Newcastle disappointingly bottled a 2-0 lead in the last ten minutes against Bournemouth on Saturday, mainly thanks to some questionable substitutions which forced the toon to take a 'backs to the wall' approach for the last fifteen minutes of the match. The toon missed a huge opportunity to go tenth in the table and be one step closer to safety, however this match has caused them to be right back in the mix at fifteenth place.
Substitutions: Kennedy OFF, Atsu ON 64' Gayle OFF, Hayden ON (???) 78' Ritchie OFF, Manquillo ON (!?!?!) 84'
Match (First Half)
Newcastle had a bright start to the half and within the first 20 minutes they'd took the league after Jonjo Shelvey's impressive lobbed ball found Matt Ritchie on the right wing. The Scotsman put in a low cross towards Dwight Gayle who back-heeled the ball into the net for his first goal since December.
Moments later, Matt Ritchie almost bagged one for himself when his curling effort from outside the box just missed the left post.
Newcastle remained in control for the majority of the half, however nothing major was happening until near the end of it when Newcastle bagged their second through Gayle again. This time it was following a dodgy corner from Kenedy that bounced back out to the left side of the box where it was crossed in by Paul Dummett, the ball found Perez just inside the area before his low cross deflected off of Asmir Begovic and into the path of Gayle for an easy tap in. The half finished 2-0 to Newcastle.
Match (Second Half)
In the second half Newcastle really should've gone 4-0 up. But before that, Bournemouth had a penalty appeal turned down after Cherries winger Ryan Fraser cleverly made it look like Jamaal Lascelles had booted the Scottish International in the head, but referee Roger East was having none of it and luckily didn't give anything.
In the 72nd minute, a Dwight Gayle free kick from the right hand side of the box ended up deflecting through the wall to Ayoze Perez who was through on goal, yet the Spaniard leaned back way too far and blasted it over the bar. A horrendous miss that should've put the toon 3-0 up, but worse was yet to come...
Seven minutes later, Christian Atsu passed up the opportunity to shoot one on one with the keeper so he could square it across to Jonjo Shelvey in front of an open goal, he ended up embarrassingly smashing it way wide of the post. And just 60 seconds later, it would come back to haunt us.
After a quick Bournemouth counter attack, Lewis Cook responded to Josh King's pass by laying off the ball to midfielder Adam Smith who smashed the ball in off the crossbar with his right foot. An unstoppable goal, but it should've been nothing but a consolation.
Since we had taken Dwight Gayle off, we had no striker to try and restore our lead, or even get an attack. And it was confirmed that we were going to yet again sit and defend for the last 10 minutes when we took Matt Ritchie off for... Javier Manquillo.
Unsurprisingly, Bournemouth got a scrappy equalizer in the 89th minute after every Newcastle player in the box forgot to mark Dan Gosling in the six-yard-box who smashed the ball into the top corner. And in extra time, Newcastle had to defend corner after corner with their lives. The match ended 2-2.
The next game is on Saturday 3rd of March when Newcastle make the trip down to Anfield to face Liverpool away. Unfortunately, Islam Slimani is still injured and Liverpool have never lost at home in the league this season, so even a point would be a blessing for the magpies. However, Liverpool have slipped up against the likes of West Brom and Swansea this year so there IS a chance that there could be a major upset when the game finally comes around.