A lack of clinical edge killed Newcastle against Watford and if they carry on wasting huge chances, the writing is on the WALL for Steve Bruce’s side
- Newcastle were held to a 1-1 draw at Watford on Saturday despite dominating
- The Magpies could have grabbed all three points but for some poor finishing
- Steve Bruce’s side are winless after six games and they now sit in 17th place
It is not unusual for Newcastle assistant Graeme Jones to watch a game’s early stages from the stands.
And there he was at Vicarage Road — alongside analysts in the press box, armed with a pen and paper.
Jones tends to head down to the dugout after 20 minutes. On Saturday, he remained in the stand until the closing stages. By then, the damage was done. By then, you wondered what was left for him to jot down.
Newcastle took the lead through Sean Longstaff’s long-range strike in the first half
Watford got on level terms after 72 minutes thanks to Ismaila Sarr’s fourth goal in six games
A diagram of the goal, perhaps? A wanted poster for prolific strikers?
For 70 minutes at Watford, Newcastle were excellent as they created chance after chance. They played with such verve that even Steve Bruce was given a brief reprieve from the protest songs.
That didn’t last, of course. Not when Newcastle played with fire and were burnt by Ismaila Sarr’s headed equaliser in the 72nd minute. Had Joshua King’s ‘winner’ not been chalked off, the afternoon could have turned even uglier.
But it should never have come to that. The unfortunate truth, however, is Newcastle’s winless run — now seven matches in all competitions — won’t end while they can’t take their chances.
Too often under Bruce they have relied on moments of individual magic to mask stodgy performances. Not so here.
The Magpies could have won it late on but Jacob Murphy’s attempted lob was saved easily
If only they had someone to make it count. Allan Saint-Maximin, Joe Willock, Ciaran Clark and Sean Longstaff all had glorious openings. Jacob Murphy woefully wasted a one-on-one in stoppage time.
Even their goal, a first-half curler from Longstaff, needed Watford keeper Ben Foster to kindly push it into the net. ‘We’ve done enough to win three games,’ Bruce said.
Alas, they have now managed just two victories in 15 league matches without the injured Callum Wilson.
Saint-Maximin, leading the line in his absence, was brilliant again, linking and stretching play with a typical dollop of genius.
He laid on Longstaff’s goal in the 23rd minute and is now on a career-first run of scoring or assisting in four consecutive top-flight matches. How long can that continue?
The rest of Bruce’s fit forwards, meanwhile, have scored nine goals combined since the start of last season.
Steve Bruce was left disappointed after his side missed several chances to take all three points
Ryan Fraser has none in the league, Dwight Gayle had a recent showdown with Jones. And then there is Joelinton.
Bruce was unhappy with the lack of summer signings. They did secure Willock. And they did secure a loan for young striker Santiago Munoz — a near-namesake of Santiago Munez, who joined Newcastle in a 2005 Hollywood film.
Maybe Munoz will be needed sooner than first thought. After all, the name of that movie? Goal!