Premier League: West Brom 1 Newcastle 1
West Brom fought back from a goal down to take a share of the spoils in an entertaining 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on Saturday.
Newcastle responded well to last week's crushing defeat at home to local rivals Sunderland by taking an early lead with a header from Yoan Gouffran after a dominant first-half display.
Yet a resurgent West Brom roared their way back into the game with an equaliser from Billy Jones just after the hour mark which was enough to warrant them a point in front of their home fans at the Hawthorns.
The visitors started well and took the lead inside the opening 10 minutes with their first attempt. A fine passing move allowed Papiss Cisse the chance to drift a cross in from the left-hand side and his delivery was cushioned into the net by Gouffran past a hapless Ben Foster in goal.
Newcastle were in control and piled on the pressure with two efforts in quick succession but Foster denied a deft flick from Steven Taylor and a crisp volley from Yohan Cabaye from the subsequent corner.
The English goalkeeper then spared the blushes of Jonas Olsson when his under-hit back-pass fell to Cisse only for the striker to spurn the opportunity.
The first half ended in controversy when the home side were denied a penalty for a foul on Billy Jones. The referee and his assistant – who was a mere 10 yards away – awarded a free-kick just outside the area for an outstretched leg from James Perch, yet replays confirmed the challenge was inside the box.
West Brom – who looked lifeless in the first period – made a half-time change through the introduction of Shane Long who immediately picked them up a gear. The striker nearly made a dramatic impact inside two minutes when he was denied a poacher's effort after Rob Elliot fumbled a fizzing long-range drive from Marc-Antoine Fortune.
But their second-half improvements were awarded with a delightful team goal from Jones. The strength and hold-up play from Romelu Lukaku inside the area gave the defender a chance to stab the ball into the net to give his side a deserved equaliser.
Newcastle eased their way back into the game toward the final 10 minutes to numb the threat of the home side. But after an entertaining game of two halves, Alan Pardew's side were left embroiled in the relegation battle.