West Bromwich Albion (h) Premier League
32 mins Jonas Gutierrez committed a foul that earned him a booking and Albion a free kick in a dangerous area down their right flank towards the Newcastle goal. Striker Victor Anichebe pulled away from alleged marker Ryan Taylor to head home ex-mackem Craig Gardner's centre. 0-1
41 mins Referee Chris Foy rather kindly decided that Youssouf Mulumbu's barge on Jack Colback down the United left was worthy of a free kick and although Ryan Taylor seemed to scuff his delivery, it reached Ayoze Perez. The Spaniard took a touch with his right foot and neatly teed himself up to find the far corner of the Leazes net with a low left-footer from 12 yards. 1-1
Half time: Magpies 1 Baggies 1
Full time: Magpies 1 Baggies 1
"They were all 6'4" centre-halves
at the back, we had 5'7" jockeys, and that's something we have got to
look at because set-plays are important.
ďI think our fans understand though what these guys are having to do for the cause. We went 1-0 down from another set-piece but showed some character. We didn't show that last week at Leicester and it was good to see.
"The brilliant thing for me was that it was like being in a football stadium again. Everybody was so focused on the football, including me.I thought the fans were fantastic, and that's not me playing lip service, that's from the heart.
"A point might be huge, but the more important thing for me is the
performance. The performance showed that there are people - and I include
myself in that - up for this fight.
"One thing I would say is when you see a performance like that -and hopefully it's not too late - is that the players do care and they do want to stay in the Premier League.
"It was a great reaction from the fans and it affected the reaction of the players. They showed great character and determination to come back.
"From the first whistle to the last there was one team trying to win the game and one team trying to stay in the game and wait for a set play.
"It's just like another week in my world, isn't it? And I'm going to finish on
this: it's been a tough week, there's been an awful lot said.
"Youíve got all that
weighing on you and the pressure can build. The most important thing is learning
to manage the pressure so it doesnít spill over and you donít get involved in
anything silly or stupid. To handle your players youíve got to learn to manage
a wonderful club, a wonderful place and a wonderful stadium. The supportís
absolutely fantastic Ė all they want is a winning team.
"I donít like my reputation, as a man
who just keeps sides up. Iím trying to get away from it. This was the toughest
of the lot in lots of respects so I'm pleased personally for the players, the
chairman, the staff and especially the supporters.
Newcastle managed to halt their disastrous run of defeats at the ninth time of asking on Saturday, earning a point thanks to a first half equaliser from Ayoze Perez.However it was Burnley's win at Hull City that was the biggest plus for John Carver's side, as other results left them in some peril.
Those scorelines included an improbable 2-0 win for the mackems at Everton, while Leicester struck twice early against the Saints. When combined with going behind to Albion, United actually dropped to third bottom for a nine minute period until Perez struck.
Sean Dyche's Clarets broke their own winless streak and scoring duck at the KC Stadium but failed to preserve their Premier League status and pushed Steve Bruce's Tigers nearer to oblivion.
Our next opponents QPR were then relegated after losing 0-6 at Manchester City 24 hours later, meaning that the fight to avoid that third bottom spot becomes a five-way tussle between Hull, ourselves, the mackems, Leicester and Villa.
With two games left, avoiding defeat against the Throstles saw the Magpies end the day out of the drop zone but occupying seventeenth - their lowest position since last October. Victory for Villa at Southampton on Saturday lunchtime would see Tim Sherwood complete his rescue mission with a game to spare and leave four teams in peril - of whom Newcastle have the worst goal difference.
Despite losing four successive games on home territory, a well-filled St. James' Park applauded the Magpies on to the field - the published crowd of just under 48,000 looking to be reflected in the actual attendance this week at least.
Aside from an early foray by Moussa Sissoko and danger when Craig Dawson headed a corner against the post, Gallowgate snoozed in the spring sunshine for most of the opening half hour.
At that point Sissoko brought the crowd to life when his goalbound effort was blocked in the six yard box and a Jonas Gutierrez foul seconds later earned him a booking and Albion a free kick in a dangerous area - although that's not saying much given our current leakiness.
Victor Anichebe could be relied upon to find the net against us in his Everton days and he duly obliged again - the sixth time in four games that we've conceded from or following a set piece.
Letting in that goal brought about a brief chorus of groans, boos and abuse from some home fans, with the extra security staff stationed around the home dugout readying themselves for a more tangible reaction. However that moment of ill will soon passed and gave way to roars of encouragement as United drove upfield in search of an equaliser that wasn't long in arriving.
For a change it was the black and whites who fashioned something from a free kick, with Perez perfectly potting Ryan Taylor's short-pitched delivery. In truth that was as good as it got for a Newcastle side who lacked accuracy and inspiration and were grateful to Paul Dummett's block that deflected Chris Brunt's effort from point blank range on to post and bar.
A handful of half-chances did fall to the home side, with Sissoko's effort saved, Remy Cabella shooting just over and substitute Sammy Ameobi sending an overhead kick narrowly over the crossbar in the closing seconds.
Albion knew they would mathematically retain top flight status with a point and soaked up pressure in the closing stages without truly going on the offensive - the highly-rated Saida Berahino coming off the bench for the final 20 minutes but threatening Tim Krul's goal just once.
Throwing on a ring-rusty Papiss Cisse after one training session in seven weeks was a desperate attempt to conjure up a moment of inspiration that never looked likely - the number 9 having used up his luck against the Baggies in 2012 when scoring a 93rd minute winner with his arse...
Cisse's return did provide a timely reminder of our continued poor service to front men though (when we have any that is) the Gallic Mike Larnach wearing 29 once again doing little to suggest he can get on the end of anything other than a Greggs croissant.
While Cisse may be more of a threat against QPR, the return of Daryl Janmaat following suspension may be as telling as United go in search of points to avert disaster. Our fate remains in our own hands, but parallels with 2009 remain when we also sat in seventeenth with two games to play - only to lose them both by a single goal, having apparently thought we'd done the hard work.
Many of those in the squad won't know that, but messrs Krul, Taylor and Gutierrez looked on from the bench that day at Villa while Coloccini played. Hopefully the harsh lessons learned that day haven't been forgotten. The rot has been stopped, but we remain some way from safety.