Newcastle United vs Norwich City. Premier League.
St James' Park, NewcastleAttendance50,757.
Report and free match highlights as Ciaran Clark is sent off inside nine minutes after a foul on Teemu Pukki; Callum Wilson fires 10-man Newcastle ahead after a lengthy VAR check for handball; Pukki levels with his first shot to keep Norwich unbeaten under Dean Smith
Wednesday 1 December 2021 09:46, UK
A stunning late goal from Teemu Pukki saw Norwich deny Newcastle their first Premier League win of the season, drawing 1-1 after Ciaran Clark's early red card.
The pressure was on for both sides heading into the game, occupying the bottom two spots in the league table. Eddie Howe's first game in the dugout at St James' Park started in the worst possible fashion, too, when Clark was sent off inside nine minutes after a foul on Pukki.
But Norwich offered very little in response as 10-man Newcastle went ahead early in the second half. There were huge appeals for a penalty as Federico Fernandez's header hit Billy Gilmour's raised arm, and after a lengthy VAR check, the spot-kick was awarded.
Callum Wilson (61) - named Newcastle captain in the absence of the suspended Jamaal Lascelles - took the penalty, which former Magpie Tim Krul pushed onto the underside of the crossbar before it nestled into the back of the net.
But with around ten minutes to go, a stunning volley from Pukki (79) denied Newcastle their first league victory of the season. They are now the fourth side to have failed to win any of first 14 games of a Premier League season and remain rooted to the bottom of the table.
While Norwich were guilty of some sloppy play at St James' Park, they are now unbeaten in three games under Dean Smith and four overall, moving up to 18th with ten points. However, Burnley in 19th have two games in hand after their match against Tottenham on Sunday was postponed due to heavy snow.
Inside nine minutes, Newcastle were down to ten men. Clark's poor clearance landed straight at Pukki, who immediately started towards the goal. Clark gave chase before tripping the Norwich striker over, with Andy Madley immediately pulling out the red card. Clark waited for the VAR check, but the decision correctly stood.
With the man advantage, Norwich tested Martin Dubravka immediately after. Gilmour delivered a wonderful free-kick, which the Newcastle goalkeeper saw away with a leaping save. In the 20th minute, the hosts had their best chance of the first half, but Joelinton's sweet strike from range curled into the stands.
Newcastle: Dubravka (7), Manquillo (6), Schar (6), Clark (n/a), Lewis (7), Fraser (n/a), Shelvey (8), Willock (6), Saint-Maximin (7), Wilson (7), Joelinton (6).
Subs used: Fernandez (7), Hayden (6), Almiron (6).
Norwich: Krul (6), Aarons (7), Gibson (6), Hanley (6), Williams (7), Rupp (6), Sargent (6), Gilmour (7), McLean (6), Tzolis (7), Pukki (7).
Subs used: Lees-Melou (7), Idah (6), Giannoulis (6).
Man of the match: Jonjo Shelvey.
Just before the half an hour, Norwich had a superb chance to take the lead. Christian Tzolis swung in a fizzing cross from the left, with Josh Sargent waiting at the back post. However, Jamal Lewis did enough to block the ball behind.
Both sides continued to see half chances as the game drew towards the break. Tzolis twice tested Dubravka - his first a stooped header before a second late strike, but both were easy collections for the goalkeeper. Newcastle captain Callum Wilson also fired an effort into the stands after some superb work from Joe Willock down the left.
There was more early drama in the second half. Joelinton had a strong penalty shout turned down, before Newcastle were awarded a spot-kick soon after. Fernandez nodded a Jonjo Shelvey corner goalwards, and it hit the raised arm of Gilmour. It took two minutes for VAR and referee Madley to make a decision, but the penalty was eventually given.
Wilson stepped up to take it, facing Krul, who is renowned for his ability to save penalties. He almost did with Wilson's effort too, getting an extended hand onto the ball, but sent it onto the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net.
But with just over ten minutes to go, Norwich hit back with a fantastic goal from Pukki. Dubravka did well to save from Gilmour's initial effort, but Newcastle did not clear their lines. Dimitris Giannoulis found Pukki in the middle, and the striker hit it with a first-time volley to fire into the back of the net.
The visitors could have won it in six minutes of injury time too. Fabian Schar's sloppy pass landed to Pierre Lees-Melou's feet and he drove into the area. He only had to beat Dubravka, but the goalkeeper did superbly well to stick out a leg to see the ball loop wide.
It was a good midfield performance from Shelvey. His forward passes picked out players with superb accuracy. Thirty of his 42 pass were successful - the highest of the Newcastle team. He had 54 touches and made two interceptions.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe: "It wasn't the ideal start to the game, that's for sure. That was a really difficult moment so early in the match, to know we were reduced to 10 men was tough.
"But I thought the players responded magnificently. They gave it everything, I can't fault them for the effort and commitment they've given. I'm hugely disappointed we couldn't get over the line and win the game, but I think we saw really positive signs in terms of defensive resilience and collective spirit. We're going to need that for what lays ahead.
"In the cold light of day, Ciaran probably would have made a different decision, but in that moment, probably an impulse has made him stop the striker and it probably is a red card. These things happen in the game, my immediate reaction wasn't really to focus on that, it was to figure out very quickly what we had to do, try and find a solution to the problem.
"The last thing I wanted to do was take Ryan Fraser off the pitch, but I felt I needed to do that for the team. Fede came in and I thought he was absolutely magnificent tonight.
"We were desperate for three points today. We've got the one, but I have to cling to what I've seen in terms of what the players have delivered, the spirit, giving more, maybe more than what they thought they were physically capable of. We're going to need that in the battle that we have ahead.
"We know we need wins, draws aren't going to be enough. But I think all you can do in every game is give your all and I think you saw a group of players who gave that tonight. I couldn't ask any more of those players who committed to the task ahead so I have to be very proud and pleased with them tonight."
Norwich manager Dean Smith: "I'm frustrated and disappointed because it's probably the worst out of the three performances we've had. The game plan changes for both teams in the 10th minute when Ciaran Clark gets sent off.
"For me, I'd much rather Teemu had gone through and scored the goal rather than it go 10 vs 11 because they were camped in their half for long periods and defended their box really well. We didn't do enough to win the game because we didn't show enough quality, in all honesty.
"I felt like we were a little bit pedestrian on the ball, we needed to be quick. It wasn't until the goal that we scored that we moved the ball with any kind of tempo and pace. Teemu scored a wonderful goal but we didn't do enough of that after the sending off. Because of that, we never got enough big chances.
"At the time, I had no idea [on the penalty] but now I've seen it back - does it hit his arm? Yes. The referee knows it's hit his arm as well and has decided to give a corner because of the proximity and how close it was.
"I'm told there's a law where if your arm is above your shoulder, it's a penalty but if it takes 80 to 90 seconds to make a decision, then surely it's not a clear and obvious error. At the moment, I don't feel enough on-field referees are given enough responsibilities when making big decisions."
Newcastle now host Burnley at 3pm on Saturday in the Premier League, while Norwich are at Spurs on Sunday at 2pm.