English Premier League

Newcastle United 1-1 Brighton

Newcastle United 1-1 Brighton. Newcastle dropped points in their pursuit of European football as Brighton spoiled their final home match of the Premier League season by earning a draw at St James’ Park.

Sean Longstaff cancelled out Joel Veltman’s opener on the stroke of half-time to ensure Newcastle scored in every one of their home league fixtures in a top-flight season for the first time since 1958-59.

Welcomed to the pitch by an impressive pre-match flag display from the home support, Newcastle dominated the early stages – and much of the game from there.

But it was the visitors, offering a threat on the counter, who took an 18th-minute lead when Veltman struck at close range after Newcastle failed to clear a corner.

Newcastle were rewarded for their persistence when Longstaff steered in from Elliot Anderson’s cut-back, following great work by the always-lively Anthony Gordon.

However, with Gordon’s late finish ruled out for offside, Eddie Howe’s side failed to find a winner in the second half to leave their hopes of qualifying for some form of European football in the balance.

After fifth-placed Tottenham moved six points clear with victory over Burnley, Newcastle must now watch as Chelsea and Manchester United aim to move level on points with them when they play later this weekend.

Newcastle matched the energy of the home support as they sought to end the season on a high note at St James’ Park, but they were ultimately left frustrated and must now hope this is not a result which proves costly at the end of the campaign.

For all the hosts’ intent and probing, Jacob Murphy’s speculative shot from distance represented their only attempt on target inside the opening 30 minutes.

The absence of Callum Wilson from the matchday squad, after the striker’s two goals in three appearances since returning from injury, was felt as the hosts could not build on Longstaff’s leveller which lifted the crowd before the break.

Alexander Isak was unable to maintain his goal-scoring form as both he and Longstaff were denied by Bart Verbruggen, while Tariq Lamptey made a crucial first-half intervention to halt Gordon’s progress towards goal.

Gordon did no harm to his chances of making England’s squad for Euro 2024 with another energetic and influential display. While he will not receive an assist for his part in Longstaff’s goal, his contribution was deserving of one as he darted into the penalty area before playing in Anderson.

Sixth place, should they hold on to it – they do have a vastly superior goal difference to pursuers Chelsea and Manchester United, who they face next – may yet provide Europa League football if Manchester City win the FA Cup later this month.

Having ended a six-match winless run in the league against top-four hopefuls Aston Villa last week, this was another positive result for Brighton at the end of an inconsistent, injury-disrupted season.

Roberto de Zerbi said this week he was “disappointed for the past three months” but “for the rest, we have to be proud of this season” – one which brought the club’s first European adventure.

Captain Lewis Dunk could not hide his frustration with his team-mates as the Seagulls struggled to settle, but Veltman’s opener allowed them to threaten frequently on the counter and the returning Julio Enciso had several good chances to improve his side’s position.

It was ultimately their determination in defence that earned them a point, which leaves them 10th in the standings as they aim for a top-half finish with two home games remaining.

source – BBC