Southampton substitute Shane Long headed a late equaliser to earn a 2-2 draw and prevent Steve McClaren from starting his Newcastle United tenure with a Premier League victory on Sunday.
In McClaren’s first competitive fixture at the helm, Newcastle came from behind to lead at St James’ Park after Graziano Pelle had opened the scoring midway through the first half.
Papiss Cisse’s close-range finish ensured the two sides went into the break level, before debutant Georginio Wijnaldum – a close-season arrival from Dutch champions PSV – capped his impressive bow with an equally fine header at the start of the second period.
But Southampton, led by Ronald Koeman’s brother Erwin as the manager recovers from Achilles surgery, showed their battling qualities and levelled with 11 minutes remaining when Long headed in Dusan Tadic’s cross.
It was an impressive response from the visitors, who started with eight of the XI in action just three days previously against Vitesse in the UEFA Europa League.
For Newcastle, it was an encouraging start to life under McClaren, having narrowly avoided relegation at the end of last season.
The home side fielded two debutants in Chancel Mbemba and Wijnaldum, and the latter almost made a dream start in the seventh minute when his goalbound effort thudded into the chest of Steven Davis.
At the opposite end, Cedric Soares went close to marking his Premier League bow with a goal but the full-back’s thumping volley was superbly denied by Tim Krul.
The hosts thought they should have had a penalty midway through the half when Fabricio Coloccini’s shot struck the arm of Maya Yoshida, but referee Craig Pawson was unmoved.
And any feelings of injustice were exacerbated when Pelle rose impressively to meet Cedric’s cross and plant a header beyond Krul low to the goalkeeper’s right.
Davis was in the right place again to clear Coloccini’s effort off the line but Newcastle were level shortly before half-time when Massadio Haidara’s cross looped up off Sadio Mane and over Maarten Stekelenburg to Cisse, who chested the ball in from a yard out.
A remarkable start to the second half saw Newcastle survive a major scare before going ahead for the first time.
Yoshida ought to have put the visitors back in front, but he could only direct his free header from six yards straight at the legs of Krul – with Newcastle breaking clear from the resulting corner.
Gabriel Obertan did well to reach Cisse’s pass down the right, and whipped in a superb cross that Wijnaldum glanced into the far corner with a neat header.
But Newcastle were denied three points when Tadic found space on the right and delivered a ball for Long to nod the game’s third headed goal into the top-left corner.
Things almost got worse for McClaren, as Mane saw an effort brilliantly blocked by Jack Colback before the winger sent another shot narrowly wide but both sides ultimately settled for a point.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!