Newcastle 0-0 Brighton: Andy Carroll returns but Toon struggles continue
Report and highlights as Newcastle remain winless at home under Steve Bruce
Last Updated: 21/09/19 9:07pm
Newcastle and Brighton both lacked the required quality in the final third as they played out an uninspiring goalless draw at St James' Park.
Graham Potter's side bossed possession, registering 71 per cent, and created the better chances as only a miraculous clearance off the line from Fabian Schar, to deny substitute Aaron Connolly, kept Newcastle in the game.
There wasn't much for the home fans to shout about with the loudest cheer being saved for Andy Carroll's homecoming from the bench as he made his first appearance since rejoining the club in the summer. Steve Bruce is still searching for his first home win as Newcastle boss as their display was greeted with boos on both the half-time and full-time whistles.
How frustrations grew on Tyneside...
Brighton's tactic of attacking down the Newcastle left flank presented the visitors with lots of openings in the early stages.
Newcastle: Dubravka (7), Manquillo (6), Lascelles (7), Schar (7), Dummett (6), Atsu (6), Hayden (6), Shelvey (6), Willems (6), Almiron (5), Joelinton (5)
Subs: Carroll (6), Saint-Maximin (6), Ki (6)
Brighton: Ryan (7), Webster (6), Dunk (7), Burn (5), Stephens (7), Propper (7), Alzate (7), Montoya (7), Mooy (6), Gross (7), Maupay (5)
Subs: Connolly (6), Bissouma (6), Bong (6)
Man of the match: Steven Alzate
Davy Propper and Pascal Gross pinned the Toon back with some clever passing and Martin Dubravka had to watch a looping header from his own teammate Jamaal Lascelles hit the top of crossbar on 18 minutes.
Andy Carroll was in the Newcastle squad for the time and was named on the bench while Steven Alzate was his first taste of Premier League football after impressing in the Brighton youth team. Shane Duffy and Glen Murray were dropped on the bench.
For all their incisive build-up play, Brighton lacked a killer finish and it was Mat Ryan who was forced into a crucial save on 24 minutes when Miguel Almiron, still without a goal for Newcastle, struck an effort too close to the Brighton goalkeeper.
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Joelinton then headed wide when unmarked from a right-wing corner as fears regarding Newcastle's ability to score goals in this league intensified.
The pattern of play continued in the same vein after the break as Gross sent a fierce strike just over the crossbar.
But yet again it was Newcastle that made inroads into the final third but Almiron curled one straight at Ryan when just 15 yards out.
Brighton did finally create a gilt-edge opportunity when Connolly broke through and flicked a finish over Dubravka but Schar came to the rescue with a superb goal-line clearance at full-stretch.
Carroll entered the fray for the final eight minutes, which gave the crowd a lift but didn't inspire a late surge from his teammates as the game drifted to an uninspiring ending.
Man of the match: Steven Alzate
Potter clearly has faith in the Brighton youth set-up to help supplement his first-team squad. It's easy to see why with talent like this at his disposal. On his first ever Premier League appearance, the slight but strong attacking midfielder looked comfortable making the step up in level, winning four fouls and creating making two key passes.
The only blot on his copybook was a pathetic attempt of attempting to fool the referee with a dive when Martin Dubravka came sliding out of his goal.
"It was an amazing feeling - obviously the gaffer has some faith in me," Alzate said.
"I felt comfortable. It felt good. League Two last season was a good experience for me (on loan at Swindon) and now I'm looking forward to kicking on.
"The gaffer told me to get high as possible and stretch the play."
Manager reaction: Steve Bruce
"I'm disappointed. First half we found it difficult. Second half we were better. We couldn't wait to get them in. We made a tactical change after 30 minutes that stemmed the tide a bit but it wasn't until we got them in at half-time we got a grip on them.
"The ironic thing is the big chances, which we had, were the better ones. Unless you start taking them, you're in trouble. That's the way it is."
Manager reaction: Graham Potter
"I thought we played well and the performance was good. It's a point away from home and a difficult place to come. We're at the start of a process and need to keep moving forward.
"We've made a good start, but that's all it is - a start. It's the Premier League so you have to get results.
"We've performed well in all our games but it's the toughest league in the world. Hopefully the results will come."
- After winning five consecutive home Premier League games between January and March, Newcastle have enjoyed only one win in their last six at St. James' Park (W1 D2 L3).
- Brighton are unbeaten in all five of their five Premier League meetings with Newcastle (W2 D3), their joint-best record without defeat against an opponent in the competition (also 5 v West Ham).
- Brighton have won just one of their last 15 Premier League matches (W1 D6 L8), scoring just eight goals and drawing a blank on nine occasions in the process.
Newcastle are back in action in front of the Sky Sports cameras next Sunday when they visit Leicester while Brighton host Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday before visiting a Premier League clash with Chelsea on Saturday.