Honours Even For Saints In Le Nord Est – Match Report: Newcastle 1-1 Southampton

Southampton came from behind to hold Newcastle United to a draw in an enthralling contest at St. James’ Park. Despite the Saints’ early season form falling away in recent matches, […]

Match Reports Newcastle United Premier League Southampton

Southampton came from behind to hold Newcastle United to a draw in an enthralling contest at St. James’ Park.

Despite the Saints’ early season form falling away in recent matches, last weekend’s impressive result against Manchester City would have given hope to the Southampton faithful that a first win on Tyneside since 1997 was on the cards. However, with further injuries at the back and the absence of Adam Lallana from the starting line up, an end to the visitor’s four match winless streak looked unlikely.

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Newcastle began the stronger of the two sides, forcing an early episode of panic when Jack Cork misread a dangerous low cross from Yoan Gouffran, allowing the ball to roll past Paulo Gazzaniga and into the path of Loic Remy. Fortunately for the visitors however, Calum Chambers was present to deny the striker on the line.

Despite a short spell of Southampton attacking play, Newcastle took what was an ultimately deserved lead in the 27th minute. After a free-kick from the halfway line was swung into the box, Mike Williamson was on hand to knock the ball down into the path of Jos Hooiveld. What should have been a simple clearance however, became a golden opportunity for Gouffran as the defender missed the ball and allowed the Frenchman to score his fourth goal in five home games.

Newcastle clearly took confidence from the goal, asserting their dominance on the game by creating several half chances before half time. Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino made two changes during the interval, replacing the ineffectual Pablo Osvaldo and James Ward-Prwose with Adam Lallana and Morgan Schneiderlin respectively.

Newcastle continued from where they left off come the start of the second half, with Remy’s saved snapshot half-volley from the edge of the box the pick of the chances. Come the hour mark however and Southampton moved up a gear. Two minutes after a promising Lallana cutback was missed by all of his teammates, the visitors broke from the Newcastle half with pace. Jay Rodriguez drove through the centre of the field, playing a one-two with Steven Davis then neatly slotting the return pass into the bottom corner of the net.

Tab StatThe home side responded to the goal well, carving out several opportunities with which they could have regained the lead. The most promising of which came about after a mistake from Saints ‘keeper Paulo Gazzaniga, the young Argentine miskicking the ball straight into the path of Remy who was unable to convert from inside the box. The Magpies, and in particular Hatem Ben Arfa, continued to probe at the Southampton defence, however Pochettino’s makeshift backline stood firm and ensured the Saints left with a point.

Writer’s Comment: A draw was probably a fair result here. Both sides were missing their best players from their starting line ups yet the quality did not seem to suffer. After some disappointing results in recent weeks, the Saints can be pleased with two points against Newcastle and Manchester City, especially with the amount of players they had missing.

Man Of The Match: Cheikh Tiote – After a disappointing season last time round, the Ivorian appears to be regaining the confidence that made him such a bulldog when he first came to England. He was all over Southampton today, biting at ankles and getting in players’ faces –  the kind of player any team needs.

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