It was a tight 2-2 draw on Sunday as Newcastle's hopes of getting their first win in over a month was snatched away by Manolo Gabbiadini's brace that included a penalty in the last fifteen minutes. It was a game Newcastle tried their hardest to win, but it just wasn't going to go their way in the end.
Florian Lejeune finally made his first appearance for Newcastle since his injury against Spurs, replacing Ciaran Clark in the center-half position. Mikel Merino was dropped for Isaac Hayden (probably because of the international games)
For Southampton, Gabbiadini came back into the starting 11 and Steven Davies was dropped although he did come on as a substitute in the second half.
Match (First Half)
The first half was far from one sided with the first major chance of the game going to Southampton with just 15 minutes on the clock as Nathan Redmond put in a great cross for Serbian Dušan Tadić who found himself free and unmarked in the box, only for the Serbian midfielder to head it right over the bar. But just a minute later there was a big chance down the other end when Fraser Forster's nightmare game began when he took a massive touch from a pass back that Ayoze Perez almost deflected into the Southampton net.
Newcastle kept the pressure going after this, as 3 minutes later, Christian Atsu responded to a Matt Ritchie cross with a good effort, but his shot was blocked by full-back Maya Yoshida. Luckily, the ball bounced out of the box to Isaac Hayden, who was just waiting for the ball to come out for him as he smashed it into the bottom left corner of the goal, sending Fraser Forster the wrong way in the process.
Unfortunately, once we scored the goal the Newcastle attacks suddenly dried up and our all-round quality declined. Spending the rest of the half being dominated and praying that Southampton wouldn't score. They had a big chance to do exactly that when defender Van Dijk headed the ball just wide of the post from a corner after Rob Elliot missed a punch on the 22nd minute.
Southampton had multiple other chances to score an equalizer afterwards too, like when Shane Long's header after a great Southampton move almost found Gabbiadini, but he couldn't reach the ball. Dusan Tadic also had a shot from inside the box which ended up being deflected over the bar.
The second half of the game proved to be even more two-sided than the first half, Joselu hitting the bar 2 minutes in before Gabbiadini scored Southampton's equalizer another two minutes after that, with Manquillo being at fault for it. The Italian striker easily ran through the side of the box as Manquillo ran with him like a marathon jogger with his arm slightly out. Unsurprisingly, the ball was calmly slotted into the bottom corner of the net.
However, Southampton's joy wouldn't last long, 86 seconds to be precise as Ayoze Perez had his first attempt on the break parried out straight back to him, which let him easily tap it in near post which Fraser Forster was not even near.
Not long after, DeAndre Yedlin could've been sent off for a bad slide tackle on Nathan Redmond which should've been his second yellow of the game. After viewing the replay from another angle though it becomes clear that Isaac Hayden was luckily blocking the referee's view of the challenge, so he couldn't actually see what happened so he chose to not give a red card, much to this dislike of the Southampton faithful.
after about 20 minutes of hardly having any real attacks and taking Ayoze Perez off for Merino the one time he has a good game and bringing on Dwight Gayle for some unknown reason, Lejeune ended up spoiling his performance by giving away a daft penalty when he went full force into Shane Long after the Irishman had already kicked the ball away from the goal. Manolo Gabbiadini took the resulting penalty and smashed it into the far right hand side where Rob Elliot couldn't reach. Making the score level at 2-2 once again.
Once we conceded for the second time we woke up again, putting the pressure on with several attempts including a Matt Ritchie first time shot that would've probably gone if not for Van Dijk who blocked the shot with his HAND. Not long after, there was a free kick that Ritchie almost curled in after Shelvey simply rolled it to him. However, once we took off Christian Atsu for Jacob Murphy, our pacey attacks stopped and we just didn't look like scoring.
But in the last minute we almost did, Florian Lejeune connecting perfectly with a corner from Matt Ritchie, only for his shot to be cleared off the line by midfielder Stephen Davis. What a beautiful moment it would've been if it had only gone in.
As the game ended many toon fans couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed. Losing the lead twice is not a very easy thing to take when we haven't won for a while. Luckily for us our next game is Crystal Palace at home, who only scored their first two goals and got their first win of the season last Saturday against Chelsea. It was a great win for Palace, but that doesn't change the fact that they are bottom of the league and that we're playing at our own ground. Realistically, we should be winning this game two or three nil. But football is a crazy sport and crazy results can happen. We'll just have to see what will happen when we get there on Saturday.