Newcastle United 1 Aston Villa 1: Coloccini goal not enough at soggy St James's Park

Georginio Wijnaldum
Georginio Wijnaldum

Newcastle United were held to a draw by basement club Aston Villa at a sodden St James's Park tonight.

Jordan Ayew cancelled out Fabricio Coloccini's first-half opener after the break to claim a hard-fought point for Remi Garde's side on a dreadful playing surface.

The result left Newcastle 17th in the league and three points clear of the relegation zone ahead of tomorrow's games.

United head coach Steve McClaren – whose team had started the weekend in 15th place after back-to-back wins – had opted to name an unchanged side.

But McClaren lost Papiss Cisse to an injury in the 33rd minute and was forced to replace him with Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Coloccini, the club's captain, opened the scoring with his first goal in 13 months.

Georginio Wijnaldum

Georginio Wijnaldum

The long-serving defender lost his marker and got on the end of a Siem de Jong corner to put Newcastle ahead in the 38th minute.

Referee Martin Atkinson was happy for the game to continue at the break despite a deteriorating surface at St James's Park, where a heavy downpour started before kick off.

The rain eased for the second half, but the conditions remained awkward.

But Ayew was able to find space in the box to unleash a fierce shot past goalkeeper Rob Elliot, who tipped a late shot over from Rudy Gestede.

And Newcastle were left to rue the header de Jong put wide from a Georginio Wijnaldym cross minutes before Ayew's strike.

United return to action on Boxing Day, when Everton visit St James's Park.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Elliot; Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Dummett; Sissoko, Colback, Anita (Thauvin, 71), Wijnaldum; de Jong (Perez, 59), Cisse (Mitrovic, 33). Subs not used: Darlow, Mbabu, Tiote, Gouffran.

ASTON VILLA: Guzan; Hutton, Okore, Lescott, Bacuna; Gueye, Westwood; Veretout, Sanchez, Sinclair (Gestede, 60); Ayew. Subs not used: Bunn, Richardson, Clark, Gil, Grealish, Troare.

Goals: Coloccini 38, Ayew 61

Bookings: Dummett 40, Bacuna 77, Ayew 79, Westwood 84

Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)

Attendance: 48,234