Duff strike denies Baggies
Krul heroics secure Newcastle opening day draw
Last Updated: August 8, 2009 7:59pm
Duff scores the equaliser
Newcastle came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with West Brom in their Championship opener at the Hawthorns.
Damien Duff struck ten minutes into the second half to cancel out Shelton Martis' scrambled opener.
Newcastle were indebted to second-half substitute keeper Tim Krul, who replaced the concussed Steve Harper after the break, for helping them pick up a point with the Dutchman producing four superb saves to keep out West Brom.
Kevin Nolan missed Newcastle's best chance of the second half when he headed Joey Barton's free-kick wide.
Jonas Olsson had a goal disallowed in injury-time as the two sides who were relegated from the Premier League last season had to content themselves with a share of the spoils.
A minute's applause reverberated around The Hawthorns prior to kick off as both clubs marked Sir Bobby Robson's passing, with the former England manager spending six years at Albion and five at United during his glittering career.
Magpies caretaker manager Chris Hughton will have been happy to get back to footballing matters with owner Mike Ashley struggling to find a buyer and the club's management situation in disarray, not to mention the lack of incoming players.
But Joey Barton's omission from Newcastle's starting XI was the big surprise before kick-off, with the midfielder only named among the substitutes following an alleged training ground bust-up with Hughton.
Chris Wood, making his full debut, started up front for Albion with £1.9million summer signing Simon Cox on the bench.
Both sides started brightly but it was Albion who should have grabbed the early breakthrough after just five minutes, with the unmarked Martis somehow side-footing his volley wide from seven yards.
Duff was next to inexplicably fire high and wide at the other end, before the lively Jonas Gutierrez headed a good opening straight at Scott Carson.
Chris Brunt and Luke Moore were threatening for Albion but, in truth, neither keeper had been forced to make a real save of note as half-time approached.
Yet, as a goalless interval loomed, Martis popped up to atone for his earlier miss.
Harper could only parry Jonathan Greening's free-kick to Luke Moore, whose goalbound effort was blocked by team-mate Jonas Olsson but Martis was on hand to poke home from close range in the 39th minute.
Newcastle's fans won the half-time crossbar challenge, but their team's fortunes on the pitch did not look like improving as Harper was replaced in goal by Krul after he picked up an injury during Albion's opener.
The substitute stopper immediately proved his worth, however, pulling out a great diving save to deny Robert Koren.
And with the Magpies looking threatening at the other end, Duff finished off good work between Shola Ameobi and Kevin Nolan to fire the visitors level in the 55th minute.
Wood should then have put Albion back in front two minutes later but he could only blast over after Krul again did well to deny Koren.
The game became stretched as both sides started to show a lack of match fitness associated with the opening day.
The impressive Krul used his feet to deny Moore as the game approached the closing stages, while Nolan headed a great chance over at the other end.
Olsson then dramatically saw his header disallowed in injury time to leave both sides with a share of the spoils.
Sat 8th Aug
Cardiff4 - 0Scunthorpe
Watford1 - 1Doncaster
Reading0 - 0N Forest
Sheff Wed2 - 2Barnsley
QPR1 - 1Blackpool
Leicester2 - 1Swansea
Preston2 - 2Bristol C
Derby2 - 1Peterboro
C Palace1 - 1Plymouth
West Brom1 - 1Newcastle
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