Brighton and Hove Albion 0 Newcastle United 0
- Simon Hooper
Newcastle United played out a poor stalemate with Brighton & Hove Albion in their final away game of the Premier League season.
Chances were few and far between in a largely uneventful encounter at the Amex Stadium, though the draw did at least stop a run of three straight defeats for the Magpies while the Seagulls made sure of their top-flight status for another campaign.
Neither could have any complaints about the final scoreline, however – the second 0-0 between the two sides this term.
A low drive from Pascal Gross – which never looked likely to threaten Martin Dúbravka anyway – went down as the highlight of a drab opening quarter of the game. Only after the first “drinks break” of the evening did things start to happen, with Matt Ritchie a relieved man just before the half-hour mark after gifting possession to Brighton’s Neal Maupay inside the penalty area. Ritchie nearly conceded a penalty, but contact was only slight and Maupay got back to his feet. The Frenchman delivered a low cross for Leandro Trossard, who brought a decent stop out of Dúbravka with a first-time strike.
United’s best spell of the opening half came during a hefty chunk of stoppage time. A dinked ball in from Allan Saint-Maximin almost caught out young Brighton full back Tariq Lamptey, who was forced into a hurried clearance. Then, with the last action before the break, Dwight Gayle got up at the near post to glance Jonjo Shelvey’s corner onto the roof of the net.
The restart brought no improvement in terms of overall tempo but the Magpies did fashion a chance after 51 minutes. With Brighton struggling to clear their lines after a corner was only half-cleared, Ritchie picked out Miguel Almirón with a low delivery and the Paraguayan’s flicked effort had to be parried by Mat Ryan in the Seagulls’ goal.
As time went on, though, it was the hosts who started to look the more likely to make the breakthrough. Maupay’s last action before being taken off was to let fly with a left-footed effort just inside the box, which was deflected off-target before it could reach Dúbravka. The stopper then denied Adam Webster, who took aim with a thunderous drive after advancing forward from deep, before Trossard volleyed over from a decent position after Lewis Dunk nodded substitute Solly March’s ball down into his path.
Andy Carroll – himself a second-half replacement, having come on for Gayle with around 15 minutes to play – could have won it for the Magpies late on, beating his man at the back post but only able to nod Ritchie’s corner down and wide of the upright.