A new face in the dugout and still no win. But at least life after Steve Bruce began on a positive note for Newcastle supporters as Callum Wilson’s spectacular overhead kick rescued a point against Crystal Palace.
Watched on by the director, Amanda Staveley, in the absence of Yasir al-Rumayyan, Newcastle’s non-executive chairman from Saudi Arabia, the new interim manager, Graeme Jones, showed why he has been trusted with ensuring a smooth transition after Bruce’s departure this week.
A solid if unspectacular performance against vibrant opponents who were desperate to turn a run of draws into victories represented a decent start for the 51-year-old from Gateshead, even if he was grateful for Christian Benteke’s profligacy and the decision to disallow the Belgian’s late goal that would have sealed the points for Palace.
“We came here to win,” said Jones. “That was the intention so the next best thing is a point. It’s a base for us to build from but we all know that there is plenty of work to do still.”
The boos that greeted Newcastle’s players as they emerged from the tunnel before kick-off and the banner unfurled by home supporters had hinted that the visitors were in for a difficult afternoon. On the pitch Jones – who says that he has been given assurances over his long-term future at the club by the new owners – opted for a defensive approach as he tried to make an instant impression. A former striker who made his name as an assistant to Roberto Martínez in various roles and also worked with England during Euro 2020, his only previous experience as a manager came during a difficult season at Luton in 2019-20. But Jones, having been steeped in Newcastle’s history since childhood, knew this was his opportunity to show his credentials.
対照的に, Palace are a few months ahead in their own evolution under their manager, Patrick Vieira, and came into this match in a determined mood after three successive draws that all could have ended in victory. Michael Olise was handed his first プレミアリーグ start after impressing against Leicester and Arsenal, while Wilfried Zaha was deemed only fit enough for the bench.
It took a slice of luck and some quick thinking from Marc Guéhi to stop Emil Krafth – one of two changes from last week’s defeat to Tottenham in Bruce’s last match in charge – from giving Newcastle the lead in the 15th minute but Palace’s dominance was otherwise obvious. Benteke somehow contrived to hit a post from Olise’s pinpoint cross soon after, with the combination of Conor Gallagher and Odsonne Édouard a constant menace for the visitors’ defence.
Yet despite managing just 21% possession in the first half, Newcastle managed to restrict the hosts by sitting deep and inviting Palace to attempt to break them down. The plan seemed to be working for Jones. Palace began the second half with a significant increase in intensity, with an acrobatic effort from Benteke just whistling over the bar.
It seemed like only a matter of time until they found a breakthrough and the goal came courtesy of Gallagher’s tenacity on the edge of the box. The Chelsea loanee eventually found Tyrick Mitchell and his cross was gratefully gobbled up by Benteke. Another brilliant run and cross from Olise allowed him to pick out the unmarked Belgium striker six yards out but his header bounced back off the crossbar again.
If Palace thought the points were safe, でも, Wilson’s instinctive overhead kick after they had failed to clear a corner suddenly left Vieira’s side back at square one. Staveley and her husband, Mehrdad Ghodoussi, did not hold back with the celebrations in the directors’ box.
On came Zaha after he was forced to miss the draw against Arsenal due to illness, with Olise making way. Once again their best chance fell to Benteke after a brilliant flick from Édouard, only for him to miss the target when clean through.
Benteke thought he had struck the winner soon after but the referee, Darren England, disallowed the goal after consulting VAR for a foul by Guéhi in the buildup. The decision infuriated the home supporters but was a welcome sight for the relieved Jones.
“We need to be more clinical in front of goal because we had enough chances to score more,” said a disappointed Vieira. “But the goal that we conceded was fantastic and there’s nothing I can be frustrated about with that.”