Newcastle United drew with Aston Villa 1-1 at St James Park on Wednesday night, with Ahmed Elmohamady’s late header cancelling out Dwight Gayle’s first Premier League goal of the season.
Even with one eye on the high stakes FA Cup clash versus Manchester City, too held at St James Park, the Magpies surprisingly named an unchanged side from Sunday’s remarkable victory over Sheffield United
Villa started the game strong: Trezeguet and el Ghazi in particular proved to be a constant threat with dangerous crosses. But Martin Dubravka and the Newcastle defence were able to clear the danger time after time.
Attacking wise, Newcastle initially seemed to lack the firepower and ambition they had just 3 days prior: Matt Ritchie’s 43rd minute strike being the sole shot on target for the home side.
But Newcastle’s quality, much like in the Sheffield fixture, turned up two notches in the 2nd half, as the Geordies finally broke through the Villa defence. It took the work of two substitutes, as some superb hold up play from Andy Carroll allowed him to find Dwight Gayle, who slotted it home to make it 1-0.
Yet Dean Smith’s side pushed for an equaliser, and a dangerous corner from Hourihane found Egyptian national Elmohamady, whose header squeezed past Jonjo Shelvey and Martin Dubravka to bring them level, and allow the Birmingham-based outfit to return to the Midlands one point better off.
In terms of player performances, Saint-Maximin once again cemented his place as Newcastle’s primary attacking threat: he should have been rewarded with a goal after a sensational solo run went just wide of Orjan Nyland in the Villa net.
The result sees Steve Bruce’s side remain in 13th place, having been hoping to rise up the Premier League table with a win. Tonight’s point was vital for Villa, as they now move level with their relegation rivals West Ham and Bournemouth, with each team now on 27 points after 31 games.
Up next is perhaps the biggest game of Newcastle United’s season: their first FA Cup quarter final in over a decade against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. It won’t be the first meeting between the two teams at St James’ this season, as they played out a thoroughly entertaining 2-2 draw back in November.