Newcastle United win-streak comes to end after frustrating goalless draw with Leeds

Magpies miss numerous chances at St James' Park but will end 2022 third in the table

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Newcastle United saw their six-game winning run come to an end after being held to a frustrating goalless draw at home by Leeds United on Saturday.

The Mapgies have surged from one end of the Premier League to the other during 2022, but could not end the year with three points at a rain-soaked St James' Park.

Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier saved well from both Chris Wood and Fabian Schar in a second half completely dominated by Eddie Howe's side, who remain unbeaten in 12 games and are third in the table.

Swiss defender Schar missed a hat-trick of chances over 90 minutes while midfielder Sean Longstaff also had two golden opportunities to grab the crucial goal but fired one wide of the target and the other way over the bar.

And Newcastle will consider that two points dropped ahead of their midweek game against league leaders Arsenal, who face Brighton on the south coast later on Saturday, at the Emriates Stadium.

The hard-fought point for Leeds, who had one shot on target all match, moves them up a place to 14th, three points clear of the relegation zone.

“It was one of those days for us,” admitted Magpies manager Howe. “We had enough chances to win the game comfortably. It just wouldn't go in for us today. You have take one of those chances.

“It is a sign of how far we have come that they were timewasting and doing everything they could to take time out of the game. All that was missing was the final third.”

Magpies midfielder Bruno Guimaraes emerged from the tunnel wearing Pele’s number 10 shirt as both clubs paid tribute to his compatriot before kick-off, but the home side found themselves on the back foot when the game got under way.

Wilfried Gnonto fired high over after cutting in front the left with just three minutes gone as Leeds attempted to take the early initiative away from the high-flying Magpies, although Meslier needed two attempts to claim Joelinton’s scuffed attempt at the other end as the hosts responded.

Newcastle eventually established themselves in the game with the link-up between Kieran Trippier and Miguel Almiron down the right starting to pay dividends.

And it was the full-back who handed Schar the chance to open the scoring from a 21st-minute corner, although the Switzerland international’s downward header flew agonisingly wide.

Magpies defender Sven Botman forced Meslier into action when he slid in to meet Trippier’s free-kick, but the keeper saved easily and did so once again after Joe Willock shot from distance.

The home side’s frustration continued immediately after the break when Schar recycled another Trippier corner beyond the far post, only to blast his shot over, before Wood was denied by Meslier after running on to Dan Burn’s knock-down.

Nick Pope was forced into his first genuine save 12 minutes after the restart, diving to his right to turn away Rodrigo’s well-struck effort and Newcastle stepped up a gear to pin Leeds back deep inside their own half.

Meslier repelled Schar’s 62nd-minute header and Sean Longstaff fired over after Joelinton’s enterprising run seconds later, prompting Howe to introduce Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin to popular acclaim.

Longstaff cleared the crossbar once again after good work by Almiron as an increasingly fractious contest entered its final quarter, but the visitors held firm to claim a battling draw.

“I feel good about coming here and getting a draw. The first half was good from us but in the second half they started playing every ball into our end,” said Leeds manager Jesse Marsch.

“I'm happy with how we dealt with the crowd and the mentality to get a draw and keep a clean sheet.”

Updated: December 31, 2022, 5:57 PM
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