Newcastle United 1 Swansea City 1
- Graham Scott
Substitute Joselu’s well-taken leveller earned Newcastle United a point at home to Swansea City on Saturday.
The Spaniard found the target just five minutes after replacing Dwight Gayle in the second half, finding the corner of the net to draw his side level and, ultimately, ensure the Magpies had something to show for their efforts.
Though Newcastle applied plenty of pressure in the first half, it was Swansea who snatched the lead on the hour, with Jordan Ayew heading home to put the Premier League’s bottom club in front at St. James’ Park.
But United fought back, and Joselu made an immediate impact after his introduction, burying the equaliser in front of the Gallowgate End soon after Rafa Benítez sent him on.
They couldn’t quite find a winner, though, and were left to rue the missed chances that cost them the opportunity to take all three points in what was a dominant performance against the Welsh side.
Gayle squandered two chances to give the hosts an early lead, firstly nodding an inviting Paul Dummett cross past the post and then, after a wayward Mo Diamé drive, planting another header wide after Ayoze Pérez had done brilliantly to beat Swans skipper Kyle Bartley down the left.
The Magpies were enjoying some success down Swansea’s right flank, and when Christian Atsu got to the byline and whipped in a low centre, United almost took the lead through an unlikely source. Paul Dummett’s half-volley, though, was just too high.
It was one-way traffic, and midway through the half Newcastle carved out another opportunity. Gayle’s knock-down found Matt Ritchie, who hooked a pass over the visitors’ defence and into Pérez’s path, but Lukasz Fabianski stood firm to deny the Spaniard with his legs.
In a rare attack from the Swans, Mike van der Hoorn turned Bartley’s header goalwards but it was blocked and cleared, and seconds later the ball was in the net at the other end. But Gayle’s close-range header was ruled out for offside, as he had strayed just beyond the last man as he met Pérez’s flick on from Ritchie’s corner.
The pressure continued after the break, with Gayle shooting wide after a mistake from Sam Clucas allowed Pérez to play him in.
But on the hour, despite having had little in the way of a goal threat all afternoon, the Swans went ahead. Van der Hoorn’s deep cross from the right was met by Ayew, whose first header was superbly kept out by Karl Darlow, but the Ghanaian international frontman was quickest to react, nodding the rebound past the Magpies stopper and into the corner.
Benítez responded by introducing Joselu in place of Gayle, and it took just five minutes for the former Stoke City frontman to make his mark. Pérez’s deflected effort found its way across the box and Joselu swivelled and fired goalwards. It went through Alfie Mawson’s legs and, with Fabianski helpless, nestled in the far corner, bringing Newcastle level.
Mikel Merino was then sent on in place of former Swan Jonjo Shelvey, but Carlos Carvalhal’s men held out to claim a point – but they almost snatched all three, as Wilfried Bony saw his effort cleared off the line by DeAndre Yedlin in the dying seconds.