Newcastle United’s Premier League survival hopes were again dashed as Joao Pedro’s late header earned Watford a vital point in a 1-1 draw at St. James’ Park.
Newcastle United squandered the opportunity to claw out of the relegation zone as they suffered another heartbreak after Joao Pedro headed in a late equaliser for the visitors in their Premier League encounter at St. James’ Park on Saturday. Newcastle have now dropped 21 points from a winning position after this match, and their failure to see out games could be a fatal blow to their survival bid.
The Magpies got off to a positive start; they pressed high, held the lion’s share of the possession, and dominated the first half. Joelinton rattled the crossbar with an improvised volley while he sent another one just wide from Ryan Fraser’s pinpoint cross inside the opening 20 minutes.
Allan Saint-Maximin put them ahead four minutes after the interval with a stunning solo effort, snatching the ball after a mistake by Jeremy Ngakia and cutting inside before slamming home at the near post. Newcastle appeared to be on their way to a much-needed second win of the season while climbing out of the bottom three.
However, the visitors had different plans. The Hornets increased their pressure and started knocking on the door. Joshua King and Moussa Sissoko spurned great chances as Newcastle seemed to be weathering the storm rather than capitalising on their early domination. In the 88th minute, Joao Pedro got ahead of Jamaal Lascelles to superbly head home Kiko Femenia’s teasing cross to steal a share of the spoils for his side.
FULL-TIME Newcastle 1-1 Watford
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 15, 2022
It was another crushing result for Eddie Howe’s side, who still have only one win after 20 league games and languish at 19th in the table below Norwich City, who took a sharp jump to 18th after a surprise 2-1 win over Everton. After another disappointment at St. James’ Park, The Hard Tackle will now run the rule over Eddie Howe’s men.
Martin Dubravka: 6/10
Dubravka was rarely called into action in the first half but made a flurry of comfortable saves just after Newcastle’s opener. The Slovakian international made a tremendous save to deny King in a 1v1 in the second half as Newcastle tried to hold onto their slender lead. He could not have done much with Watford’s equaliser.
Kieran Trippier: 7/10
Trippier struck up a decent partnership on the right flank with Ryan Fraser and looked threatening at times in the first half with the crosses into the box. He provided surprisingly little going forward in the second period but was solid defensively, managing 5 tackles, 4 interceptions and 2 blocks during the game. He looked the most composed Newcastle defender under pressure and had a match-high 95 touches.
Jamaal Lascelles: 6/10
Lascelles looked steady for large parts of the game, but his afternoon was ruined when he let Pedro beat him in the air for the equaliser. The Newcastle skipper was supreme in the air and won a dozen aerial duels but ironically missed the most important one. Involved in a physical battle with Josh King for the majority of the afternoon, he did rather well against the Hornets’ front-man.
The 28-year-old was aggressive in his defending and frequently snatched the ball in midfield. He also made a horrible error, miscuing a routine square pass, enabling Emmanuel Dennis to play in an unmarked Moussa Sissoko through on goal. But the Frenchman fired his shot narrowly wide as St. James’ Park heaved a sigh of relief.
Fabian Schar: 6/10
A decent defensive showing from Schar, who was also a significant threat from set-pieces. He was typically in the right place at the core of Newcastle’s defence and won a number of vital headers. However, he was very erratic with his passing and completed only 2 of his 10 attempted long balls.
Paul Dummett: 7/10
After six months on the sidelines, Dummett was restored to the side ahead of Matt Ritchie and Jamal Lewis, and he justified his selection with a strong performance. He won numerous duels and put his body on the line on a crucial day. Dennis was contained brilliantly by the veteran, who gave the Nigerian little room to manoeuvre. Dummett offered Newcastle much-needed stability, but he was beaten marginally to the ball as Kiko Femina crossed for Watford’s equaliser.
Jonjo Shelvey: 6/10
Shelvey showcased his quality in the first half in the deep-lying midfielder role and helped the Magpies control possession. His distribution was fairly good as he completed 8 successful long-balls, one of which was an indirect assist to Allan Saint-Maximin for his goal. However, his performance levels fell in the second half as he gave the ball away rashly on several occasions.
Sean Longstaff: 5/10
He was a bit of a threat in the first half with his late intelligent movements but could not create much for the attackers on the day despite his best attempts. Longstaff snapped into several key tackles and dug deep. Overall, it was a poor showing from the Newcastle academy graduate as his deliveries into the box lacked the cutting edge.
Ryan Fraser: 6/10
Fraser played a mediocre game at best. He performed effectively in the second half and tried to create chances. However, he could not have much of an impact on the game apart from his crosses into the box and was replaced midway through the second half.
Joelinton was again the stand-out player on the day and arguably the man of the match. The Brazilian ran his socks off and broke up the play admirably with clever interceptions, tackles and determination to get about the pitch, winning the midfield battle against Sissoko in the process.
He was positive in possession and brought the ball forward nicely through tight areas with effective ball control and dribbling. However, he passed up a few golden opportunities early in the game, which he should be burying all day long.
Allan Saint-Maximin: 7/10
🗣 "You can see my face, I'm really disappointed tonight."
Allan Saint-Maximin not happy with the manner in which Newcastle threw away three points pic.twitter.com/DYOtE2t6E5
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) January 15, 2022
Saint-Maximin had a rather quiet first half before springing into life after the break to make the difference. He was really sluggish in possession and gave the ball away cheaply in dangerous areas. He misplaced most of his passes, and the end-product was missing again.
Having said that, he scored an artistic goal, pouncing on Jeremy Ngakia’s error on the right flank, and it was a fantastic finish as he cut inside on his right foot before blasting the ball past Ben Foster to give his side the lead. The Frenchman’s game-changing quality could be precious for the Magpies in this relegation fight.
Chris Wood: 6/10
Wood brought his promised set of attributes to the table, competing for everything thrown his way and becoming a real handful for opposition defenders. He could not make much of an impression on his debut in front of a raucous crowd at St. James’ Park. He headed a couple of half-chances over the bar in the first half and would be disappointed as he failed to register a single shot on target.
Jacob Murphy: N/A
Murphy was not involved much as the Magpies tried to soak up the pressure in the last quarter. He had just 6 touches and pressed high.
Miguel Almiron: N/A
Did not play enough to warrant a rating.