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Saint-Maximin equaliser earns point

Published on: 17 September 2021

Allan Saint-Maximin scored a minute before the break

Allan Saint-Maximin's fine equaliser lifted the pressure on Newcastle boss Steve Bruce as his side earned a point against Leeds.

After a week when Bruce had to defend his position following further criticism from fans, the mood turned ugly inside a packed St James' Park when Raphinha cut in from the right and sent his cross into the far corner of Karl Darlow's goal after 13 minutes.

As Leeds threatened to run riot against a disjointed Newcastle, "we want Brucey out" was sung by all sides of the stadium.

Marcelo Bielsa's free-spirited side should have been further ahead before the break, but after Matt Ritchie hit a post, Saint-Maximin lifted the mood when he danced around the Leeds defence before finding the bottom corner.

It was a massive goal for both Newcastle and Bruce, who punched the air in delight, and restored some equilibrium after a torrid first half.

There was less stress for Bruce after the break as Newcastle switched to four at the back and Saint-Maximin twice tested Illan Meslier in the Leeds goal.

The result left both sides still searching for their first win of the season, and at the wrong end of the table.

But a point kept Bruce's head above water even if there will still calls for him to leave the club as the game finished. As the 60-year-old headed down the tunnel, his face told the story of a man relieved for now but who faces an uphill task to turn the mood around.

Saint-Maximin shines on torrid night for Newcastle

After a week where Bruce declared that quitting was "not in my nature", this was an atmosphere which perhaps proved that his family was right to think he was "sick" for staying in the job.

It took only three minutes before a section sang "we want Brucey out" but as the hosts unravelled under Leeds' relentless counter-attacks, large sections of St James' Park made their feelings known.

In a frantic first half, where Leeds could have scored three or four goals, the atmosphere threatened to boil over.

Raphinha's opener was another stain on a defence who came into the match having conceded 13 goals, the most in the Premier League this season.

Karl Darlow returned in goal after being in hospital with Covid-19 and was called into action on several occasions, but Leeds still created plenty of opportunities with Raphinha, Daniel James, Mateusz Klich and Junior Firpo all going close.

A stressed Bruce winced on the sidelines. Despite Newcastle's defensive frailties, they still looked sharp in attack, with Saint-Maximin, playing up front, at the heart of their endeavour and in the end he proved a saviour.

A good break from the French forward led to Ritchie hitting the woodwork, and his goal before the break was transformative, although there was still time for Newcastle to almost concede again when Raphinha was guilty of missing when on his own in the opposition box.

A more sedate and equal second half suited Bruce and Newcastle, who were without last season's top scorer Callum Wilson, as the energy both sides showed in the first half dissipated.

Darlow, who replaced a struggling Freddie Woodman provided the extra assurance that the hosts needed, especially when he had to save from Jamaal Lascelles, who almost headed into his own net.

Saint-Maximin drew two equally fine stops from Meslier in the Leeds goal and created a fine chance for Joelinton, who fired over, to groans all around the ground.

Given that the first half could have been a lot worse for Newcastle and their under-fire boss, a point was a decent return and spoke of a good second-half recovery.

For Bielsa's side, it was their third draw of the season and although it is the first time they have gone five games without a win under the Argentine, there was plenty of encouragement that their form will improve.

The same might not be said for Newcastle, however, as "Bruce out" chants rang out and they collected only their second point of the season to remain 18th.

