Full Match Report from the Away End: 

A rare Isaac Hayden goal ensured Newcastle United gained a vital point at the Amex. With Eddie Howe sat next to Amanda Staveley in the stands, Graeme Jones’ likely last game as interim manager had the feel of a performance we’ve grow accustomed to over these last couple of years. By that I mean we were appallingly bad the bulk of the match.

However, before I go into the game, let me speak a little of yet another enjoyable stay in the fantastic city of Brighton. I arrived on Friday night, had a few pints and some superb food in a pub with a name that describes most United away days, the Hope and Ruin. A brisk early morning walk along the beach where people with good amounts of blubber for insulation were taking dips in the sea which looked rough and freezing, followed by a sizeable breakfast at an independent establishment in Brighton’s famous laines…nar, it was a Wetherspoons’ breakfast in a packed boozer around 0915 which had five doorman hard at work looking after the clientele. One lad had four pints of cider lined-up on a table for himself.

We tried to watch the Manchester derby but it turned out to be a massive steaming pile, so we headed off to the William the Fourth, a pub I was told named after a King who to all intents and purposes was an absolute horror show of a man. Canny pub, mind. The London and Newcastle contingent joined us a couple of hours later than intended having been delayed because a pram got stuck under a train at London Bridge. Nee bairn in the pram, fortunately.

A few drinks were had by all other than me so I got to see the full game completely sober. I realised within about five minutes of kick-off why I usually get as drunk as a Lord pre-match. Jones made three personnel changes but, regrettably, no formation change and Emil Krafth was still picked ahead of actual centre-halves. Shelvey, Murphy and Miggy came in for Longstaff, Manquillo and Fraser. To no one’s surprise Brighton dominated the game right-up until the point United equalised.

The first half saw ridiculously quick Tariq Lamptey consistently get in behind Matt Ritchie, something I reckon every single Newcastle fan could have predicted when they saw the line-ups. Bissouma and Mwepu dominated the middle of the park, allowing Trossard, Lallana and Lamptey to ping the ball around. As is standard, Newcastle were passive to the point that Lamptey, a full-back/wing-back more or less spent no time in his own half.

Incredibly, despite their total domination, Brighton could only score from the penalty spot with Clark supposedly being unlucky to be punished for a challenge. Strange how things are perceived differently by others as the lads I was stood with thought it was a pen, me included. Once they went a goal up, what had been a decent away end started to understandably vent its frustration. The home fans were quiet despite their domination, although one of their lads who looked like he’d just come back to shore after spending six months on a merchant clipper circa 1873 was enjoying himself with his top off shouting at Newcastle fans. The second-half started in equal fashion with Darlow making an excellent save lowdown with his foot to deny Lamptey. We’d have been done if they’d got that second.

They didn’t and spectacularly and from absolutely bastard neewhere, Matt Ritchie’s cross after a corner had been only half-cleared was won be Ciaran Clark and Hayden tucked away a lovely finish. Wild celebrations and all of a sudden the players and fans were lifted to the point that, despite creating the sum total of basically bastard nothing, United looked the more likely team to win as Brighton’s confidence drained almost immediately. At the death it looked like United were going to snatch it when Wilson ran through and tried to round Bobby Sanchez. The Brighton keeper did what he had to do, bringing Wilson down and getting a red card after a VAR check. The VAR check only happened because the ref was appalling all game. Jonjo Shelvey made an absolute toilet of a free-kick when all we wanted to see was a shot hammered towards Lewis Dunk in the Brighton goal.

Jones brought on Dwight Gayle for 7 nanoseconds which, surprisingly, wasn’t enough time for him to do much. The whistle blew and I think the overall sentiment was aye, good point and all that but please Eddie sign the contract and start work tomorrow. The task the manager has is huge. We’re desperate at the back, totally lacking dynamism in midfield and create barely any chances. ASM has been played out of position so long he is unrecognisable from who we have come to know and love, Willock didn’t get on the pitch and it seems he is in desperate need of confidence and direction, we play wingers as wing-backs and we’re second bottom on five points as well as being the only team without a win in the PL this season. I think Howe has the ability to turn this around, but on today’s evidence along with the rest of the season so far it is going to be an heroic effort to keep us up. HOWE-AY THE LAD.

NORMAN RILEY

Full Time Reactions from the Away End: 

So much work to do. If Eddie Howe was watching then let him have it. A point stolen at a ground we’ve had no luck at in recent years. It was awful but it at least shows some fight. I’m really grasping as straws now.

Emil Franchi 

It’s hard to say where three points are coming from at this point.

United were poor again today and yet got lucky despite disappointing showings from a number of players – Saint Maximin and Clark included, despite the letter’s contribution for the equaliser.

All that said, today brought a vital point which just about keeps us alive at least. Eddie Howe’s influence on the dressing room can’t come soon enough. Not even Steve McClaren went this long without winning.

Chris Shipman 

Hugely undeserved point given the appalling first half performance. Our goal seemed to knock Brighton’s confidence massively, and in the second half we at least moved away from what had been embarrassingly one-sided. 

Howe can’t arrive soon enough, but he has a monumental challenge turning these players into a coherent, spirited team that’s difficult to beat.

Adam Widdrington 

An outstandingly awful 70 odd minutes followed by a goal from nothing, Brighton fell apart a little and we could have won it at the end. Howe will have seen further evidence of the Herculean task he has on his hands. Howe-ay the lad

Norman Riley 

Not too sure about this one. If offered a pint pre game, I’d have taken it. However, first 45 was as bad as I’ve seen at any time under SB. In the end, it was a half d fought and much needed point. However, the majority showed that Jones is a continuation and needs to go.

Steve Wallwork