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Southampton 2-2 Newcastle United - A battling draw at St Mary's

Newcastle United had to settle for a draw at Southampton, despite taking the lead twice.

Southampton v Newcastle United - Premier League
Mikel Merino was restricted to a substitute role this weekend.
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Southampton, as expected, started the game on the front foot, but it was the away side that had the first real sight of goal. Christian Atsu found himself in space on the edge of the box following a corner, but his low strike went into the side-netting.

Newcastle played their typical game. Sitting back and attempting to soak up pressure, before hitting on the counter.

Southampton found themselves restricted to shots from outside the area in the opening 15 minutes. Dusan Tadic blasted a left-footed shot over the bar.

The Serbian then missed perhaps the best chance of the game when he headed over at the far post, after he had been left totally unmarked by Javier Manquillo.

He was made to pay for it soon after, when Ayoze Perez pulled back for Matt Ritchie's who's cross caused trouble in the Saints' box, before Isaac Hayden lashed home his first Premier League goal. 0-1.

Southampton v Newcastle United - Premier League
Isaac Hayden smashed home his first ever Premier League goal.
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

The hosts did pick up the pace slightly after conceding and Virgil Van Dijk beat Rob Elliot to a corner ball, but his header sailed wide.

Newcastle really had to work hard for what they had, even if Southampton struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities in the remainder of the first half. It was very much a case of so far so good for Rafa Benitez's side.

Newcastle began the second half on top. Perez did brilliantly down the right and found Joselu in the box, who's touch looped the ball up and onto the crossbar.

Parity was restored soon after. Manolo Gabbiadini picked up a long ball and worked it onto his left foot, to shoot past Elliot into the near post. 1-1.

One minute later, Perez again got down the right and fired a shot at Forster, which he could only parry back to the Spaniard, who blasted home. 1-2.

The Magpies could count themselves ever so lucky after DeAndre Yedlin, who had been booked for dissent already, lunged into a tackle on Ryan Bertrand. After a brief chat with Yedlin and Jamaal Lascelles, the second yellow was not awarded to the full-back.

The game died down a little after that. Mauricio Pellegrino introduced Sofiane Boufal and Steven Davis to add some potency to their attack. Benitez countered by bringing on Mikel Merino and Dwight Gayle.

The away side looked relatively comfortable for the most part, but disaster struck when Florian Lejeune, who had been outstanding, tripped Shane Long inside the box and conceded a penalty. Newcastle could have few complaints about the decision.

Manolo Gabbiadini stepped up and planted an excellent spot-kick to the keeper's top left-corner.

Southampton v Newcastle United - Premier League
Manolo Gabbiadini ended his barren run in front of goal, with two good goals.
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Southampton were dominant for the remaining quarter of an hour, but it was actually Newcastle who came closest to grabbing a winner.

First, Matt Ritchie curled a free-kick just wide, before Lejeune tried to atone for his defensive mistake. The Frenchman saw his header cleared off the line by Davis at the very death.

Overall, it was a good performance again from the Magpies. Almost every supporter would have taken a point beforehand. Onwards and upwards as the saying goes. Let's beat Crystal Palace next week.