Player of the match

RaphinhaRaphinha

with an average of 7.80

    NewcastleNewcastle UnitedNewcastle UnitedLeedsLeeds UnitedLeeds United

Newcastle UnitedAvgSquad number10Player nameSaint-MaximinAverage rating

7.18

Squad number26Player nameDarlowAverage rating

5.51

Squad number11Player nameRitchieAverage rating

5.24

Squad number28Player nameWillockAverage rating

5.09

Squad number24Player nameAlmirónAverage rating

5.06

Squad number7Player nameJoelintonAverage rating

4.89

Squad number14Player nameHaydenAverage rating

4.88

Squad number19Player nameManquilloAverage rating

4.84

Squad number2Player nameClarkAverage rating

4.79

Squad number36Player nameS LongstaffAverage rating

4.73

Squad number6Player nameLascellesAverage rating

4.68

Squad number17Player nameKrafthAverage rating

4.60

Squad number23Player nameMurphyAverage rating

4.58

Squad number21Player nameFraserAverage rating

4.46

Leeds UnitedAvgSquad number10Player nameRaphinhaAverage rating

7.80

Squad number1Player nameMeslierAverage rating

7.69

Squad number23Player namePhillipsAverage rating

7.59

Squad number19Player nameRodrigoAverage rating

7.40

Squad number2Player nameAylingAverage rating

6.63

Squad number43Player nameKlichAverage rating

6.56

Squad number6Player nameCooperAverage rating

6.39

Squad number20Player nameJamesAverage rating

6.39

Squad number38Player nameSummervilleAverage rating

6.38

Squad number15Player nameDallasAverage rating

6.37

Squad number46Player nameShackletonAverage rating

6.08

Squad number3Player nameFirpoAverage rating

6.02

Squad number9Player nameBamfordAverage rating

6.02

Squad number11Player nameRobertsAverage rating

5.35

    Line-upsMatch StatsLive Text

Line-upsNewcastle

Formation 5-4-1

26Darlow19Manquillo14Hayden6Lascelles2Clark11Ritchie24Almirón28Willock36S Longstaff7Joelinton10Saint-Maximin

    26Darlow19ManquilloSubstituted forKrafthat 81'minutes14Hayden6Lascelles2Clark11RitchieBooked at 8mins24AlmirónBooked at 39minsSubstituted forFraserat 62'minutes28Willock36S Longstaff7JoelintonSubstituted forMurphyat 90+1'minutes10Saint-Maximin

Substitutes

    5Schär12Lewis16Hendrick17Krafth18Fernández21Fraser23Murphy29Gillespie34Gayle

Leeds

Formation 4-1-4-1

1Meslier15Dallas2Ayling6Cooper3Firpo23Phillips10Raphinha19Rodrigo43Klich20James9Bamford

    1Meslier15Dallas2AylingSubstituted forShackletonat 89'minutes6Cooper3FirpoBooked at 80mins23Phillips10RaphinhaSubstituted forSummervilleat 67'minutes19RodrigoBooked at 57mins43Klich20JamesSubstituted forRobertsat 61'minutes9Bamford

Substitutes

    11Roberts13Klaesson35Cresswell38Summerville39McKinstry42Greenwood45McCarron46Shackleton54Kenneh

Referee:Mike DeanAttendance:50,407Match StatsHome TeamNewcastleAway TeamLeedsPossessionHome35%Away65%ShotsHome17Away21Shots on TargetHome7Away9CornersHome4Away5FoulsHome9Away11Live TextPost update

Match ends, Newcastle United 1, Leeds United 1.

90'+6'Full Time

Second Half ends, Newcastle United 1, Leeds United 1.

90'+4'Post update

Rodrigo (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90'+4'Post update

Foul by Sean Longstaff (Newcastle United).

90'+1'Substitution

Substitution, Newcastle United. Jacob Murphy replaces Joelinton.

90'Post update

Foul by Junior Firpo (Leeds United).

90'Post update

Ryan Fraser (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

89'Substitution

Substitution, Leeds United. Jamie Shackleton replaces Luke Ayling because of an injury.

89'Post update

Attempt saved. Mateusz Klich (Leeds United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tyler Roberts.

88'Post update

Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Kalvin Phillips.

84'Post update

Liam Cooper (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

84'Post update

Foul by Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle United).

83'Post update

Attempt saved. Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

83'Post update

Attempt blocked. Rodrigo (Leeds United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Junior Firpo.

82'Post update

Attempt missed. Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Matt Ritchie with a cross following a corner.

82'Post update

Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Luke Ayling.

81'Substitution

Substitution, Newcastle United. Emil Krafth replaces Javier Manquillo.

80'Booking

Junior Firpo (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

80'Post update

Foul by Junior Firpo (Leeds United).

80'Post update

Joseph Willock (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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Source: bbc.com

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