Jamaal Lascelles scored in stoppage time to rescue a point for relegation-threatened Newcastle following a dramatic finale against Aston Villa at St James’ Park.
A largely dull encounter had looked destined to end goalless before Ollie Watkins’ header deflected off Ciaran Clark and went in off the underside of the bar to put Villa ahead with just minutes remaining.
But Newcastle snatched a point when Lascelles headed in Jacob Murphy’s cross in the last action of the game.
It was arguably a deserved equaliser for the hosts, who had been the better side for much of the game but just lacked quality in the final third.
They had also hit the bar through Murphy moments before Villa had taken the lead.
The point does little to ease Newcastle’s relegation concerns – they are two points above the bottom three and could drop into the relegation zone if results go against them this weekend.
But the fight shown to battle back after going behind so late on will give Newcastle fans some hope that their side can pull away from danger in the remaining games.
The point for Aston Villa, meanwhile, means they remain ninth, five points off the top six.
“I thought it was going to be one of those cruel nights where you don’t get something you deserved out of the game,” Newcastle boss Steve Bruce told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“The one thing I have to say is that the resilience of the players and their effort and endeavour I can’t question. We are going to need it, every single ounce of it.”
Newcastle finally show fight
A lack of goals has played a large part in Newcastle’s slide down the table, with Bruce’s side having won just two of their 16 games prior to the visit of Villa.
A dull, goalless draw with relegation rivals West Brom last time out did little to provide hope that Newcastle had the fight to move back up the table, particularly with a much-improved Fulham side clawing back a 10-point deficit to give them hope of survival.
Against Villa, they again lacked a spark in the final third and a last-minute equaliser will not erase concerns over how little they troubled the opposition goalkeeper for much of the game.
But there were elements of the performance that will provide some hope. Joelinton had his best game in a while, tormenting Tyrone Mings much of the time but just missing the belief in himself to put away the couple of good opportunities he created, while Paul Dummett provided some excellent deliveries into the box.
Most pleasing of all for Newcastle fans, however, is that their side showed some fight in the final few minutes that many perhaps feared was absent from their players. Supporters will now hope they can show more of that spirit in the remaining games.
“We missed the final cross but we had so many good opportunities in the game,” added Bruce.
“That little bit of quality at times is something we talk about but for the effort, the desire and the way they went about their job there was nothing between the two teams.”
Villa continue to struggle without Grealish
This time last season Aston Villa were very much in Newcastle’s position as they found themselves fighting for Premier League survival.
A superb first half of this campaign ensured they would not be in the same situation this time and instead they are looking up the table, with securing a place in Europe next term a very real possibility.
But their recent form risks seeing their season drift towards a mid-table finish as they continue to struggle in the absence of injured captain Jack Grealish.
Villa have won just one of their five games since Grealish picked up a leg injury, but while the talismanic forward is undoubtedly a big loss, their inability to finish the chances they do create will be of frustration to boss Dean Smith.
Against Newcastle they had 15 attempts on goal but only managed to score when Watkins’ header took a sizeable deflection.
In their first 13 games of the season Villa scored 27 goals but they have managed just 12 in their last 14 and Smith needs to find a way to get his side firing again if they are to finish in the top six.
“When you’re a goal up with four minutes to go you’re disappointed naturally,” said Smith.
“We didn’t deserve to win the game. It wasn’t a game for the purists, I thought it was a bit of an ugly game. They probably had the best chances but we should see it out.”
A rare run – the stats
- Newcastle have won just two of their last 17 Premier League matches (D5 L10), drawing three in a row for the first time since August 2011).
- Only Sheffield United (22) have failed to score in the first half of more Premier League games this season than Newcastle United (21).
- Ciaran Clark became the first player to score an own goal for a team they’ve previously played for in the Premier League since Pablo Zabaleta in April 2018 for West Ham against Manchester City.
- Only Crystal Palace (13) have conceded more Premier League goals in the last 15 minutes of games this season than Newcastle (12).
Newcastle travel to Brighton in a big clash near the bottom of the table on Saturday, 20 March (20:00 GMT), while Aston Villa host Tottenham on Sunday, 21 March (19:30)
- 17KrafthBooked at 52minsSubstituted forManquilloat 83′minutes
- 6LascellesBooked at 68mins
- 14HaydenSubstituted forCarrollat 88′minutes
- 21FraserSubstituted forMurphyat 79′minutes
- 36S Longstaff
- 27El Mohamady
- 5MingsBooked at 78mins
- 7McGinnBooked at 74mins
- 6Douglas Luiz
- 41RamseySubstituted forSansonat 59′minutesBooked at 77mins
- 15TraoréSubstituted forEl Ghaziat 21′minutes
- 17TrézéguetSubstituted forBarkleyat 68′minutes
- 21El Ghazi
Match ends, Newcastle United 1, Aston Villa 1.
Second Half ends, Newcastle United 1, Aston Villa 1.
Goal! Newcastle United 1, Aston Villa 1. Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United) header from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Jacob Murphy with a cross.
Offside, Aston Villa. John McGinn tries a through ball, but Ollie Watkins is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United) right footed shot from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jacob Murphy.
Foul by Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa).
Joseph Willock (Newcastle United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt saved. John McGinn (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ollie Watkins.
Attempt saved. Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ross Barkley.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Martin Dubravka.
Attempt saved. Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is saved in the top right corner.
Substitution, Newcastle United. Andy Carroll replaces Isaac Hayden.
Own Goal by Ciaran Clark, Newcastle United. Newcastle United 0, Aston Villa 1.
Attempt missed. Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Matt Targett with a cross.
Attempt saved. Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by John McGinn.
Ross Barkley (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United).
Substitution, Newcastle United. Javier Manquillo replaces Emil Krafth.
Jacob Murphy (Newcastle United) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Paul Dummett.
Offside, Aston Villa. John McGinn tries a through ball, but Ross Barkley is caught offside.