Newcastle gained a point at the Hawthorns this afternoon, when the five Frenchmen we signed in January were all in the starting line up for the first time.
Billy Jones scores after 64 minutes to level the scores
Newcastle started the game well and looked a good outfit and then Newcastle got a goal out of nowhere when Papiss Cisse hooked the ball over for Gouffran to head over Foster, and give Newcastle a deserved lead.
But after Yoan Gouffran put Newcastle ahead after only eight minutes Newcastle missed a number of gilt-edged opportunities to go further ahead in the first half, and that’s getting to be too much of a common trait for Newcastle these days – we find it so difficult to score goals.
On 22 minutes Steven Taylor found himself clear just 5 yards out but his shot was blocked by Foster and then a great shot from Yohan Cabaye was turned for a corner by the West Brom goalkeeper.
On 33 minutes Papiss Cisse got to a terrible back pass to Foster, but instead of just hitting the ball into an open net, he tried to chip it and it went over the bar – a terrible miss by the Newcastle number 9.
Newcastle dominated the first half after the Gouffran goal – his second for Newcastle, but Ben Forster was in good form to keep the score at 1-0 at the half, with Papiss Cisse missing a couple of excellent chances.
A couple of minutes after Gouffran’s goal captain Yohan Cabaye put in an excellent shot from outside the box, and the ball flew only just over the bar.
Yoan Gouffran - after scoring after only eight minutes
We never replaced Demba Ba in January and Newcastle now find it very difficult to score goals and we’ve only managed three goals in the last four league games.
Just before the break, it looked like Perch may have fouled in the penalty box, but the referee gave a free kick just outside the penalty box – it looked like ti was inside.
And as so often happens in these games West Brom looked a completely different side in the second half, after manager Steve Clarke introduced Shane Long at the break.
On 47 minutes Rob Elliot couldn’t hold a shot from Fortune, but the goalkeeper did well to get a hand to Shane Long’s follow-up shot, to divert the ball away from goal – but that was a warning.
Then Lukaku headed the ball against the bar following a corner, sent over by Brunt, and there followed an almighty scramble in the box, before McAuley hit the ball wide.
And then on 64 minutes it was Billy Jones who turned and smashed the ball into the back of the net, after he had been fed by Lukaka and it was all square.
And then it was West Brom who looked like they could win the game, but to their credit, our lads held out for what was a decent point.
We could have won this game – but our Achilles heel was all those missed opportunities in the first half – and we seem to miss far too many easy chances these days.
However, with Sunderland, Stoke and Norwich all winning they move above Newcastle in the league table, and we are now 5th bottom just 3 points above Aston Villa who play at Manchester United on Monday.
16th place is the lowest we’ve been this season, and we’re now back in the same place as we were after we let Reading beat us at home in January.
The good news is that West Ham beat Wigan 2-0 at Upton Park, so we are now 6 points above 3rd bottom Wigan with a better goal difference, but they have a game in hand.
We’ll take the point and not be too negative, but we lost ground to the teams around us in the league, and Sunderland go above us after beating Everton 1-0 at the Stadium of Light.
We’ll have to hope that Wigan don’t go on a hot winning streak – but we must help ourselves and win our final two home games of the season against Liverpool and Arsenal.
5th top last season and with only four games to play we are now 5th bottom – quite a turnaround this season – in the wrong direction.
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Ben Foster; Billy Jones, Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson, Goran Popov; Graham Dorrans, Claudio Yacob (Shane Long 46), James Morrison, Chris Brunt; Marc-Antoine Fortune (Markus Rosenberg 90), Romelu Lukaku (Jerome Thomas 90)
Subs not used: Boaz Myhill, Steven Reid, Liam Ridgewell, Kemar Roofe
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Rob Elliot; Mathieu Debuchy, Steven Taylor, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haidara (Hatem Ben Arfa 77); James Perch, Yohan Cabaye (c) (Dan Gosling 90); Jonas Gutierrez, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran (Shola Ameobi 69); Papiss Cisse
Subs not used: Steve Harper, Mike Williamson, Vurnon Anita, Adam Campbell
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Bookings: West Brom – none; Newcastle – Cabaye (86), Sissoko (90)