Watford snatch late draw at relegation rivals Newcastle


Allan Saint-Maximin

Watford earned a vital late point in their Premier League survival bid as Joao Pedro’s headed equaliser kept them clear of the bottom three and denied hosts Newcastle a much-needed win.

Eddie Howe’s side looked on course for only their second victory of the season after Allan Saint-Maximin’s superb second-half goal.

But after Josh King and Pedro wasted chances for Claudio Ranieri’s side, who always looked dangerous on the counter attack, the Brazilian forward rose above Jamaal Lascelles to nod in Kiko Femenia’s cross and send the Watford fans wild.

The goal silenced the majority of St James’ Park and led to Howe crashing a water bottle into the floor in frustration as they wasted a chance to move out of the relegation zone for the first time in 106 days.

But the draw was a reward for the visitors and Pedro, who continually caused a threat, with the Hornets remaining 17th.

Newcastle’s plight was not helped by a Norwich win over Everton, as they remained 19th and Burnley slipped to the bottom of the table.

Newcastle draw feels like defeat

This latest setback for Newcastle will lead to more questions about their ability to avoid the drop so soon after a takeover that was supposed to send the club heading in the opposite direction.

There have been new owners, a new manager, the signing of England full-back Kieran Trippier, plus the arrival of £25m striker Chris Wood, who made an uninspiring debut despite a couple of half-chances.

But they are yet to see a bounce to move them above their relegation rivals, and once again their fallibility in central defence was exposed.

For much of the game, though, they looked like an improved outfit, especially after an embarrassing loss to League One Cambridge in the FA Cup last Saturday.

Trippier added experience and calmness to the defence, and while Wood looked short of confidence, his aerial presence occupied the Watford defence.

In Saint-Maximin, it looked like they had a match winner as he cut in from the left and fired past Ben Foster to light up St James’ Park.

There was also a fine performance by Joelinton, who bossed former Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko, and hit the bar after Ryan Fraser’s deflected cross.

But for all the plus-points, an inability to hang on to the lead proved costly once again as Lascelles and Fabian Schar were beaten to the ball. For the home side, the draw felt like a defeat.

Recruiting in defence remains the priority for the new owners, and as boos met the final whistle, they may hasten their pursuit before a crucial game at Leeds next Saturday.

Watford keep noses in front

The delight in snatching a point for Watford was in stark contrast to the bitter pill that Newcastle fans had to swallow after a scrappy affair that could have been easily filed as a relegation dogfight.

But for Ranieri’s side, who included three new signings in Hassane Kamara, Samir and Edo Kayembe, and had Foster, Emmanuel Dennis and King back in the line-up, it was reward for their perseverance.

For much of the game, they conceded possession and looked like they would pay for several wasted chances from a counter-attacking approach that caused Newcastle’s defence problems.

Pedro and King were a physical and rapid presence up front and both had good opportunities to equalise following Saint-Maximin’s fifth goal of the season.

But once Newcastle weathered that response, a point looked beyond the visitors, especially with a run of six consecutive losses coming into this match.

Femenia’s cross was delicious, however, and Pedro, who had already angered the home fans after making the most of a first-half injury, had the last laugh in front of the Gallowgate End to keep Watford out of danger – with another key game against Burnley to come on Tuesday.

More to follow.

Line-ups

Newcastle

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Dúbravka
  • 15Trippier
  • 6Lascelles
  • 5Schär
  • 3DummettBooked at 71mins
  • 36S Longstaff
  • 8ShelveyBooked at 6mins
  • 7Joelinton
  • 21FraserBooked at 53minsSubstituted forMurphyat 74′minutes
  • 20Wood
  • 10Saint-MaximinSubstituted forAlmirónat 86′minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Ritchie
  • 12Lewis
  • 17Krafth
  • 23Murphy
  • 24Almirón
  • 26Darlow
  • 28Willock
  • 29Gillespie
  • 32Anderson

Watford

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Foster
  • 2NgakiaSubstituted forFemeníaat 66′minutes
  • 15Cathcart
  • 22SamirBooked at 90mins
  • 14Kamara
  • 39Kayembe
  • 19SissokoBooked at 51mins
  • 33KuckaSubstituted forCleverleyat 77′minutes
  • 25DennisSubstituted forHernándezat 84′minutes
  • 7King
  • 10João Pedro

Substitutes

  • 8Cleverley
  • 12Sema
  • 18Tufan
  • 21Femenía
  • 26Bachmann
  • 27Kabasele
  • 29Hernández
  • 31Sierralta
  • 42Morris

Referee:
Paul Tierney

Attendance:
52,223

Match Stats

Live Text

Post update

Match ends, Newcastle United 1, Watford 1.

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