By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Atromitos 1 (Epstein 24)
Newcastle United 1 (Taylor 45)
SECOND HALF UPDATES
90+3mins: The final whistle blows and the score is 1-1. Having trailed to Denis Epstein's goal midway though the first half, Newcastle will be happy enough to take Atromitos back to Tyneside with the tie still in the balance and a vital away goal courtesy of Ryan Taylor, whose 25-yard free-kick levelled matters. The heat didn't make for a great game but the scoreline is far from a disaster for Alan Pardew and his men.
90mins: As the board goes up for three minutes of stoppage time, Taylor's ball into the left channel is intelligently cushioned towards Amalfitano by the head of Campbell, allowing the Frenchman to jink into the box - only for a covering defender to scramble the ball away.
88mins: Campbell shows his electric pace as he races upfield on the right but just takes a slightly heavy touch at full pelt, which forces him wide and he can only send a tame shot from a now acute angle straight at Itandje. He showed fantastic speed, though - nobody was catching him there had his touch been slightly better.
86mins: The final change of the evening sees Athanasios Karagounis replace Giannoulis for Atromitos.
79mins: Konstantinos Giannoulis cuts inside from the left, taking a touch to race past Tavernier, and bears down on goal only to fluff his lines and shoot horribly wide when he really looked likely to put the Greek side ahead for the second time tonight. That was a huge let-off for the visitors.
77mins: Adam Campbell is on for his Magpies bow, and comes on for Papiss Cisse. The 17-year-old, wearing number 49, becomes Newcastle's youngest European debutant and will play as the main striker as Pardew keeps the same formation.
74mins: Obertan's blistering pace sees him break swiftly down the right as United clear a set-piece and then he cuts the ball back for Cisse, who in turn backheels the ball into the path of Amalfitano. Itandje, though, is off his line quickly to smother as the summer signing takes a touch and deny him a shot.
68mins: Good, positive play from Obertan results in a deep right-wing cross from the former Manchester United man. Itandje misjudges it and Cisse, lurking at the far post, steals in. The goalkeeper recovers well though, standing tall and forcing the Newcastle striker to try and go round him, then nicking the ball of his toe as he does so.
66mins: The game is still being played at a relatively slow pace, although it is still rather warm, but Iglesias does his best to make something happen with a 25 yard strike. Alas, it's well wide.
60mins: Atromitos make a double substitution: Kuqi makes way for Anastasios Karamanos and Beljic is replaced by Marinaldo Chumbinho, who is wearing the number 86.
58mins: Taylor pumps a free-kick into the box from the left after a foul by Nikola Belkjic on Marveaux and after some jittery defending, the ball falls to Gabriel Obertan just inside the area. The Frenchman goes for the half-volley and his effort is deflected narrowly over the top, with the corner dealt with rather more comfortably by the Greeks.
57mins: Konstantinos Giannoulis is encouraged by the home fans to shoot from 22 yards and does so but his attempt is weak and it's more catching practice for Harper.
51mins: Kuqi and Williamson tussle for a high ball on the edge of the box and although the former - a big man, just like his brother - is able to get in a snap-shot, United's skipper for the night does enough to force him to sky it.
47mins: Almost a goal for Newcastle at the start of the second period. Papiss Cisse ran the channels well to get in aross from the right and Sylvain Marveaux had a free header but seemed to take his eye off the ball and succeeded only in heading it into Sokratis Fytanidis. Even then, the ball almost dribbled past Itandje after hitting the hapless defender but the keeper sprung to his feet to keep the ball out.
46mins: The hosts get the second period underway, with no changes for either side. The temperature has dropped now and although the pace of the game wasn't particularly quick in the opening period, it could become easier for both sides to up the tempo in this second half.
FIRST HALF UPDATES
45+1mins: No sooner has the ball hit the net than referee Yefet blows his whistle for half-time. Ryan Taylor turned 28 on Sunday and keeping Newcastle very much in this Europa League fourth qualifying round tie first leg is certainly one way to celebrate.
45+1mins - NEWCASTLE GOAL (1-1): With the last kick of the half, Ryan Taylor levels with a trademark free-kick just over a year on from his famous goal at Sunderland. Gosling had been cynically fouled by Iglesias 25 yards from goal with what was virtually a rugby tackle and although he escapes a booking, Taylor sends his shot into the bottom left-hand corner despite Itandje's best efforts. Taylor told nufc.co.uk on the eve of the match that nobody was looking forward to this match more than him and, on his European debut, he has restored parity in this game - and given United what could prove to be an all-important away goal.
