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Men’s Football Toon fightback not enough for victory in Howe absence

Newcastle 3-3 Brentford

by Harry De Cosemo
at St James’ Park

NEWCASTLE United remain winless as they slipped to the foot of the Premier League table despite playing their part in an entertaining 3-3 draw with Brentford in their first game under Eddie Howe at St James’ Park.

Howe was forced to miss the game after testing positive for Covid-19 on Friday, but his impact after 10 days training was clear. The hosts showed cohesion going forward, but were once again let down by old defensive frailties, as well as a poor showing from goalkeeper Karl Darlow.

Jason Tindall, Howe’s assistant, told reporters after the game that the players should not pay attention to the league table.

“There is a lot of hard work to be done,” he said.

“We have already done a lot of hard work and will continue to do so. Hopefully that will go a long way to making us a better team.

“We can’t focus on the league table, we can only focus on ourselves.”

On Howe’s absence, Tindall added that there was constant dialogue between the pair as he watched from his hotel room.

“There were lots of positives to take from the game and we were in constant dialogue with Eddie, who watched a live feed. We made decisions to get us back in the game.”

Jamaal Lascelles’s powerful header gave Newcastle the lead inside 10 minutes, but their issues at the back were laid bare when former Magpies striker Ivan Toney equalised immediately. He struck hard and low into the left corner, but Darlow should have done better.

It was a ferocious first half. Toney had a second goal ruled out for offside after Bryan Mbuemo dispossessed Joe Willock in midfield and broke forward. Allan Saint-Maximin and Wilson could only muster tame efforts at the other end.

Ciaran Clark denied Toney with a last-ditch block, but Brentford were in the ascendancy. They took the lead just after half an hour, when Rico Henry stole in at the back post to head home.

But Newcastle hit back through Joelinton, who best embodied their breakaway from the past in an attacking sense. His effort rifled into the bottom corner after Saint-Maximin’s shot deflected into his path.

Wilson almost found the net from close range, but his attempt to bundle to ball home was thwarted by Toney’s superb clearance on the goal line.

The hosts continued to probe in the second half, and a buoyant crowd were responding. Saint-Maximin fired wide just before the hour.

But the frenetic nature of the game meant chances would come for Brentford, too. They retook the lead when substitute Frank Onyeka’s effort deflected in off the unfortunate Lascelles, who was credited with an own goal.

Saint-Maximin thumped home with 15 minutes remaining, restoring parity again as the home supporters smelt blood.

Opportunities for a winner fell for two prior goalscorers on either side. Saint-Maximin drove through the centre of the pitch and fed Joelinton, who lost his footing with the goal at his mercy, typifying Newcastle’s desperation.

Henry then rushed in on goal with moments to spare, but Darlow smothered the ball to secure a point for Newcastle. It didn’t feel like enough in the end.

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