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Newcastle United were held to a goalless draw at the St. Andrews’ as they found it hard to break down Birmingham. As a result, they failed to pull away from the chasing pack at the top of the table, missing a great chance to go three points clear.
The Magpies had the lion’s share of the possession and chances in a one-sided game but they couldn’t quite do enough to win. Matt Ritchie saw a goal disallowed for offside while Daryl Murphy forced a superb save from Tomasz Kuszczak in the Blues goal. Their defence was rarely threatened by the Blues throughout the game. Newcastle came close in the late stages and had a succession of chances to win the game, only for Jack Colback to be denied by an excellent stop from Kuszczak.
Rafael Benitez’s side have failed to win their third game running now and find themselves under some pressure at the top of the table, following the draw at Birmingham. Let’s assess how each Newcastle player fared at the St. Andrews’:
Had very little to do in terms of making saves. But did organize and guide his back four well.
Looked like he was playing with a knock. But the right-back was solid in defence and put in a good shift going forward as well.
Was never really put under any sort of pressure by the Birmingham attack. Will be pleased though after his abysmal showing against Fulham.
Came into the line-up for the injured Ciaran Clark. An extremely tidy performance in which he made four clearances and a couple of interceptions.
Probably the best of the four defenders for Newcastle. Was a real influence on the game. Made the most touches by any player in the game (105).
Was deployed in the deeper midfield role with Jonjo Shelvey unable to start because of illness. Another ineffective display from the former Hull City man.
His best display in recent weeks for the Magpies. Was sharp in the middle of the park and offered steadiness and solidity. Came close to winning it for his team late in the game.
Saw a goal ruled out for offside in the first-half. Was a threat throughout for the Birmingham defence on the right-flank. Man-of-the-Match display.
Unlucky to have been denied by Kuszczak in the first half. However, failed to create much after that. Failed to leave a mark.
Came into the line-up for Christian Atsu. Lacked the spunk on the flank and failed to have any sort of impact before being replaced.
Thwarted by a class save from Kuszczak. Had his fair share of chances in the second half before being replaced, but could not break the deadlock.
Replaced Murphy in the 63rd minute. A couple of darting runs aside, did not do much to affect the proceedings.
Came on for Perez in the 78th minute. Did nothing of note.
Replaced Gouffran in the 82nd minute. Not enough time to rate.
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