Sean Longstaff nets Newcastle equaliser against Brighton

Sean Longstaff’s eighth goal of the season ensured Newcastle’s home campaign did not end in defeat as Brighton emerged from the long trip north with a point.

The midfielder cancelled out Joel Veltman’s opener in first-half stoppage time to secure a 1-1 draw which dented the Magpies’ hopes of reeling in fifth-placed Tottenham during what remains of the Premier League campaign.

It was no more than the visitors deserved on a day when Eddie Howe’s side struggled for the fluency which had helped them win five of their previous seven league games against opponents boosted by last weekend’s victory over Aston Villa.

The home side started in determined fashion in front of a crowd of 51,997 at St James’ Park, although Emil Krafth had to make an important intervention after Julio Enciso has tricked his way past Tino Livramento with a neat turn and crossed from the left.

Enciso was proving a real handful as the visitors worked their way into the game and with Pascal Gross and Billy Gilmour finding their feet in the middle of the field, Roberto De Zerbi’s men enjoyed a healthy share of possession and forced a series of corners.

It was from one of them that they took an 18th-minute lead when Gross’ delivery was helped on by Danny Welbeck and Veltman stabbed home from close range at the far post.

Lewis Dunk came to Brighton’s rescue as he got to Longstaff’s near-post cross just ahead of Dan Burn, and keeper Bart Verbruggen had to get down well to his right to claim Jacob Murphy’s curling 24th-minute effort as the hosts responded.

Newcastle were struggling to play through a well-organised Seagulls side with Gilmour and Gross working hard in front of the back four to limit time and space and effectively disarm in-form striker Alexander Isak.

Verbruggen somehow parried Burn’s point-blank header from a 34th-minute Anthony Gordon corner, but opposite number Martin Dubravka was relieved to see Welbeck only just fail to collect Enciso’s intelligent through-ball.

Lewis Hall fired narrowly over seconds later and Adam Webster halted Bruno Guimaraes’ enterprising run in the nick of time, but Enciso might have doubled the visitors’ advantage three minutes before the break, only to miss the target with a free header from Simon Adingra’s cross.

Verbruggen had to pull off a fine save on the stroke of half-time to deny Isak after Guimaraes had picked out the striker’s run in behind, but there was nothing he could do to prevent Longstaff from levelling in the fifth minute of added time when he stabbed home Elliot Anderson’s cross from six yards.

Verbruggen had to claw the ball from underneath his crossbar after substitute Tariq Lamptey’s attempted clearance from Isak’s 58th-minute cross looped towards the top corner of his own goal, but Dubravka had to be equally alert at the other end to keep out Enciso’s deflected effort.

Eddie Howe sent on Joelinton, Harvey Barnes and Miguel Almiron for Longstaff, Murphy and a disappointed Isak with 22 minutes remaining, but it was Gordon who thought he had won it five minutes from time only for his effort to be ruled offside.


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