The Magpies earned a point after playing with 10 men for most of the game, although they desperately needed the win
On a night when nothing but a win would have done for Newcastle United, they had to settle for a point at St James’ Park.
They remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table and the search for that first win since May will now stretch into December.
Although things could have been so, so different had Ciaran Clark not suffered a rush of blood after just 10 minutes.
After finding themselves a man down the Magpies at least rolled their sleeves up but defensive frailties came back to haunt them once again.
Before the game, the crowd unfurled a banner with a quote from basketball coach John Wooden which read: “Make each day your own masterpiece”.
Howe has referenced Wooden in previous interviews but his step out onto the big stage was relatively low key compared to previous bosses as he quietly took his place in the dugout.
The game started with Newcastle – lined up in a traditional 4-4-2 formation – trying to get on the front foot early on.
First Jonjo Shelvey pinged the ball from left to right trying to pick out Javier Manquillo before the full-back lost possession on four minutes.
Two minutes later Allan Saint-Maximin shuffled down the left-hand side and rolled it to Shelvey and after the crowd urged him to shoot he fired just over the bar at the Leazes End.
Yet Howe’s game plan had to be ripped up after a moment of madness from one his most experienced players.
Indeed, the visitors were handed a major advantage on 10 minutes when Ciaran Clark lost the ball and tried to make amends by tugging back Teemu Pukki.
Andy Madley wasted no time in producing the red card and he was ordered down the tunnel after a quick VAR check.
The subsequent free-kick was parried away by Martin Dubravka after Billy Gilmour tried to pile more agony on Newcastle.
Howe wasted no time in reacting and hooked Ryan Fraser after just 10 minutes and three touches to introduce Federico Fernandez as he made his first appearance since the takeover in early October.
With 20 minutes played, Joelinton tried his luck from distance but the ball screeched over the bar.
Having gone down to 10 men United switched to a 4-3-2 formation with Shelvey dropping deeper.
And they had to rely on Jamal Lewis’ near the line clearance to deny Josh Sargent as Norwich started to ask questions of the below strength Magpies after half an hour.
United finished the half with a Joelinton effort but again it was over the top.
Norwich made a change at the break when they introduced Pierre Lees-Melou for Christos Tzolis.
United’s first glimpse of goal in the second half came when Joelinton was upended in the box by Brandon Williams but ref Madley opted against pointing to the spot on 50 minutes.
But just before the hour mark, Newcastle were awarded a spot-kick when Shelvey’s corner struck the hand of Gilmour and left United players changing towards the referee.
After a long VAR check, Madley then made his way over to the screen before awarding the penalty.
Typically, returning former Toon star Tim Krul tried the usual mind games in front of the Gallowgate End.
And the Dutchman almost kept Callum Wilson’s effort out but he could only push the ball on to the bar as Newcastle squeezed ahead on 61 minutes.
Could the 10 men hold on?
Premier League, Tuesday 30th, 2021
That was the big question as the rain lashed down on St James’ Park and fans waited nervously to see if that first Premier League win since May could be achieved.
Things could have been a little bit more comfortable had Saint-Maximin finished in style after making a powerful forward run but he could only blaze over.
Howe made his second change of the night when Isaac Hayden replaced Joe Willock with 18 minutes to go.
A final change came when Miguel Almiron replaced Saint-Maximin for the final stages of the night.
But United’s inability to hold on to a lead haunted them again with 11 minutes remaining.
It looked avoidable too.
Greece international Dimitris Giannoulis whipped in the ball after Dubravka could not hold on to a cross before Pukki lashed home a quite venomous finish to make it 1-1.
The substitute winger had only been on the field for seven minutes but was allowed to get the ball into the danger area, worse still Pukki had the freedom of Leazes Park to weigh up his shot and equalise.
A hopeful effort from Joelinton went high over the top in the final minute of regulation time.
The crowd were lifted by the sight of six additional minutes.
Yet it was Norwich who looked the most likely side to win it.
Giannoulis cashed in as Schar lost the ball near the line before the winger forced Dubravka into a vital save with his feet.
A curling effort from Lees-Melou was held by Dubravka in the 95th minute as Norwich dared to win it.
But on an incident-packed night, that was the last scary moment the United faithful had to endure.
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