Reading 0-0 Newcastle United
A week and 6 points on from Brighton away, with Huddersfield in-between sees Newcastle go to Reading aiming for the perfect return from the hardest run of fixtures they will face all season.
Rafa would make three changes for this one with Gamez coming in at right back for a rare starting birth whilst Perez and Gouffran would also come back in for Atsu and Diame.
STARTING XI: Darlow, Gamez, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Colback (Diame, 88), Shelvey, Ritchie, Perez, Gouffran (Atsu, 70), Murphy (Gayle, 75)
And it was the home side that should have taken the lead in what could have been a terrible start for the visitors. Lewis Grabban being the guilty party with his header going wide after just seconds of the first half when he really should have buried it.
Reading would dominate this one from start to finish. And whilst not quite having the possession that Huddersfield enjoyed on Saturday it was clear Rafa had set his team up to frustrate the opposition once more. And the visitors almost took the lead on 38 minutes after a corner was turned onto the keepers right post by the Scotsman with the ball coming back into play but away from danger with no-one able to turn the rebound home.
Reading would fly out the traps in the second half with Darlow being called into action twice in the early stages with a couple of instinctive saves.
Yet again Newcastle would work into this period as the half settled down and almost snatched a lead on 70 minutes when a Paul Dummett cross was met well by Murphy who’s effort was only kept out by a very decent save by Al Habsi.
With 15 minutes left Dwight Gayle would get his run out in place of Murphy who’d put in yet another good shift in a black and white shirt.
Newcastle had not had a 0-0 in all 42 competitive games this season until tonight but the point will be seen as a good one by most Newcastle fans and team alike.
With Huddersfield and Brighton both winning against Villa and bottom side respectively the gap at the top is now 3 points between Newcastle and Brighton, with Huddersfield a further 6 points further back.
But with 7 points from a possible 9 against our promotion rivals it’s been quite a week.
Home comforts await at the weekend with a game against Fulham as SJP. And with just 10 games remaining now things are still very much in Newcastle’s hands.