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Newcastle 2 Southampton 2 – You just hate to see it happen this way

2 weeks ago

Newcastle 2 Southampton 2 – Saturday 28 August 3pm

So, it was the same line-up as against Villa, apart from the enforced Sean Longstaff for Isaac Hayden swap.

Hopefully it wasn’t to be the same performance as against Villa…

Some positivity from the off and a good run from Willock within the first minutes was certainly a good sign. Nothing much to separate the two teams in the first 10 minutes, a couple of good runs from ASM and Willock, versus some decent pressing from Southampton.

One notable thing to point out, was the ease with which Livramento was ambling into space out wide on the right, again highlighting our weakness at defending the wide spaces.

It quickly fell into the rhythm of Southampton attack and Newcastle waiting to punish them on the break. Very much a shoot-on-sight policy for Southampton, with the vast majority falling wide or high of the target. Much of the same for the next ten minutes or so, until, almost predictably, Wilson went down off the ball, cue gritted teeth and crossed fingers – looked to be ok though.

Whoever thought we needed reinforcements in the striker department?

Not two minutes later, miss of the season so far from Djenepo after some confused defending let Livramento put a golden chance invitingly straight across the face of goal. Bit of a let off there…

More of the same until some ASM magic won us a free kick on the half hour mark, free-kick just rippling the roof of the net from Murphy.

A few better counter-attacking chances following on but it really shouldn’t taken half an hour to wake up in a match should it?

A few more clumsy fouls conceded (again from wide areas) leading to more worrying moments, but the second led to a great counter attack from ASM, with eventually Wilson blazing over from a shot outside of the box. Certainly more signs of life in the last few minutes of the half, with the save of the game so far being brought from Wilson’s header via a corner. Strong end to the half but we were certainly the luckier team to get in at 0-0.

We came out with intent in the second half, with ASM hitting the side netting within the first few seconds. A few minutes later Djenepo bent a shot just wide of Woodman’s far post, another close call and another chance conceded from a wide area.

Much more even at the beginning of this half – I think Graeme may have reminded Steve about this novel concept called “pressing.” After using some of this strange alien concept (to Steve at least), a great passage of play between Ritchie, Murphy and ASM led to a chance and great goal as Wilson nodded us ahead!

Good pressure and defensive work to take advantage of a more nervous looking Southampton, who looked rather uncomfortable having to chase the game. Another really great chance as ASM whistled in a great cross agonisingly close to Joelinton, a whisker away from a tap in.

One fast counter later from the Saints and another undefended cross from a wide area led to a scruffy fumble home from Elyounoussi, they all count, and it was made 1-1. Some great defending followed up to deny an immediate response from Newcastle, just nudging a ball away from ASM bearing down on goal, and another great save from McCarthy to deny Murphy.

A bitty period of play as tired legs began to show, one good counter-attack led by Joelinton finding Fraser in the box, drawing a great save from McCarthy, but the rebound fell to our talisman ASM to stab home, clawing us back into the lead once again!

Cue another fun VAR drama in the 93rd minute and an eventual penalty against us, was it ever going to be any other way? So 2-2 and don’t you just love to have a win snatched from you…

All in all, given our feeble start, and Southampton’s missed chances, a draw may well have been fair. You just hate to see it happen in such a way.

A few points of note.

Wide spaces = Empty spaces

So many chances given up from the full back / wing back spaces, and with our centre backs crowding the box, we’re just allowing chances to come in easily.

Willock and Almiron were forced back to help out too often, which left ASM and Wilson isolated upfield – especially in the first half. This is something we will pay for sooner rather than later, and it’s a problem that needs fixing, 4-2-3-1 anyone?

Slow out of the blocks

With the way we started, we really could have been 2-0 down within 20 mins, if not more.

Again, this is something we’ll pay for sooner than later, and if we have more sluggish starts against better opposition, we’ll pay for it and we’ll be unable to recover lost ground, should we concede so early.

Why is Bruce in charge?

A big tactical change after half time, just after Graeme Jones comes down into the dugout? Must have been a coincidence right?

One particular picture struck me. As Joelinton was being readied to come on (cue the groans from the scapegoaters), Jones was giving him a talk, presumably tactical instructions, while Bruce wandered about on the touchline like a lost boy. Is this the leadership we need / want / deserve?

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 Southampton 2 – Saturday 28 August 3pm



Wilson 55, Saint-Maximin 90


Elyounoussi 74, Ward-Prowse (pen) 90+5

(In brackets the first half stats)

Possession was Southampton 65% (63%) Newcastle 35% (37%)

Total shots were Southampton 22 (11)  Newcastle 10 (4)

Shots on target were Southampton 6 (3) Newcastle 5 (1)

Corners were Southampton 4 (1) Newcastle 4 (1)

Referee: Paul Tierney

Newcastle United:

Woodman, Fernandez, Lascelles, Schar, Murphy, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Willock (Fraser 84), Ritchie, Wilson (Joelinton 67), Saint-Maximin

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Clark, Lewis, Hendrick, Krafth, Manquillo, Gayle

(Newcastle 2 Southampton 2 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s lucky draw – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 2 Southampton 2 – Wilson and ASM not enough to save NUFC from Steve Bruce negativity Read HERE)


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