Battling Burnley fight back to add to Newcastle's woes
It is hard to remove the managerial uncertainty from the very top of any Newcastle agenda but Burnley did their very best yesterday. Three times they fought back from a goal down and, on top of that, they struck the woodwork four times. If a winner was going to emerge, they would not have been wearing black and white, but then Newcastle's fans are getting used to that state of affairs.
The new year may have started but old failings remain. The Newcastle side Alan Pardew has left behind has long since suffered from being alarmingly brittle.
They conceded three or more goals on 12 occasions in 2014; 2015 has presented no argument to suggest that unwelcome statistic is about to change. Newcastle even tried five at the back in the closing stages. It did not matter. They still have a soft underbelly.
That will be the first job for the man who will succeed Pardew, with Steve McClaren emerging as a front runner - although as of late on New Year's Eve there had not been any contact - while veteran Toon skipper Fabricio Coloccini has re-affirmed his intention to concentrate on his playing career having first been linked with the post last year when Pardew found himself under intense pressure.
"I am a football player now and want to play for a few years more," he said. "I want to enjoy being on the pitch. It's not for now."
Holding on to Moussa Sissoko and Ayoze Perez will be pretty near the top of the new man's remit as well. The club are insisting privately that Sissoko will not be sold, no matter how pressing the needs of Arsenal are becoming. Perez's name has yet to be mentioned greatly, but it will. From somewhere Newcastle have unearthed a real gem.
For 26 minutes yesterday, however, it was more about those from the north east; John Carver alongside Steve Stone and Peter Beardsley in the home dugout, every goalscorer similarly produced in the region.
And in the 15th minute, Steven Taylor directed a Jack Colback corner into the bottom corner. But the lead lasted just four minutes, after Paul Dummett placed a header over his own keeper, Jak Alnwick, into the home goal.
Again, another goal was just around the corner, as in the 26th minute Colback cracked a fine, left-footed strike into the bottom corner of Heaton's goal.
Danny Ings levelled just after the hour and, although Sissoko hit United's third with 12 minutes to go, Burnley refused to be beaten as George Boyd drove a left-footed shot past Alnwick.
NEWCASTLE: Alnwick, Janmaat, Coloccini, Taylor (Williamson, 60 mins), Dummett, Colback, Tiote, Perez, Sissoko, Gouffran (Haidara, 71 mins), Riviere (Armstrong, 57 mins). Subs not used: Santon, Anita, Cabella, Woodman
Goals: Taylor 15, Colback 26, Sissoko 78.
BURNLEY: Heaton, Trippier, Shackell (Long, 16 mins [Reid, 37 mins], Keane, Mee, Arfield, Jones, Marney (Kightly, 32 mins), Boyd, Barnes, Ings. Subs not used: Wallace, Sordell, Jutewicz, Gilks
Goals: Dummett og 19, Ings 66, Boyd 86
Man of the match: Danny Ings
Match rating: 9/10
Referee: Mike Dean