Newcastle United 2 Southampton 2
- Paul Tierney
A controversial stoppage time penalty from James Ward-Prowse denied Newcastle United a first win of the season on Saturday afternoon.
It was a breathless final few minutes at St. James’ Park, as Allan Saint-Maximin looked to have won it for the hosts when he put them 2-1 ahead at the death.
But it wasn’t to be, as the Saints levelled moments later when Jamaal Lascelles was penalised for a foul on Adam Armstrong in the box after a lengthy VAR consultation – in which referee Paul Tierney viewed the incident on a pitchside monitor – and Ward-Prowse stepped up to slot home the leveller.
Callum Wilson had opened the scoring for the hosts in the second half, but Mohamed Elyounoussi sneaked in to equalise before Saint-Maximin and Ward-Prowse traded dramatic late goals.
The Saints looked lively from the off on Tyneside, enjoying the majority of possession in the first half. Kyle Walker-Peters and former United frontman Armstrong both pulled shots wide early on, before Che Adams drew the first save of the afternoon from Freddie Woodman with a tame low shot.
The visitors continued to push, with Ward-Prowse firing wide from the impressive Tino Livramento’s cutback, but the best opportunities of the half both fell to Moussa Djenepo. His first was a sitter, somehow turning Livramento’s low cross over from inside the six yard box, and his second – which was prevented in part by some last-ditch defending from the hosts – saw him struggle to get the ball out of his feet in front of goal before seeing his shot blocked in front of goal.
After Jacob Murphy whipped a Newcastle free kick over, Elyounoussi burst into the box and forced a smart stop from Woodman, before Armstrong did the same. At the other end, the Magpies’ best chance of opening the scoring looked like falling to Wilson. He pulled an effort over the bar after a swift Saint-Maximin counter-attack before flicking Sean Longstaff’s corner goalwards, only to see Alex McCarthy claw it away.
Saint-Maximin was typically dynamic, and saw his strike flash just past the post within seconds of the restart, just a few minutes before Djenepo again took aim. His curling strike, though, flew just beyond the upright.
And before the hour, Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men were made to pay for their profligacy. Fabian Schär created the opening, floating a tempting ball across to Murphy on the right flank of the penalty box. The winger met it with his head, sending it over to Wilson in the middle, who dispatched it beyond McCarthy with a diving to header to grab his first goal of the season.
Southampton sought a way back into the game, with Armstrong’s deflected drive a measure of their intent, and with just over quarter of an hour left they got their leveller. It owed much to substitute Nathan Redmond’s work on the left as he skipped past Murphy and delivered for the oncoming Elyounoussi to prod home the equaliser from close range.
The final ten minutes were somewhat chaotic. Saints continued to push, but with the 90 minutes all but up United launched a counter with Schär, who released Saint-Maximin. He in turn set substitute Joelinton free, but when the Brazilian couldn’t beat Ward-Prowse on the line, his French teammate was there to slam the ball home in front of the Gallowgate End.
It looked to be the winner and sparked jubilant scenes as Saint-Maximin jumped into the crowd, receiving a booking when he emerged a moment later. But the drama wasn’t over and, sickeningly for Newcastle, their lead was wiped out.
When Armstrong was played in it looked as though he was set to score, until Lascelles intervened with a sliding challenge. He collided with Woodman and play was stopped, with VAR assessing the tackle and eventually referee Tierney strode over to watch a replay himself.
He pointed to the spot, to the dismay of the Magpies’ supporters, and England international Ward-Prowse stepped up to fire home and rescue a point for his side.