West Bromwich Albion 0 Newcastle United 0
- Martin Atkinson
Newcastle United were held to a goalless draw at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
It was a scrappy game from start to finish at The Hawthorns, with neither side able to find a winner.
There were chances at both ends, most notably for Matt Phillips and Joelinton, but in the end the Magpies were forced to settle for a point.
Newcastle started reasonably positively, with Ryan Fraser at the heart of most of United’s forward play. He broke down the left and looked to square it for Joelinton, but Conor Townsend’s timely touch took it away from the Brazilian.
Emil Krafth, passed fit after overcoming a shin injury, tested Baggies goalkeeper Sam Johnstone from distance before Bruce’s side carved out a better chance. Joelinton was getting some joy down the right and, after brushing off Townsend, he could have pulled the trigger but opted to try to play in Fraser for a tap-in, though the final ball was cut out.
West Brom grew into the game as the first half wore on, however, with Matheus Pereira’s volley calling Martin Dúbravka into action for the first time. Mbaye Diagne hooked an effort over the bar shortly after as the hosts began to exert some pressure.
And it was Sam Allardyce’s 19th-placed outfit who ended the half in the ascendency. Johnstone repelled a low Jonjo Shelvey effort after Fraser’s clever corner picked him out unmarked but Dúbravka was the busier stopping, holding onto Phillips’ drive before tipping Diagne’s glancing header - which was creeping into the bottom corner - around the post.
After the restart, Okay Yokuslu saw a shot charged down and moments later an even bigger opportunity arrived. Townsend’s low cross found Phillips arriving late into the box, but his shot was too high.
Bruce then introduced former West Brom loanee Dwight Gayle in place of Jeff Hendrick, and the frontman played his part in a swift breakaway which resulted in Joe Willock, again energetic in midfield, stinging Johnstone’s palms with a firm strike from a fairly tight angle.
Willock’s ceaseless running looked like Newcastle’s best chance of stealing the points, and it was another of his surging bursts forward that eventually led to an opening for Joelinton. The shot at the end of it, though, was far too tame to force what would have been a winner, with Johnstone clutching the ball gratefully to ensure a share of the spoils.