Match Reports

Frustration as Albion held at the Amex by Newcastle

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Newcastle keeper Nick Pope and his defence in inspired form as home opener finishes 0-0.

By Bruce Talbot • 13 August 2022

By Bennett Dean
Danny Welbeck went close for Albion in the second half.

Albion endured a frustrating afternoon in the Amex sunshine as they were held to a goalless draw by Newcastle United.

We dominated for long stages only to be denied by two goalline clearances and a brilliant display from Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope.

Solly March and Joel Veltman were left frustrated as Kieran Trippier and Fabian Schar hacked their efforts off the line while Pope made a series of outstanding saves, the pick a second-half plunge down to his left to keep out Adam Lallana’s header.

It was hard to fault any aspect of our performance apart from the failure to stick one of our many chances away.

Albion were out of the traps quickly, winning three corners in the first six minutes although none resulted in Pope being tested in Newcastle’s goal, although it wasn’t long before the former Burnley man was frustrating us.

By Bennett Dean
Lewis Dunk and Callum Wilson had a good battle all afternoon.

Pope was called into serious action in the 20th minute after great work by Leo Trossard, who slipped past Trippier on the left and surged into the box. Pope parried his angled effort and grabbed it at the second attempt after Danny Welbeck couldn’t quite control the rebound.

Allan Saint-Maximin was booked for a dive just outside the box but he created Newcastle’s first threat in the 27th minute, going past Veltman and finding Miguel Almiron in space on the right, but he lifted his shot well over the target.

With temperatures nudging 34 degrees it was no surprise that the tempo dropped occasionally, but on 33 minutes Albion pressed superbly in midfield and went desperately close to the opening goal when March exchanged passes with Pascal Gross and his angled effort was parried by Pope before Kieran Trippier hacked the ball off the line. Pope saved a long-range effort by Moises Caicedo and then the increasingly influential Lallana laid the ball back to Alexis Mac Allister, but he side-footed well over.

By Bennett Dean
Solly March put in a strong performance down the right flank.

As half-time approached all that was missing from our performance was a goal. Pope made another smart save from Lallana’s shot on the turn and Albion couldn’t find a goal before the break.

They should have had that precious opener in the 49th minute but Pope produced a wonderful save, diving to his left to push out Lallana’s close-range header. The Newcastle keeper then tipped over March’s drive as we ramped up the pressure.

An altercation involving March and Joelinton ended with both players being booked and a polite handshake by the protagonists. Newcastle then had their best spell of the game. Former Albion man Dan Burn headed over from a decent position moments after Lallana was replaced by Enock Mwepu then Joel Veltman produced an excellent clearance in front of his own goal to prevent Almiron getting onto Saint-Maximin’s dangerous ball from the right.

By Paul Hazlewood
Kaoru Mitoma came on for his Premier League debut.

March was left frustrated again on 73 minutes when Mwepu’s pass found him eight yards out but Pope saved instinctively with his legs. Albion then made two more changes with Tariq Lamptey and Kaoru Mitoma, for his Premier League debut, introduced.

Mitoma soon got the crowd off their feet with a brilliant burst down the left before Albion were denied for a second time by a goalline clearance, this time from Fabian Schar who hooked Veltman’s shot from 15 yards to safety. Albion fans had their heads in their hands again when Mitoma zipped past Trippier and laid the ball into the path of Gross, but he stabbed his shot wide from inside the six-yard box.

That was that. Albion 0, Pope 0.

Albion: Sanchez, Veltman, Dunk, Webster, Trossard (Mitoma 75), Mac Allister, Caicedo, Trossard, Gross, Lallana (Mwepu 65), March (Lamptey 75), Welbeck.

Subs not used: Steele, Colwill, Alzate, Sarmiento, Undav, van Hecke.

Referee: Graham Scott

Attendance: 31552