45mins: There will be one minute of stoppage time.
43mins: Another long throw from Taylor causes confustion in the Atromitos area and the ball eventually lands for Gosling to attempt an overhead kick. It's a difficult skill at the best of times and the ex-England under-21 midfielder sees the ball fly high into the air rather than into the net.
38mins: Skondras finds himself in a central shooting position 25 yards from goal and duly obliges, but his effort is straight at Harper who is able to stoop down and collect the ball with ease.
35mins: After Taylor was fouled by Atromitos captain Ioannis Skondras on the right-hand touchline, the Scouser picks himself up to take the free-kick and it almost leads to an equaliser. The home defence probably expected him to cross but he sent a low, curling shot from a narrow angle which almost caught Itandje out. To his credit, the keeper managed to readjust and get a strong block on the ball and as it falls to Bigirimana on the edge of the box, the Burundian midfielder's first-time effort flies narrowly over the top.
32mins: From a long Ryan Taylor throw-in - a tactic Newcastle seem to be trying to make the most of tonight - skipper Mike Williamson flicks the ball on and it falls for Marveaux to hit with a superb volley. Itandje flies to his left to make a great stop but referee Alon Yefet's whistle had already gone for what he saw as a foul by Williamson in the build-up.
24mins - ATROMITOS GOAL (1-0): Denis Epstein puts the home side ahead with a shock goal. Nikola Beljic plays a smart pass behind Tavernier, who fails to prevent Epstein sneaking in ahead of him and tucking the ball past the onrushing Harper. It's met with a huge noise from the home fans, who had started the match full of vigour but had been somewhat quietened by the way United started the game. Now they sense that something special could happen tonight.
21mins: James Tavernier puts in a deep cross from the right and it looks like meat and drink for former Liverpool keeper Charles Itandje. He drops it though, and is relieved to be able to scramble the loose ball behind for a corner as Gosling closes in to try and take advantage. Alas, the resulting flag-kick comes to nothing.
17mins: Gosling picks the ball up and advances before having a pop from 20 yards, but he drags his effort wide. Having taken the sting out of the game early on, however, United are starting to prod and probe themselves and Alan Pardew will be happy enough with this start.
16mins: Anita picks out Cisse with a clever ball from just inside the Atromitos half and it drops over the head of a defender for the Senegalese striker to hit. He has to watch it come over his shoulder, however, and slightly miscues his effort which ends up dribbling wide when he had probably pictured it flying into the net.
13mins: Now Iglesisas, with his ponytailed hair in a bun, tries his luck from distance - he's at least 25 yards out when he goes for goal but his effort is too high and Harper watches it fly over his bar.
9mins: The first opportunity of the match goes to Atromitos as Elini Dimoutsos crosses the ball in from the right and Njazi Kuqi, younger brother of ex-United man Shefki, stabs the ball wide of Steve Harper's goal. Not only do the Greeks have a former Magpie's sibling in their starting XI but midfielder Matias Iglesias bears more than a passing resemblance to Jonas Gutierrez.
6mins: The visitors are keeping the ball well with what is effectively a five man midfield, with Gael Bigirimana and Vurnon Anita holding and Gabriel Obertan, Dan Gosling and Sylvain Marveaux pushing on, but as yet there have been no chances at either end.
1min: Newcastle, wearing their burgundy change kits, have got the game underway in roasting hot conditions here in Athens. United are kicking towards the small band of Magpies fans who have made the trip in this first half while the home supporters are doing their best to create a hostile atmosphere. The Greek side are wearing blue and white stripes.
Atromitos (4-1-4-1): Charles Itandje; Ioannis Skondras (c), Sokratis Fytanidis, Nikolaos Lazaridis, Konstantinos Giannoulis (Athanasios Karagounis 86); Matias Iglesias; Nikola Beljic (Marinaldo Chumbinho 60), Elini Dimoutsos, Eduardo Luiz Brito, Denis Epstein; Njazi Kuqi (Anastasios Karamanos 60)
Subs not used: Velimir Radman, Eustathios Taylaridis, Sebastian Pitu Garcia, Evaggelos Nastos
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Steve Harper; James Tavernier, Mike Williamson (c), James Perch, Ryan Taylor; Gael Bigirimana, Vurnon Anita; Gabriel Obertan, Dan Gosling (Romain Amalfitano 64), Sylvain Marveaux (Jonas Gutierrez 71); Papiss Cisse (Adam Campbell 77)
Referee: Alon Yefet