Magpies find that Hassell is too much to handle
Barnsley 2 Newcastle United 2
Sunday 13 December 2009
There are two schools of thought to explain the stranglehold Newcastle United exert on the Championship, one which sees them enjoy an eight-point advantage at the top despite being denied an eighth consecutive victory by a stirring Barnsley comeback capped by Bobby Hassell's headed late equaliser.
Credit can be given to Chris Hughton and his squad for the way they have halted the slide in the wake of last season's abject relegation. Conversely, it is possible to lament the standard of the rest of a division that has allowed a club which exited the top flight in turmoil to enjoy unchallenged hegemony.
Whatever your view, one thing not in doubt is that this will be a one-season stop-off in the second tier. They are already printing the tee-shirts, 'Newcastle's Premier League return tour – 23 venues only, ends in May'.
For more than half the game Barnsley looked like falling into the guise of many of their opponents this season – tidy, up for the battle but lacking in quality at the sharp end. Yet the way they twice came from behind displayed the strides they're making under Mark Robins. "I stressed to the players to believe in themselves," said the manager whose side would have been celebrating victory over all of yesterday morning's top three this season had Ryan Shotton's effort not been hacked off the line by Jose Enrique or if Andy Gray had not shot wide after Emil Hallfredsson's first goal of the season.
It took just six minutes for Newcastle to exert control, Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan combining for the latter to hold off two challenges to poke his 10th goal of the season past Luke Steele. The advantage should have been quadrupled by the interval but wastefulness in front of goal allowed Hallfredsson to crash in the first equaliser off the underside of the bar soon after the restart as Barnsley grew in confidence. Marlon Harewood restored the lead 12 minutes from the end.
"We had to battle for everything," Hughton admitted. "I'm not happy with a point. When you're 2-1 up with a few minutes left you should hold out for the result."
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Mike Tyson branded 'superhero' after a surprise good turn
Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser
Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study
Want to ward off (or welcome) trick-or-treaters? Here's how
Latest in Sport
Manchester City vs Manchester United combined XI: No place for Yaya Toure... or any United defenders
Sami Khedira transfer news: Arsenal can win the Premier League if they sign Khedira in January, says Perry Groves
Paul Scholes: At last! Some credit for Sam Allardyce
EXCLUSIVE: F1 heading for eastern revolution as new team emerges from Romania
Impressive Kurt Zouma may save Chelsea millions by replacing John Terry
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
- 5 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything