Newcastle United and Leeds United served up a thrilling Friday night encounter with an action-packed 1-1 draw at St James’ Park.
Both sides went into the match in search of a first win of the campaign after a difficult first few games, although it was the home side who were seemingly under more pressure to perform, with manager Steve Bruce facing intense scrutiny as his future at the club continues to look uncertain.
The Magpies boss would have been hoping for a fast start to ease the tense atmosphere inside St James’ Park, yet it was the visitors who started brightest. The ever-impressive Raphinha giving his side the lead through a speculative curling effort from the right flank that deceived the returning Karl Darlow, following a clever dummy from Rodrigo.
That early opener unsurprisingly raised the tension levels and anger among the home support, yet the hosts responded well to falling behind, with Joelinton going close after good work from Allan Saint-Maximin down the right, while Matt Richie also struck the post.
In a breathless first-half, the dynamic duo of Raphinha and Rodrigo continued to wreak havoc for the away side on the break, although it was the hosts who did eventually get the goal their response deserved through talisman Saint-Maximin, the Frenchman weaving his way through a crowded penalty area before dispatching an excellent finish past Illan Meslier from the angle.
That frantic tempo continued after the interval with both ‘keepers called into action, Darlow first forced to claw away Jamal Lascelles’ wayward header, while at the other end Leeds stopper Meslier produced a strong save to deny the relentless Saint-Maximin.
The former Nice winger was again denied by his compatriot late on following a blistering counter-attack, while prior to that Patrick Bamford also squandered an excellent opportunity to put his side ahead with a weak effort on his right foot.
As it was neither side could produce that telling blow as the game ended in a – albeit entertaining – draw, meaning the wait goes on to end the winless run for both clubs.