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Southampton claimed their first Barclays Premier League point at St James' Park since 2001 with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United.
Jay Rodriguez's seventh goal in all competitions this season cancelled out a first-half opener from Yoan Gouffran, the Frenchman's fourth strike in his last four home matches. Both sides had chances to win it in what proved to be a very open second half, with Loic Remy guilty of spurning a one-on-one opportunity late on. Ultimately, however, Southampton's winless league run was extended to five matches, while the hosts were denied a sixth victory in their last seven top-flight fixtures.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, facing his former club, was without the suspended Yohan Cabaye, who picked up his fifth booking of the campaign before scoring the winner against Manchester United last time out, with Shola Ameobi coming in. Mauricio Pochettino selected defender Jos Hooiveld in place of Jose Fonte, while midfielder Adam Lallana was dropped to the bench alongside groin injury victim Morgan Schneiderlin.
Newcastle made most of the early running and Mathieu Debuchy flashed a volley from the edge of the box narrowly wide after five minutes. The home side could have taken the lead six minutes later when Gouffran beat Paulo Gazzaniga to the ball, cut it back for Remy and the striker's close-range effort was cleared off the line by Calum Chambers.
The pressure finally told in the 27th minute as Southampton failed to defend a free-kick from the halfway line and Gouffran pounced on Mike Williamson's flick-on to side-step the goalkeeper and roll home his fifth league goal of the season from six yards. A rare Southampton attack late in the half forced a corner that Tim Krul punched clear as Newcastle went into the break with their lead intact.
Pochettino made two changes at the interval, with Lallana replacing Pablo Daniel Osvaldo and Schneiderlin coming on for James Ward-Prowse. The visitors looked more threatening initially, Rodriguez scuffing a volley wide after latching on to Rickie Lambert's lofted pass.
Remy saw a low long-range strike well kept out at the other end, with strike partner Ameobi heading well wide from a corner in the 57th minute. Steven Davis hit a post with a well-struck long-range volley just after the hour but Newcastle failed to heed the warning. Rodriguez broke from just inside the hosts' half and played a one-two with Davis before rolling the equaliser past Krul in the 65th minute.
Huge chances went begging at both ends within a minute, as first Lambert failed to get enough power in his close-range header and then Remy blasted wide when he had only Gazzaniga to beat.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew: "It was a real Premier League game, good teams at it, but Southampton have got a great defensive record and we had two massive opportunities with Loic. He [Remy] played well today, but those two you would expect him to score and at this level it would have made the difference. The rest of the game was very, very tight - they had periods, we had periods - two good teams.
"Adam Lallana had an impact on the game, for sure, but having said that so did Hatem [Ben Arfa], he could have won it for us at the end. He made a few nice moments for us. That's what these players are paid to do if they are not in the team - come off the bench and make an impact.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino: "Overall in the analysis of the 96 or 97 minutes played the draw was a fair result. Perhaps we could have even got something a bit more from this game. Both halves were completely different.
"In the first half it was wide open and both teams were creating good chances for themselves. In the second half Southampton was completely dominating the game and could have gone on to win.The overall analysis is the draw is a fair result.”
|21 Dec 2013||v Crystal Palace (A)|
|26 Dec 2013||v Stoke (H)|
|29 Dec 2013||v Arsenal (H)|
|01 Jan 2014||v West Brom (A)|
|12 Jan 2014||v Man City (H)|
|18 Jan 2014||v West Ham (A)|