Ayoze Perez helps to lift the gloom for Magpies
Newcastle 1-1 West Brom
Claims of a burgeoning team spirit at Newcastle are easily smothered by the recent memory of temporary head coaches waving bits of paper written by previously mute captains after losing eight successive games. But something stirred inside the dressing room last week.
Whether it will be enough to keep a desperate football club in the Premier League remains to be seen. The true value of a point against West Bromwich Albion will be determined in a fortnight, but potentially the 1-1 draw and the return of Papiss Cisse felt significant.
The size of the rot inflicted by the eight-game losing sequence, the worst the club has ever experienced, is difficult to quantify. It led to meetings and recriminations.
Playing two out-and-out strikers was always the most likely route to safety, but then ignoring the team has been the single biggest, repeated problem of owner Mike Ashley's reign.
For nine minutes on Saturday, following Albion striker Victor Anichebe's 32nd-minute goal from yet another set piece, Newcastle fell into the bottom three. It was a rough nine minutes at a club that has lost a section of its support to boycotts.
Then Ayoze Perez scored a clever goal, his seventh of the season since his £2m move last summer from Tenerife. The cloud that has enveloped St James' Park lifted a bit.
"It is very hard for [manager] John [Carver] because he works very hard at his job," said Cisse. "I am not very happy to have just got one point, but it was important for him to get something out of the game.
"There was a lot of desire in the team, and now we need to keep on going. Maybe next week, if we do that, we will win the game."