By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Newcastle United 1 (Ben Arfa 60)
Aston Villa 1 (Clark 22)
SECOND HALF UPDATES
90+5mins: Full-time. Hatem Ben Arfa's wondergoal rescued a point for Newcastle against Villa, who had Brad Guzan to thank for a wonderful stoppage time save from Yohan Cabaye. The Magpies were much better in the final half an hour after a poor first half display but despite coming from behind to salvage a draw, they'll be disappointed not to have won against a team who started the day bottom of the Barclays Premier League table.
90+4mins: From the resulting free-kick, Yohan Cabaye's shot looks destined for the top corner but Guzan somehow flies to his right to pluck the ball to safety at the expense of a corner. That was tremendous save from the American, who replaced Shay Given in the starting XI today and has shown exactly why with that vital stop. Ben Arfa's corner finds Taylor but he heads wide.
90+3mins: Yet another Villa player is booked as Paul Lambert's side resort to desperate measures to keep hold of their point. This time it's Brett Holman who is cautioned after bringing down Marveaux 30 yards from goal.
90+1mins: Now Brad Guzan is yellow carded for time-wasting after taking an age over a Villa free-kick, and the visitors look to have settled for a point now. But have United?
90mins: Eric Lichaj goes into Probert's notebook after a blatant shirt pull on Obertan, who had just tricked his way past the left-back and was about to burst towards the byline. There will be five minutes of stoppage time.
89mins: Ron Vlaar makes a nervy clearance and Cisse takes advantage to feed Cabaye, but the midfielder's shot from the edge of the box is too high and it looks like the spoils will be shared here.
85mins: Jonas Gutierrez becomes the first United player booked after wiping out N'Zogbia, having been fouled himself by Matthew Lowton a few seconds earlier. The Argentine is almost instantly substituted, with Sylvain Marveaux coming on.
84mins: A fantastic last-ditch tackle from Bigirimana saves a certain goal. Agbonlahor turned Coloccini and left him trailing before sliding in Bent, who pulled back his right boot only for the young midfielder to appear from nowhere with a sliding block. The visitors look more likely to win this at the moment though.
80mins: Stephen Ireland's eyes lit up as Agbonlahor's cross from the left was touched to him by Brett Holman to allow the Irishman to take a touch and shoot from 12 yards. He got his shot all wrong, though, driving it wide and missing his chance to score what could have been the winner against his old loan club.
74mins: United's latest corner is half-cleared as far as Bigirimana on the edge of the box, with the 18-year-old cleverly chipping the ball back towards the far post where Demba Ba rises well and sends a looping header dropping onto the top of the net. That was close from the striker who, like Ben Arfa, is looking to make it two goals from two home league games this term.
73mins: Charles N'Zogbia replaces Karim El Ahmadi, who has picked up a knock. There are a few boos for the former Newcastle winger, who left for Wigan in January 2009.
69mins: Ben Arfa's goal got the fans on their feet - now the home crowd are cheering again after the Frenchman went to clear a ball only for it to smash off the head of ex-Sunderland striker Bent, who is knocked to the ground by the impact. He wearily gets back to his feet after treatment but that must have hurt.
61mins: Villa threaten to restore their lead as Weimann gets in a low shot from 12 yards, but Krul gets down well to his left to keep it out. It's just as well, because after finding a way back into the match the last thing Newcastle wanted to do was concede again so quickly.
60mins - NEWCASTLE GOAL (1-1): The way Newcastle had been playing, it was going to take something special to restore parity. Step forward Hatem Ben Arfa. The Frenchman picked the ball up on the left, took a few steps inside and then let fly with a ferocious strike which soared past Guzan and into the top corner of the Gallowgate net. It was a similar goal to the one he scored on his United debut at Everton two years ago and it's his second of the season. Suddenly it's game on, just as it seemed to be slipping away from the hosts.
59mins: After an unfortunate stumble from Coloccini, Bent is able to Tee up Stephen Ireland for a shot from 20 yards which Krul gets right behind. The former United loanee would have loved a goal against the Magpies after the home fans never really saw the best of him during his loan spell in 2010/11.
52mins: Backed by the ever-increasing noise from the stands, Newcastle build play patiently before working the ball out to Anita, overlapping from right-back. The Dutchman puts in a good cross and Hatem Ben Arfa of all people is there to meet it with a towering header. Alas, it's too close to Guzan who is able to hold onto the ball.
49mins: Cisse knocks down Krul's long kick and finds Ben Arfa, who takes a look and sizes up a shot from 30 yards but scuffs it wide. Alan Pardew has now taken his jacket off and rolled his shirt sleeves up - he needs his players to do the same if they're to get back into this game.
46mins: United get the second half underway - can they raise their game in this second period after a somewhat lacklustre showing so far? There are no changes for either side. Today's attendance is 48,245.
FIRST HALF UPDATES
45+2mins: Cisse wins a late corner and Ben Arfa's scooped delivery is met by the head of Taylor, but it loops too high and referee Probert's whistle blows straight afterwards. It's half-time and Newcastle are behind to Ciaran Clark's 22nd minute goal. They have been well below par and Alan Pardew will try to inject some kind of spark into his side during the interval.
45mins: There will be two minutes of stoppage time added on in this half, the majority of if for the stoppage causes by Danny Simpson's injury. His replacement in the right-back role, Vurnon Anita, gets forward well to clip over a cross which Cisse throws himself at but the number nine just can't direct it goalwards.
