It’s hard not to be disappointed after this one. A game that saw the Magpies enter the last 10 minutes of the game with a 2-0 lead only to end up with a single point.
It could have been so different too had first Perez and then Shelvey taken glorious chances in the second half to make is 3-0, the latter coming just 60 seconds before the first of the two Bournemouth goals.
Rafa had named an unchanged side before this one, only the second time that’s happened this season, and fully justified after an outstanding performance and win against Manchester United last time out.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie (Manquillo, 84), Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy (Atsu, 64), Perez, Gayle (Hayden, 78)
Newcastle had played the perfect first half. Controlled at the back and clinical up top.
The goal hero for the Magpies would be Gayle, starting once more after news that Slimani would be out for at least a further 2 weeks after aggravating his existing injury in training last week.
His first would be a result of an outstanding pass and cross. The pass was from Shelvey, a ball out in behind the Bournemouth left back so inviting for Ritchie that it was left on a plate for him to whip into the Bournemouth penalty area. And whilst Gayle’s first attempt would be kept out Begovic the ball would land at the feet of the Newcastle striker who, with consummate ease was able to back heal the ball into the open net.
Ahead after just 17 minutes then and things and Newcastle would have a comfortable run to the second goal.
Half chances for Perez and Gayle would be the closest either side would come to anther goal in fact until first half injury time. With the black and whites pushed forward for a corner, not the best of corners, the ball would be recycled to Perez who’s cross should have been gathered by the Bournemouth keeper only for him to inexplicably let the ball run through to Gayle to stab home again and send the travelling fans into delirium.
2-0 then at half time with Newcastle in complete control.
Although Bournemouth did look a little better in the second half it was the visitors who would would come agonisingly close to extending their lead. Not once, but twice. First a deflected shot would fall into the path of Perez who’s toe poke would clear the bar.
Whilst that chance was more than a half one, the next would be excruciating to watch. Another break away from Newcastle allowed Atsu to race into the left side of the box and play a perfect ball across to the onrushing Shelvey. And whilst the our number 8 was being closed down he unbelievably missed the target with an open goal gaping. That’s still no goal and no assist for the Newcastle man this season, although that stat is a little misleading when it comes to his overall performances of late.
And with that missed chance also went, as it turned out, 2 dropped points.
Within 60 seconds of the Shelvey miss was the first off the Bournemouth goals as they would finally find a way past Dubravka after one cracking save 5 minutes earlier. The goal would come from Adam Smith and to be fair it was some hit. From outside the area the midfielder smashed the ball over our new keeper and in off the underside of bar and in.
That goal came on 80 minutes, and with the clock ticking down to 89 minutes it was starting to look like Newcastle might just survive the late onslaught. It wasn’t to be however as ex-Mag Goslings late strike would rescue a point for the home side and leave all in black and white wondering what might have been.
A win would have taken Newcastle to the dizzy heights of 10th, momentarily at least. The point leaves them just 2 above the drop zone with 10 games left.
11 points in our last 10 games, with only two defeats, is a decent return however. The same in the last 10 games would get us to 40 for the season, although that feels a million miles away tonight.
Anything from next weekends game against a high flying Liverpool will be a real bonus. Hold tight and try and enjoy the ride people!