Newcastle 2-2 Bristol City: Toon fight back to steal point
By Michael Hincks
Last Updated: 27/02/17 10:02am
A second-half fight back earned Newcastle a point as the Sky Bet Championship leaders drew 2-2 with Bristol City at St James' Park.
Aaron Wilbraham headed in City's opener as appeals for offside fell on deaf ears, while David Cotterill capitalised on poor Newcastle defending to double their lead shortly after.
Newcastle got one back through a Korey Smith own goal just before the hour-mark, while Ciaran Clark knew little about his 82nd-minute leveller which earned his side a point.
The result means Brighton - who take on Reading in the late game on Sky Sports 1 HD - can leapfrog Newcastle at the top of the table with a victory.
City manager Lee Johnson made six changes to his side as he looked for a response following the 2-0 defeat at home to Fulham in midweek.
And it appeared to have the desired effect as they took the lead after 11 minutes. Gary O'Neil's cross was headed in by Abraham while the Newcastle defence appealed for offside to no avail.
It got better for the visitors just 10 minutes later as Paul Dummett's header back for goalkeeper Karl Darlow was intercepted by Coterill, who then passed the ball into the empty net.
Newcastle finally burst into life with the home fans stunned by City's early surge, and they went close to getting one back through Matt Ritchie, but his volley deflected wide.
The hosts continued to up the tempo but could not find a goal before half-time despite opportunities for Ayoze Perez and Jonjo Shelvey.
Perez went close again give minutes after the break, but his thunderous effort flashed inches over the bar.
Moments after Darlow nearly gifted City a third, Newcastle found their first as a low cross from Chrstian Atsu appeared to be bundled over by Shelvey - though it was later given as a Smith own goal.
Barely a minute after, Darlow produced a fine save to deny Cotterill's free-kick from creeping into the top corner - but from then on, it was all Newcastle.
Mitrovic somehow headed over from eight yards out before Atsu flashed a shot wide of the mark, but they eventually found a leveller with under 10 minutes to go.
From a corner, Clark was on hand to get the all-important touch - seemingly off his back - and leave Newcastle with plenty of time to find a winner.
However, City stood firm and held on to claim a deserved point which sees them remain in 21st, two points above the relegation zone.
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez:
"For me it is two points lost. We didn't start well, we made mistakes and gave them hope they could get a result, but the reaction in the second half was very good.
"I'm pleased with that because that's what we have to do. With the chances we had I think we could have scored again and won the game."
Bristol City boss Lee Johnson:
"I'm very proud of the players because this is a very difficult place to come - a Premier League club in waiting. No doubt they will get promoted.
"We had four academy graduates playing in front of 52,000. I thought our energy and our work rate was top notch."