Resilient Newcastle hang on for Liverpool draw

Posted by Marc Duffy

PAul Dummett Newcastle v LiverpoolGettyImagesLocal lad Paul Dummett scored for Newcastle against Liverpool

When Newcastle and Liverpool meet goals and entertainment are almost guaranteed -- the last goalless draw between the teams was way back in 1974 -- and Saturday's 2-2 draw at St James' Park was up there with the best of them.

This fixture last season was a horror show for Newcastle. Liverpool strolled away from the north east of England with six goals and three points, while Newcastle lacked any fight. That game was only six months ago and Newcastle players and staff took to the press this week to tell the Tyneside public that they were looking to put things right.

And while Newcastle may not have won the game on Saturday, after being reduced to ten men after Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was sent off after 40 minutes they certainly displayed passion, they certainly showed the commitment and the fight that was missing from the previous encounter.

- Heneage: Three things - Newcastle 2-2 Liverpool

However, in the very early stages Newcastle struggled to retain possession. Wayward long and diagonal balls gifted possession to Liverpool but the visitors were nowhere near as effective with the ball as they have been so far this season.

As the first half progressed, Newcastle began to enjoy some advanced possession. Liverpool were guilty of allowing Newcastle too much space within long-shot range and it was from 25 yards out that the opening goal came; a beautiful strike from Yohan Cabaye.

Liverpool didn't learn their lesson and Moussa Sissoko almost doubled Newcastle's lead with a left-foot shot from a similar distance but his effort was saved by Simon Mignolet.

Just as the home fans began to believe that this was a winnable game, Newcastle were struck by football's cruellest rule. Luis Suarez was pulled back by Yanga-Mbiwa in the area. Contact was minimal, but it was there, and referee Andre Marriner awarded the penalty. Centre-back Yanga-Mbiwa received a straight red card. The unwanted double whammy.

The Newcastle players and support protested furiously in the belief that the linesman had raised his flag for offside but the decision stood, and rightly so.

Steven Gerrard, who had earlier received a round of applause from the Gallowgate End just four days after his goal ensured England's passage into the World Cup (this is an incredibly rare occurrence at St James), scored the penalty and with only a couple of minutes left to play in the half it would have been fair to expect a collapse from a Newcastle side who have looked all too often devoid of confidence.

Local boy Paul Dummett was called from the bench to fill the hole left by Yanga-Mbiwa. This was a huge ask; inexperienced full-back would be up against two of the Premier League's best forwards in Suarez and Daniel Sturridge and would have to play out of position at centre-half.

However, Dummett rose to the occasion and 57 minutes into the game he arrived at the back post to meet a Cabaye freekick and score his first ever goal for the club in the most unlikely of circumstances. It was a moment the young Geordie will never ever forget and the rest of the team were quite obviously delighted for him.

Liverpool then took complete control of the game, but it took them until the 73rd minute to break down Newcastle's defences when Sturridge scored from close range.

As the game went on Liverpool continued to probe but could not find a way through, whilst Newcastle looked to break on the counter attack through Loic Remy and substitute Sammy Ameobi.

With two minutes left of the 90, Remy collected the ball on half-way line with only Kolo Toure ahead of him. Remy ran at Toure and the Ivorian centre-half executed a superbly timed tackle to stop the forward.

Liverpool had more chances to win the game, including a Suarez freekick that was saved by Tim Krul on the final whistle, but Newcastle held on for a deserved point.

As far as attitude and approach to the game, this one was far more pleasing for the home faithful than the last time these two teams met and off the back of the Cardiff performance -- a 2-1 away win -- things might just be looking up for Newcastle.

And it's time the footballing authorities amended that awful double whammy rule.

Twitter: @MarcSDuffy


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.