By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
James Tavernier was "proud" of Newcastle's incomparable fans against Club Brugge - and believes that the players in turn gave them a fightback fitting of such fanatical support.
It looked as though the Toon Army, who travelled in their thousands to Belgium to watch the match at the Jan Breydel Stadion and on big screens in Bruges' historic market square, were going to go home disappointed as United fell two goals behind inside the opening 19 minutes.
But Alan Pardew's side roared back to equalise before half-time and earned a vital point to keep them at the top of Group D in this season's Europa League going into the final two fixtures.
Young full-back Tavernier has regularly been involved in continental competition this season and played the whole game on Thursday night.
And he paid tribute to the supporters, who helped to create a friendly, carnival atmosphere in the city before the match and then provided a passionate wall of noise during the 90 minutes.
The team coach drove past the square on the way to the game, allowing the players to survey the scene at first hand having heard the Toon Army in full voice from their hotel the previous evening.
"The fans on both sides were tremendous - but especially our lot," Tavernier told nufc.co.uk.
"They were singing out loud and it was really great to hear them showing their support. And obviously there were more fans outside the stadium who would have been cheering us on when we scored that second goal.
"I think it's absolutely brilliant, all those fans coming out to support the team.
"As a club and as a player you can't ask for anything better than that. It's truly tremendous to see that and I'm really proud of them for all coming over, even the ones who didn't get tickets but still showed their support."
Ivan Trickovski and Jesper Jorgansen dampened the travelling Tynesiders' spirits before Vurnon Anita and Shola Ameobi dragged United level.
And Tavernier said: "When we equalised, we were looking for a winning goal in the second half but it didn't come.
"But we're happy to get a point away from home and hopefully the next game we'll win, and then we'll be through.
"Our grit really kicked in when we were 2-0 down. We responded really well with the two goals and obviously a great goal from Vurn, which was top class.
"Every day I say 'keep on shooting, keep on shooting and one wll go in the top corner' and it happened today, so I'm really pleased for him.
"He's a great lad and he's settled in very well. Obviously he knows Tim (Krul) from Holland and he's really settled in very well with the lads."
The Bradford-born Academy product turned 21 at the end of October and has came of age this season, making his Barclays Premier League debut against Reading as well as impressing in Europe and the Capital One Cup.
"Every game that comes, I'm just trying to take the opportunity and really work hard at it," he explained.
"With each game, I get better and better the more match time I get, playing with the lads and playing against better teaams.
"I'm really raring to go. I'm going to train hard every single day so hopefully when that chance comes I can perform really well."
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