Newcastle United and Aston Villa played out a dull 1-1 draw on Friday which only came to life in the last five minutes.
The two sides exchanged possession early on and both enjoyed phases of dominance, but there was a distinct lack of clear-cut chances and quality. The less said about the first half, the better.
The second 45 took on a very similar tone early on, with both sides charging around the field and doing very little with the ball at their feet. As the clocked ticked over to the 80th minute, the two teams started to actually play football, which was a nice change of pace.
Ciaran Clark looked to have conceded the deciding own goal when Ollie Watkins’ header ricocheted off him and into the back of the net in the 88th minute, only for Toon skipper Jamaal Lascelles to head home deep into injury time to salvage a point.
Avoid the highlights and get stuck into these ratings instead.
Martin Dubravka (GK) – 6/10 – Had to be alert to keep out a handful of half-chances from Villa early on, but made a stunning save to deny Watkins in stoppage time.
Emil Krafth (RB) – 5/10 – Villa didn’t have much of a spark in attack, and yet Krafth still struggled to contain them. Looked a little uncomfortable up against Trezeguet.
Jamaal Lascelles (CB) – 6/10 – Woeful when passing out from the back but stepped up when it mattered most with a bullet header to snatch his side a point.
Ciaran Clark (CB) – 7/10 – Had a good relationship with Dummett and found himself in some good positions to cover for his left-back when needed. So unlucky to be involved in the goal.
Paul Dummett (LB) – 6/10 – Put in a handful of really dangerous crosses and might well have been the team’s best attacker because of that.
Joe Willock (CM) – 6/10 – Showed some great movement by drifting into some good spaces, but only actually started doing anything of note after the break.
Jonjo Shelvey (CM) – 3/10 – Some awful, awful passes. Was not switched on at all and invited so much pressure on his defence because of his poor distribution.
Isaac Hayden (CM) – 5/10 – Looked a little awkward playing as a half-winger, but did surprisingly well when asked to keep up with Villa’s faster players.
Ryan Fraser (AM) – 4/10 – Was Fraser playing?
Joelinton (ST) – 7/10 – Deserves a lot of credit for his work rate. Caused real problems for Mings but could not find the space needed to get good shots off.
Dwight Gayle (ST) – 4/10 – Has started just two Premier League games since returning to the team in December, and with a performance like this, you can see why. Did very little as a central striker and did even less when drifting out wide.
Jacob Murphy – 7/10
Javi Manquillo – N/A
Andy Carroll – N/A
Emiliano Martinez (GK) – 6/10 – Needed to be awake because Newcastle flirted with the idea of threatening him a lot. Couldn’t do much about Lascelles’ header.
Ahmed Elmohamady (RB) – 5/10 – Didn’t do much of note, but his biggest shortcoming was that he isn’t Matty Cash. Offered very little creativity from defence.
Ezri Konsa (CB) – 7/10 – A handful of excellent blocks, including a huge challenge on Joelinton early on. Suffocated Newcastle’s strikers all night long.
Tyrone Mings (CB) – 5/10 – Bullied by Joelinton for most of the game and looked to lose his composure as a result. A little awkward at times.
Matt Targett (LB) – 6/10 – Put in some decent deliveries from crosses and free kicks, but that was about it. Not great, not terrible.
John McGinn (CM) – 5/10 – Did a great job recovering possession and then did an awful job by giving it away. Seemed a little off the pace.
Jacob Ramsey (CM) – 6/10 – Looked really composed in possession, but that’s probably because he didn’t do anything exciting. A lot of sideways passes to keep things ticking, but probably needed to take a risk or two.
Douglas Luiz (CM) – 7/10 – Put in a real shift defensively and helped keep Newcastle’s midfield at bay.
Bertrand Traore (RW) – 6/10 – Managed around 15 minutes before a collision with the advertising hoardings forced him off the field.
Ollie Watkins (ST) – 5/10 – Couldn’t get into the game for 88 minutes but showed some good movement for the header that deflected in off Clark.
Trezeguet (LW) – 5/10 – Can’t fault his effort but Trezeguet didn’t really do much. Had to do a lot of work defensively but his lack of impact saw him hooked midway through the second half.
Anwar El Ghazi – 6/10 – Came on after 20 minutes for the stricken Traore, but was largely ineffectual against Dummett.
Morgan Sanson – 5/10
Ross Barkley – 5/10
For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!