A case of not finishing the job or just plain unlucky. Which ever way you look at it Newcastle dropped two precious points tonight in their hunt for both the Premier League and the Championship title.
Having watched Huddersfield win their game with a controversial injury time penalty and then Brighton ease past Wolves before kick off Rafa and his men knew they needed a positive result from this one. And whilst a point is not the end of the world it will likely mean that the Championship trophy will not be finding it’s way to SJP on the last day of the season. And with the gap to Huddersfield cut to 8 points (with NUFC having played a game more), all focus must continue to be just to secure that second spot now.
STARTING XI: Darlow, Anita, Mbemba, Lascelles, Dummett, Hayden (Colback 79), Shelvey, Ritchie (Yedlin, 84), Gouffran, Perez (Diame, 90), Mitrovic
Rafa will look back on this one, as will the fans, and rue the host of missed chances and a 95th minute equaliser that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
It is fair to say however that this was one of the best displays by the black and whites, and those on the terraces in creating a cracking atmosphere, that has been seen at home for some time.
No doubt fuelled by a few scoops on this Bank Holiday Good Friday the home fans would see Newcastle recover from an early scare and a good start from the visitors which included Leeds hitting the bar. The Mags would come thundering back in this one and quite how the game was level at half time was beyond most watching, with chance after chance being missed, particularly from Newcastle. Gouffran coming the closest with a tremendous strike from outside the box that would cannon back off a post with Green well beaten.
It seemed like only a matter of time before NUFC would score and the goal would come from an unlikely source in Lascelles. Green, who was outstanding throughout, could do nothing with this one as the Newcastle centre half’s effort found it’s way somehow over the line.
Green had earlier saved point blank efforts from Mbemba and would be called upon several times after the goal to keep the score respectable.
But with 5 minutes of added time seemingly up, and Newcastle doing everything to waste a few precious seconds, it would be Chris Wood with his 25th of the season who would break Geordie hearts on 95 minutes. After failing to clear a cross from a free kick conceded by sub Colback the New Zealand International would side foot home after being inexplicably left unmarked as the ball was lifted back into the box.
It would be a gutting result for all in black and white and we will have to hope that this is eventually proven to be one point closer to promotion rather than 2 points dropped.
And we shouldn’t detract too far, as disappointed as we are, from an outstanding performance from so many in black and white.
All focus now on Ipswich on Monday with 3 crucial points now needed.