far adrift come January where Howe is expected to spend big in the transfer window.
Dubravka (5), Lewis (6), Clark (0), Schar (6), Manquillo (6), Shelvey (7), Willock (5), Saint-Maximin (7), Fraser (n/a), Joelinton (9), Wilson (7)
Subs: Federico Fernandez (6), Miguel Almiron (6), Isaac Hayden (6)
Man of the match: Joelinton
“I’m hugely disappointed we couldn’t get over the line and win the game, but I think we saw really positive signs in terms of defensive resilience and collective spirit. We’re going to need that for what lays ahead.
“In the cold light of day, Ciaran (Clark) probably would have made a different decision, but in that moment, probably an impulse has made him stop the striker and it probably is a red card.
“These things happen in the game, my immediate reaction wasn’t really to focus on that, it was to figure out very quickly what we had to do, try and find a solution to the problem.
“The last thing I wanted to do was take Ryan Fraser off the pitch, but I felt I needed to do that for the team. Fede (Fernandez) came in and I thought he was absolutely magnificent tonight.
“We were desperate for three points today. We’ve got the one, but I have to cling to what I’ve seen in terms of what the players have delivered, the spirit, giving more, maybe more than what they thought they were physically capable of. We’re going to need that in the battle that we have ahead.
“We know we need wins, draws aren’t going to be enough. But I think all you can do in every game is give your all and I think you saw a group of players who gave that tonight. I couldn’t ask any more of those players who committed to the task ahead so I have to be very proud and pleased with them tonight.”
Post-match thoughts? Are you happy with the performance? Who was your man of the match? Will Newcastle claim their first win on Saturday against Burnley?
Join in the conversation and have your say…
Police Alerted After Newcastle United Fan Urinates On Statue Devoted to Sunderland Legend
Police have been alerted about social media footage which appears to show a Newcastle United fan urinating on a statue of Sunderland football legend Bob Stokoe.
The tribute, outside Sunderland’s Stadium of Light ground, recreates the late Stokoe’s famous dance across Wembley’s turf after he had masterminded the club’s 1-0 FA Cup final victory over Leeds United.
Footage has now emerged on social media of a male wearing a Newcastle United change shirt while apparently urinating on the statue.
In response to the images, a Sunderland Football Club spokesperson said on Monday: “This matter has been referred to the police and we will not be making any further comment at this moment in time.”
Stokoe, ironically, is also a hero and an FA Cup winner on Tyneside. Born in 1930 in Mickley, in Northumberland, the central defender made 261 appearances for Newcastle United and was a member of their 1955 FA Cup final winning team.
Arriving at Sunderland in November 1972 while they were struggling towards the bottom of Division Two, he plotted the club’s FA Cup final triumph in May the following year before guiding the Black Cats back to the top flight in 1976.
He resigned just months later following a poor start to their Division One. Stokoe died at the age of 73 in 2004 in Hartlepool after suffering from pneumonia.
Newcastle Fan Gets ‘Attacked’ by Aiden McGeady in Bar With Sunderland First Team
A video was published to Twitter which shows a Newcastle fan get ‘attacked’ by Aiden McGeady in a bar with the Sunderland first team.
Twitter user @rheppellhardy, who has since deleted his account following backlash, wrote a tweet on Wednesday night explaining what happened in a Stack venue, before the post started to gain traction.
He said: “Why the fuck has the actual Sunderland first team come and started on me and big Premier League Aiden McGeady ripped me top in the stack 🤣🤣🤣.
He issued the above video before captioning it with: “Someone who I’ve never heard of said how much are yous on ur skint 🤣 league 1 yina”
Again he wrote in another post: “Scuse me mate can a have a word, do you know who I am” 🤣🤣 No fucking clue mate”
There were plenty of reaction tweets too….
@worthy_noah: “I remember my first pint aswell mate”
@worthy_noah: “Not sure I went on like this much of a cock like”
@MackemTalk_: “You saw the state of you lad he’d Snap you in half But again You had to act like the Big man Because Your boyfriends where with you”
Did you see what happened?
Fans urged to clap at Newcastle match in memory of teen
Fans are being encouraged to clap at Newcastle match on Saturday in memory of teen who died from cancer.
Mason Kirk passed away suddenly from a rare form of cancer in January – ITV reports.
The family of the 17-year-old are urging people to clap at the 17th minute of the Newcastle vs Brighton match.
His dad Michael told ITV News Tyne Tees: “After complaining about back pain for several weeks and unsuccessful trips to a walk-in centre, and his GP, I took him to A&E where he received an MRI scan that showed lesions in his spine.
“We were transferred to the RVI, which is where we received a diagnosis no parent wants to hear – aggressive and inoperable late-stage ATRT cancer in his spine and brainstem”
“Mason died on the 27 January, just nine days after he was diagnosed.
“It’s took awhile for me to pull myself round (as I suffer from severe mental illness). So I decided to begin organising something to raise awareness of ATRT and teen cancer, and to pay tribute to our beautiful brave son.
“Mason was an avid Newcastle United fan, I took him to his first game when he was 6 and he caught the NUFC bug. Later, he and his friends bought season tickets.”
Michael continues: “Mason’s memory will live on through myself, his Mam Leanne, his little brother Alfy, cousin Liam and the rest of our family.
“He was the nucleus of our lives…our world is shattered but we cannot let our courageous son’s story go untold.”
“We realise things are tight for a lot of us at the minute but we’d like any donations to go to Great North Children’s Hospital or the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.”
ITV also said that Mason will feature in the programme.
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