44mins: Weimann latches onto a flick from Bent and tries to lob the ball over Krul, with his effort dropping narrowly wide. Newcastle have been pressing for an equaliser but they almost had an even bigger mountain to climb.
42mins: Ba has another go as he receives the ball from Ben Arfa with his back to goal, spins his man well and then gets in a shot from 25 yards but it lacks the power to seriously test Guzan.
39mins: Cisse combines well with countyman Ba to tee up a chance, with the latter making room for a shot which flashes across goal. The Senegalese pair both scored in this fixture last season as United won 2-1 - how Pardew could do with them coming up with another goal this afternoon.
38mins: Simpson is unable to continue after he limps off with physio Michael Harding, so Gael Bigirimana is on for his Barclays Premier League debut. Vurnon Anita drops in at right-back with Bigirimana taking over Anita's defensive midfield role.
35mins: "We're Aston Villa, we're passing the ball," chant the away fans up in level seven. They were frustrated by their side's style of football under Alex McLeish last season but they're happy at the moment with their side a goal to the good while Alan Pardew has called Jonas Gutierrez and Yohan Cabaye over to pass on a few instructions while Danny Simpson receives treatment for what looks like a tweaked hamstring.
29mins: Papiss Cisse is denied a goal as he latches onto Demba Ba's pull-back only to see it somehow deflected behind by a diving defender. Ba had retrieved a Ben Arfa corner with a wonderful piece of control before sending the ball in low for his compatriot, who was really unlucky not to see his shot nestling in the net. Then from the resulting flag-kick, Jonas Gutierrez heads the ball on for Vurnon Anita whose well-struck shot from a slight angle just outside the box hits the side-netting - some fans thought that had gone in and it wasn't far away at all. Better from Newcastle.
27mins: Karim El Ahmadi is the first player booked as the Villa man catches Danny Simpson late near the halfway line to give Probert no real alternative other than to take his name.
24mins: United try to respond quickly and have a second penalty appeal of the match waved away by Probert after Demba Ba went down, but this one didn't appear as blatant as the earlier foul on Santon. Then Cabaye sends over a free-kick from the left and Steven Taylor sneaks in at the far post, but can't direct his effort on target and Brad Guzan - in for the dropped Shay Given - has had a quiet afternoon up until now.
22mins - ASTON VILLA GOAL (0-1): And now the Villans' new-found confidence has been rewarded with a goal. Andreas Weimann - who scored against United's Reserves at Villa Park last season - whipped over a peach of a cross from the left and Ciaran Clark sent a powerful header past the helpless Krul.
20mins: Another chance for Bent, although this one isn't as clear cut with the Villa captain this time popping up on the left-hand side of the box to get in a shot from a narrow angle which is fielded easily by Krul. Paul Lambert's side appear to be growing in belief, though, after a nervous start.
19mins: Darren Bent, the former Sunderland man, is denied an opener by a fine stop from Tim Krul. The striker had peeled away at the far post and took a touch before shooting from 12 yards. Coloccini stuck out a foot and that almost wrong-footed the Newcastle number one but he made a superb block with his legs to keep the scores level.
18mins: The game's rather flat but the atmosphere isn't - all four sides of the ground are making plenty of noise to try and lift their team.
16mins: Davide Santon embarks upon a surging run from left-back which takes him all the way into the Villa box before his progress is halted by Matthew Lowton, whose dangling leg was nowhere near the ball but Lee Probert didn't feel it warranted a spot-kick despite the cries of the Leazes supporters.
9mins: The visitors look low on confidence and have struggled to keep possession for any length of time, but Newcastle have yet to really impose themselves on the match. An early goal here would be nice against a side who have lost both of their league fixtures so far.
2mins: As Yohan Cabaye sends in a free-kick from the right, Fabricio Coloccini controls the ball and turns in the box. His effort is deflected behind and the corner leads to nothing but it's been a good start from Newcastle.
1min: It's a sunny day on Tyneside and things could be looking bright for the Magpies come this evening if they can make it six points from three games with a win over rock bottom Aston Villa. United walked out of the tunnel wearing tracksuit tops bearing the message 'Ryan Taylor Over The Wall' - a message of support for their injured team-mate who is out for several months after limping off against Atromitos on Thursday. Now they're in their black and home kits (available to buy here) while Villa are in claret and blue. It's the visitors who get us underway, kicking towards the Gallowgate in this first half. Newcastle are two goals away from their 1,000th in the Premier League - can they reach that milestone today? Click here to enter our fantastic free competition.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson (Gael Bigirimana 37), Fabricio Coloccini (c), Steven Taylor, Davide Santon; Hatem Ben Arfa, Vurnon Anita, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez (Sylvain Marveaux 85); Demba Ba (Gabriel Obertan 87), Papiss Cisse
Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Brad Guzan; Eric Lichaj, Ciaran Clark, Ron Vlaar, Matthew Lowton; Karim El Ahmadi (Charles N'Zogbia 73), Barry Bannan; Brett Holman, Stephen Ireland, Andreas Weimann (Gabriel Agbonlahor 64); Darren Bent (c)
Substitutes: Shay Given, Graham Burke, Nathan Baker, Derrick Williams, Jordan Bowery
Referee: Lee Probert