U23s continued their pursuit of a playoff spot at St. James' Park on Monday
night, but were unable to turn one point into three despite their numerical
supremacy over the Hammers.
The visitors were reduced to ten men on the half hour when full back Arthur
Masuaku received a straight red for kicking Luke Charman off the ball after a
throw-in call went against him - following a lecture from the referee after
reacting poorly to an earlier decision.
With goalkeeper Matz Sels playing his third successive reserve game and called
upon only for a few routine stops, the stage looked set for a home victory.
For all of their domination however, the black and whites failed to truly test
Nathan Trott in the West Ham goal and often struggled to hit the target.
The pressure on the visiting defence increased in the closing 20 minutes of
play, Tom Heardman seeing his effort saved by Trott and Charman grazing the
Gallowgate End bar after the resultant corner kick.
The Magpies number nine had looked a certain scorer on 71 minutes after he had
an unopposed run on goal - only to reach the penalty before shooting wide.
Substitute Victor Fernandez entered the fray and almost marked his first
appearance at the stadium by making the breakthrough - two efforts past the
post and another gathered by Trott.
Seven minutes from time defender Stuart Findlay was adamant that a ball that
hit him on the back of the head as he went up with Trott bounced down and over
the goal line, but his appeals fell on deaf ears.
A point apiece leaves Newcastle fourth in Division Two and the Hammers one
place lower and occupying the final playoff spot, with two games left for
Swansea City confirmed the title on Monday to claim the one automatic
promotion spot, with Fulham and Wolves ahead of us. Aston Villa and Blackburn
Rovers could still overtake us and nick a playoff spot (it's mathematically
possible for West Brom to also do so).