It was an entertaining, hard-working and committed performance to be proud of for Newcastle United fans. The Magpies battled with ten men for much of the match to gain a hard-fought point and a Geordie scored at the Gallowgate end, pride in abundance at St James’ Park.

There have been numerous enthralling encounters between Newcastle and Liverpool down the years and this one was no different. The pre-match billing suggested that goals were guaranteed and that’s exactly what we got.

Alan Pardew has vowed to give Geordie fans entertainment at St James’ Park this season and true to his word his team selection was very attacking. French maverick Hatem Ben Arfa was back in the fold and thanks to a tactical tweak by Pardew, Ben Arfa featured in a central attacking role with in form Loic Remy to his left and Yoan Gouffran to his right.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa also returned to the starting line-up with injury ruling out captain Fabricio Coloccini. Yanga-Mbiwa suffered a torrid time during his last appearance at Everton and he faced the thankless task of stopping SAS today.

Pardew surprised a lot of people by handing Cheick Tiote the captain’s armband in Coloccini’s absence, a sign that Yohan Cabaye is no longer trusted with the responsibility following his summer transfer saga.

Liverpool arrived at St James’ sitting second in the Barclays Premier League and they carried a huge threat with Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez in attack. Newcastle’s best form of defence was to attack and that’s exactly what they did.

Both sides started in positive fashion, trading blows from the first whistle. Six minutes into the match Mathieu Debuchy strode forward and fired from range but his effort was straight at former Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet.

It was the visitors that had the first clear-cut chance of the match though and Davide Santon’s concentration was tested as he was forced to clear a Suarez header off the line on 20 minutes.

Moments later Cabaye showed why he is still regarded by many as Newcastle’s most valuable player. Tiote played the ball to Cabaye who produced a genuine moment of quality as he let fly from 35 yards. The ball dipped and swerved in the air before skipping off the turf and past Mignolet to give Newcastle the lead.

It was all going to plan for Pardew’s side, they had the lead and looked comfortable with it. They threatened to get a second but Mignolet saved well to deny Moussa Sissoko’s powerful strike.

At the other end, SAS combined to devastating effect as Sturridge played Suarez in on goal. Yanga-Mbiwa could do nothing but tug at Suarez’s shirt and the Uruguayan went tumbling to the ground.

Yanga-Mbiwa could have no complaints as he was shown the red card for denying a goal-scoring opportunity and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard dispatched the spot-kick to score his 100th league goal and draw level just before the break.

After Yanga-Mbiwa’s dismissal, local lad Paul Dummett replaced Sissoko and filled in at centre-half.
Newcastle had it all to do as Liverpool looked to make the most of their numerical advantage in the second half. Tim Krul was brought into action as he scrambled across his line to tip Glen Johnson’s effort round the post.

Liverpool flooded forward but Newcastle showed great character and against the odds they regained the lead.

Cabaye whipped in a free-kick from the left and Dummett burst in at the back post to steer Newcastle back into the lead, a dream come true for the Geordie boy who netted at the Gallowgate end on his second league appearance. The smile on his face said it all as he raced towards the Strawberry Corner to celebrate in front of the overjoyed Toon support.

Liverpool came straight back at Newcastle and with 18 minutes remaining SAS combined once again. Suarez got to the by-line and pulled back for Sturridge to head home from close range.

The momentum was with Liverpool and they piled the pressure on Newcastle during the closing stages of the game. Suarez went mightily close to finding a winner for the visitors when his shot from inside the box clipped the bar.

It was a fantastic team effort from Newcastle and the fans even did their bit as they refused to return the ball to play late in injury time but Suarez was presented with the perfect opportunity to take all three points deep into injury time when Debuchy gave away a free-kick on the edge of the area. Suarez curled the free-kick round the wall but he couldn’t beat Krul who was equal to it and ensured that Newcastle gained the point their spirited performance deserved.

WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON NEWCASTLE’S PERFORMANCE?  HAVE YOUR SAY BELOW…

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  1. John Morrow

    Fantastic! I think Tiote had his best game ever for Newcastle. I have followed Newcastle since my first game in 1949 and Tiote reminded me of a former great Newcastle skipper Jimmy Scouler. Great performence all round well done.

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