Newcastle United were held to a 1-1 draw by promotion-chasing Leeds United at the St. James’ Park on Friday night in the EFL Championship, thanks to a late, late equalizer from the competition’s leading goal-scorer Chris Wood.
The Magpies looked set for all three points when captain Jamaal Lascelles opened the scoring for the team in the 67th minute after a sustained period of pressure over the length of the game. However, they failed to kill the game off with a second strike and switched off late in the game, to allow Leeds back in contention deep into the injury time, courtesy of Wood’s strike.
The game began at a frantic pace with Leeds’ winger Alfonso Pedraza striking the woodwork as early as the tenth minute, before Kemar Roofe’s follow up was stopped by Karl Darlow in the Newcastle goal. The Whites’ stopper Rob Green was an inspired form as he kept out shots one after the other with Matt Ritchie, Jonjo Shelvey all coming close.
However, the Magpies came the closest when Yoan Gouffran hit the base of the post from just outside the box and Ritchie then blazed over the bar from close-range from the rebound. Ayoze Perez then had a shot deflected out for a corner and Chancel Mbemba’s bullet header was once again kept out brilliantly by Green as half-time came with the score at 0-0.
Newcastle continued their pressure after the restart with Ritchie once again at the fore, forcing a save from Green before Aleksandar Mitrovic finally managed to get past the veteran goalkeeper only to see defender Pontus Jansson clear at the front post. However, the Serbian had a huge role to play in the opener as he headed Gouffran’s cross across the goal for Lascelles to apply the finishing touches.
The home side continued to create opportunities with Shelvey hitting a free-kick wide and Mitrovic heading over, but could not find that elusive second goal. And these misses would prove to be extremely costly as Roofe found Wood unmarked in the box, in the dying seconds of the game, who made no mistake to get a point for his side.
While Newcastle remain eight points ahead of third-placed Huddersfield Town who have a game in hand, they have been dealt a major dent in their hopes of winning the Championship title and will now be hoping that Brighton & Hove Albion slip up in a similar fashion. Up next for Rafael Benitez’s men will be a trip to the Portman Road on Monday when they take on Ipswich Town.
Leeds, on the other hand, moved into the fourth position in the table, strengthening their hold on a playoff position. They will be welcoming Paul Lambert’s Wolverhampton Wanderers to the Elland Road on Monday.
Here are some of the reactions for the draw on Twitter:
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