Allan Saint-Maximin bagged his second goal of the season as Newcastle frustrated Leeds with a 1-1 draw at St James’ Park.
The result at the end of a pulsating encounter left both sides still awaiting a first Premier League win of the campaign. It also left Newcastle boss Steve Bruce in a precarious position, given recent rumours of a training ground bust-up.
Leeds took the lead with 13 minutes gone. Raphinha crossed from the left and Rodrigo attempted to back-heel the ball towards goal, but appeared to make little contact. That wrong-footed keeper Karl Darlow, who could only look on in horror as it sailed into his net.
Chants of “We want Brucey out” immediately rang around the stadium as the collective mood took a turn for the worse. It was not improved as the home side laboured in their efforts to keep Leeds at bay.
The Magpies finally responded with Miguel Almiron dragging an attempt across the face of goal. Matt Ritchie’s cross had been only half-cleared just before, and Joelinton fired straight at keeper Illan Meslier following Saint-Maximin’s blistering run.
However, Rodrigo steered a 25th-minute shot wide when he might have done better and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips was similarly inaccurate four minutes later with the visitors picking holes at will.
Darlow had to get down well to claim Mateusz Klich’s deflected strike, but opposite number Meslier needed the help of a post to keep out Ritchie’s 35th-minute effort. It had clipped a defender on its way through to goal.
🗣️ "It reminds me of that goal George Best scored all those years ago!"
Would you listen to that roar! 🤯
Saint-Maximin weaves his way past three defenders before rifling a shot into the far corner 🔥
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 17, 2021
Leeds show profligacy in second half
Bruce’s half-time address might have been different had either Raphinha or Junior Firpo managed to finish off stoppage-time chances. Newcastle defenders were at sixes and sevens, but they somehow survived.
The home side had a better, more resilient shape about them immediately after the break. However, Daniel James was still gifted time and space to drag a 50th-minute volley wide. Darlow also had to make a fine reaction save from team-mate Jamaal Lascelles’ headed clearance.
But with Saint-Maximin, Joelinton and Almiron repeatedly stretching the Leeds defence, the Magpies continued to carry a threat. Meslier had to save from the Frenchman at his near-post with 59 minutes gone.
Patrick Bamford should have restored Leeds’ advantage with 18 minutes remaining but shot tamely at Darlow from Rodrigo’s inch-perfect through-ball. Meslier then made a vital stop to deny Saint-Maximin what would surely have been the winner.