Birmingham 0 Newcastle 0 – Saturday 18 Match 2017 3pm
After a really poor first half Newcastle did improve after the break.
However, even though Kuszczak made a few excellent saves to keep United out, it must still go down as a really disappointing waste of a chance to really pile the pressure on Huddersfield.
Wagner’s team losing 4-0 on Friday night had allowed Newcastle the chance to go nine points clear but now Huddersfield fans will still be thinking that winning their game in hand will put them only four points behind United.
Birmingham had only won two of their last 18 matches and hadn’t scored more than one goal at home since mid-December, rarely if ever did they look as though that was going to change.
Karl Darlow only had one save to make and as you can see from the stats below, Newcastle only managed three efforts on target themselves.
Despite dominating possession (65%) and shots (17 v 9), a second goalless draw in the last three matches is disappointing.
Many will wonder about the team selection and also wonder why it wasn’t worth keeping Murphy on when Gayle was introduced with just under half an hour left.
Shelvey may have been ill this week but surely if he could play the last 12 minutes he could have been introduced a little earlier.
Same with the more attacking Christian Atsu, who was only given eight minutes in place of Yoan Gouffran.
Newcastle fans will hope Brighton don’t win what looks their most difficult remaining game at Elland Road this teatime (5.30pm kick-off). The Championship table will look so much better if Newcastle can head into the international break still on top.
Not a disaster today but certainly two points that slipped away.
Full match report to follow.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Birmingham 0 Newcastle 0
Possession was Birmingham 35% Newcastle 65%
Total shots were Birmingham 9 Newcastle 17
Shots on target were Birmingham 1 Newcastle 3
Corners were Birmingham 3 Newcastle 5
Referee: Simon Hooper
Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Hanley, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Colback, Gouffran (Atsu 82), Perez (Shelvey 78), Murphy (Gayle 63)
Elliot, Gamez, Mbemba, Mitrovic
Crowd: 19,796 (Newcastle 3,300)