NEWCASTLE, England (Reuters) – Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles struck deep into added time to cancel out an 86th minute own goal by defender Ciaran Clarke and secure a barely deserved 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa in their Premier League clash on Friday.
The result leaves struggling Newcastle in 16th place on 28 points from 28 games, two points above the relegation zone. Villa are ninth on 41 points from 27 matches.
In a fairly pedestrian encounter, Newcastle’s attacks were limited to firing aimless balls into the box that were easily dealt with by the Villa rearguard, leaving the north-east club’s record signing Joelinton without any supply to work with.
Luckily for the Magpies the visitors were equally poor, barely managing to threaten at all in a dull game that only burst into life in the final 10 minutes.
Newcastle substitute Jacob Murphy came off the bench to replace Ryan Fraser in the 79th, and four minutes later he cut onto his right foot and smacked a shot off the crossbar.
It was to prove a costly miss as Villa striker Ollie Watkins latched onto a Matt Targett cross three minutes later and his header deflected off Clarke into the net.
Knowing defeat would leave them perilously close to sliding into the relegation zone, Newcastle poured forward in search of an equaliser.
Their persistence was rewarded when Lascelles popped up to head home Murphy’s cross at the near post in the fourth minute of stoppage time to grab a valuable point for his side.
“Over the course of the game, I wouldn’t say it was a fair result – I thought we were the better team, I thought we had the better chances,” Lascelles told BT Sport.”We’ve got a really tight group (of players) and we all want to succeed. I think the performances have been a lot better compared to the start of the season,” he added.