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Newcastle vs Burnley – an even contest at St James’ Park

Both sides went into this encounter with a mixed run of form, Newcastle have flirted with the bottom three for weeks now, as Burnley have come somewhat back to reality with a run of three defeats prior to this game.

Magpie’s debutant Kennedy (on loan from Chelsea) made a bright start to proceedings, pulsating up and down the left hand side. He forced a save from Pope at full stretch early on, as the Burnley keeper palmed the ball onto the post and was able to collect Atsu’s tame follow up effort with ease. Shortly after the Clarets had a penalty appeal denied by the referee, only for the resulting clearance to easily concede possession to Hendricks, who’s dink through to Barnes allows the striker to turn and find the back of the net but to his bemusement play is pulled back as he was deemed to have pushed Lascelles in the build-up. Needless to say this left Dyche incensed.

Up to this point Kennedy is central to every attack for the home side, a neat exchange sees him put through to an excellent crossing position, yet he favours the cut back and is caught by an unsuspecting Bardsley who concedes a penalty. Joselu steps up but his languid effort is too central and collected with relative ease by the Burnley keeper. Despite missed opportunities Newcastle remain in the ascendancy as Perez and Yedlin create trouble down the right wing, although the resulting corner is dealt with by the away side as Pope produces another save.

After the interval Hendricks flicked header presents Barnes with a fabulous opportunity which is blazed over the crossbar, as both teams remain wasteful in front of goal. Once again Kennedy causes concern for Burnley as another effort of his is deflected for a corner. Newcastle have created problems for teams from set pieces this season and did so again as Kennedy’s in-swinging effort is directed goal bound by Lascelles to give the magpies a one goal lead. The centre back showing tremendous awareness to lose his marker and meet the ball before anyone else does, for his third Premier League goal this season.

Conceding motivates Burnley as they hunt for an equaliser, the momentum of the game swings back and forth like a pendulum. Late on after winning the ball high up the pitch, substitute Murphy breaks with pace and presents Joselu with an opportunity on the edge of the area, the Spaniards poor luck continues as the chance to seal the game is dragged wide to the right of the post. Scarcely moments later Dyche’s side look to go direct from a free kick on half way, within a crowded box Burnley win the header and play through Lennon and with the angle against him Darlow is able to make the save. The resulting corner is played to the edge of the area and knocked back for Vokes to direct on target from point blank range, Darlows attempted save is parried onto the crossbar and falls back to him as he’s helpless in pushing the ball into his own net.

A late goal gave Burnley a point that was probably justified due to intense pressure at the latter stages, however had Newcastle made the most of their opportunities the game should have been dead and buried by this point. A point for Burnley stops their dreadful run but the search for that elusive win remains after a poor January, yet few can complain about remaining seventh. Newcastle once again dropped points from a winning position and it may come to haunt them in May, yet there are positive to take as Kennedy had an imperious debut and showed far greater promise than his last loan spell at Watford. A point leaves the club 14th in the table but only a single point off the relegation zone as the bottom of the table remains excruciatingly tight in the fight to remain a Premier League side.

Written by Harvey Sayer.

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