- Albion 1, Newcastle 1
Graham Potter has often spoken of fine margins in the Premier League and that was certainly in evidence as his side had to settle for a point against struggling Newcastle.
Albion were seemingly in cruise control following Leandro Trossard's 24th minute penalty but having failed to extend their lead, despite creating a number of chances, the visitors snatched a second-half equaliser, through Issac Hayden, very much against the run of play.
Rob Sanchez was also sent off in the closing stages, making for an uncomfortable end to the game. As it was, the draw was Albion’s fifth from six Premier League games – leaving the side sitting a more than respectable sixth in the table – but there was a still a feeling of what might have been amongst Seagulls’ fans leaving the stadium.
Newcastle sat bottom of the table as the game got underway but with manager-in-waiting, Eddie Howe, looking on from the stands, the 3,000 Toon fans were hoping for a big reaction from their side.
As it was, Albion had the lion’s share of the game’s opening exchanges and created the first opportunity when Tariq Lamptey – making his first Premier League start of the season – broke down the right. His cross was met by the head of Trossard but Karl Darlow was equal to it.
The Newcastle keeper was also tested moments later by a Shane Duffy header, this time from a Trossard corner, but again he made a comfortable save.
Trossard was in the thick of the action and the all-important breakthrough came when Ciaran Clark made contact with the Belgian in the 20th minute. Referee David Coote, who had initially given a goal kick, was instructed by VAR to check his monitor and the penalty was given instead.
With Neal Maupay on the bench, up stepped Trossard and he made no mistake – firing home his third goal of the season into the roof of the net.
The visitors looked a threat on the rare occasions they broke forward, with Jacob Murphy dragging an effort wide, but Albion had control of the half, flooding the midfield, and with Lamptey creating plenty of width and pace on the right-hand side.
Albion did have hearts in mouths shortly before half-time when Allan Saint-Maximin’s shot on the turn was cleared by a combination of Sanchez and Lewis Dunk – but the forward was flagged for offside.
The Seagulls continued on the front foot and twice went close following the re-start. First, Trossard saw a shot blocked following good work from Adam Lallana, then Marc Cucurella headed wide from a Trossard cross.
Lallana, who continued to pull the strings in the centre of the park, also missed a good opportunity to double Albion’s lead when he side-footed wide following some superb build-up play from a combination of Sanchez, Cucurella and Trossard.
Albion were left to rue those missed chances when, on 66 minutes, a Matt Ritchie cross from the left was nodded down by Clark at the back post and Hayden was on hand to fire home.
The goal disrupted the Seagulls’ rhythm and it was Newcastle who grew stronger in the game’s closing stages.
They looked on course to score an unlikely winner when Callum Wilson found himself through on goal. He was fouled by the onrushing Sanchez and following a pitchside review by Coote, the Albion keeper was shown a red card.
Dunk, not for the first time, went in goal for the final minutes of the game, but the ten men saw the game out.
Albion: Sanchez; Duffy, Dunk, Veltman, Lamptey (Webster 75), Mwepu (Mac Allister 45), Bissouma, Lallana, Cucurella, Trossard, March (Maupay 65).
Subs not used: Steele, Webster, Gross, Moder, Locadia, Richards, Sarmiento