Another dire performance from Newcastle United left the sparse St James’ Park crowd dissatisfied at their teams display despite seeing them qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League.

It ended 1-1 against Portuguese minnows Maritimo – who are already out of the competition – and extended the Magpies’ winless run to five games. The result was made worse with the premature withdrawal of Hatem Ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse due to injuries.

Sylvain Marveaux gave the hosts the lead midway through the first half but more slack defending allowed Maritimo substitute Fidelis to equalise with little over ten minutes remaining.

The size of the St James’ crowd reflected the mood on Tyneside, with fans growing impatient at their teams’ lack of form and even booing the side from the pitch when 90 more frustrating minutes were up.

The 21,000 in attendance would have been happy enough after Davide Santon tested Maritimo keeper Salin with a shot before Marveaux provided the breakthrough. The French winger has been something of a flop since joining from Rennes last summer but his first goal for Newcastle may invigorate him – or at least the Toon Army hope so. His goal was decent too, showing a nice burst of pace before slotting through the keeper’s legs to open his Toon goal scoring account.

There wasn’t much attacking threat before the goal or after though, and with Hatem Ben Arfa seemingly the only source of creative threat, Newcastle looked unlikely to grab a second goal.

The reliance on Ben Arfa to create something every time Newcastle play is a risky ploy, as the former Marseille man is prone to injury often. This theory was proved in the 40th minute, when Ben Arfa was forced off with a hamstring injury, one that will see him miss the trip to Southampton at the weekend.

Alan Pardew now has almost an entire team missing through injury and Papiss Cisse getting a knock and being taken off early in the second half only makes the paper thin squad creak even more.

The removal of the pair gave the visitors belief that they could get something from the game and they began to create chances. Tim Krul turned away a Danilo Dias shot before Sami wasted a chance moments later. Ruben Ferreira was also denied by Krul as his volley was palmed away.

Finally though the pressure was too much and after skinning Steven Taylor, Fidelis smacked past Krul to level the scores and become the first man to score at St James’ Park in Europe this season.

The Brazilian could have had a second too, but his late volley flew wide and ensured Newcastle remain unbeaten – if uninspiring – in the Europa League this season.