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Newcastle vs. West Brom: Magpies make a point

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Thanks to a first-half strike by Ayoze Perez, Newcastle stop the run of defeats with a hard-fought draw at home to West Brom

Newcastle's  Ayoze Perez celebrates after his goal leveled the match at 1-1 with West Brom Saturday at St. James Park.
Newcastle's Ayoze Perez celebrates after his goal leveled the match at 1-1 with West Brom Saturday at St. James Park.
Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

The Magpies got a point.

Not a win, but a point.

A first-half leveler by Ayoze Perez gave Newcastle a 1-1 draw with West Brom after the Magpies had again been unzipped by a header off a set piece from Victor Anichebe.

Newcastle also made a point with their play, especially in the second half.

The team played with a passion not seen for weeks at St. James Park. Wave after wave of Newcastle attack came at West Brom with the Magpies winning set piece after set piece.

Sissoko was denied on a good strike late followed by an audacious but could've been incredible bicycle kick attempt from Sammy Ameobi that just went over the bar.

Newcastle pushed forward and needed some late magic from Tim Krul and the cross bar which denied Chris Brunt.

Newcastle's draw does mean the team avoids a ninth-straight defeat and finally gives coach John Carver and the players a little respite and the NUFC fans hope that the Magpies will be able to turn things around. Newcastle now sit with 36 points, two ahead of Hull City, which currently occupy the third relegation spot.

"We did everything, but couldn't get the win," Newcastle defender and captain Fabricio Coloccini said afterward. "Thank you to the fans -- they were with us."

With matches still at QPR and at home to West Ham on the final day, it is all still to do for Newcastle, but at least the fans can go to work Monday feeling a little better about their club's plight.

"I saw the fight and desire in this team to keep them in the Barclays Premier League," Carver said afterward.

The day started off horribly as Sunderland beat Everton 2-0.

Newcastle were now well and truly in the relegation fight before a ball had even been kicked at SJP.

It was scoreboard watching time for nervous fans at SJP, which did its best to roar the lads on whenever they could.

As the teams battled and stayed scoreless, Leicester took the lead over Southampton. If that result remained, it was now between Hull and Newcastle now to determine who would be in the relegation zone at day's end.

Then things went from bad to worse.

Newcastle had survived giving away a set piece in the early minutes when Craig Dawson powered an uncontested header off the right post

That was the first corner Newcastle conceded.

The Magpies were not as lucky on the second set piece.

Trying to ask height-challenged Vernon Anita and Ryan Taylor to defend against the trees from West Brom -- this was a likely outcome when you give the best set-piece team in the Barclays Premier League another opportunity.

In the 32nd minute Jonas Gutierrez was beaten down the wing and brought down Craig Dawson. He was shown a yellow card, but more importantly gave West Brom a free kick.

The ball was whipped in by Craig Gardner and powered into the right corner by Anichebe.

Now Newcastle would be alone in the final relegation spot if these results held. Hull was still drawing 0-0 with Burnley.

What made the goal even more of a kick in the gut was just a minute before, Newcastle looked ready to celebrate an opener when Moussa Sissoko latched on to a header from Fabricio Coloccini. The shot was headed goal wards until it was blocked off the line by West Brom's Julian Lescott.

So trailing 1-0 and all hope lost, right?

Not this time.

Instead of dropping their heads, Newcastle came at West Brom with a vigor and drive that needs to continue for the remaining two matches.

With 40 minutes gone, Sissoko broke down the wing, but his pass to Emmanuel Riviere was cut out and it looked like West Brom were going to be able to clear the ball down the wing. But Remy Cabella, who has been much maligned this year, but no one can discount his work rate, raced back and challenged the West Bro defender whose pass was then cut away by a fearless Jack Colback, who got taken out for his troubles.

Free kick Newcastle.

Thus far the set pieces from Ryan Taylor had been woeful, save for the knock down header from Coloccini that set up Sissoko's chance.

But without Mike Wiliamson to aim at like always due to his suspension,Taylor tried something new. He whipped in a short ball on to Perez, near the top of the box. The young Spaniard delivered a perfect touch to settle on the bounce, turned and fired hit shot through several West Brom player's legs and into the bottom right corner.

It was the shot and goal heard all around the Northeast of England and around the world as Newcastle fans finally had something to cheer about and a little hope.

A litte later Burnley took the lead over Hull City, which meant if the results held now Newcastle was no longer in the bottom three and would also finish two points clear of Hull.

You need to be fortunate too sometimes to achieve results in the Premier Leaague and Newcastle were twice in the second half. The Brunt scrambling attempt off the cross bar, but before that, in the opening minutes of the second half, Gardner got free down the wing with only Tim Krul to beat, but his volleyed attempt went wide of the post.

In the 69th minute the long awaited return of Papiss Cisse occurred when he was subbed on for Riviere.

He did not score, but his back heel set up Sissoko, whose powerful shot was denied on a diving save from West Brom keeper Boaz Myhill.

In the end, the points were shared.

Newcastle now need to push on from this and get all three next week in London.