Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion fight for survival

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There are games that shaped by the pursuit of victory and there are those moulded by the fear of defeat and this was definitely the latter as Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion ground out a dreary stalemate.

The game was one of the poorest seen at St James' Park all year, with neither side displaying much in the way of attacking fluency.

However, a goalless draw looked inevitable from an early stage of proceedings, with the result leaving Newcastle a point clear of the drop zone in 16th position. The bad thing is we have to win these games.

Sure enough, there were seven changes to the team that played City, only one of which was enforced. However, the rest of the Brighton roster have combined for only six goals.

It was the 21st minute before they even came close to threatening the Brighton goal, and even then, Seagulls goalkeeper Ryan was able to claim Gayle's driven cross relatively comfortably after the Newcastle striker drove into the right-hand side of the area.

"Then we know they are unsafe at counter-attacks and set-pieces".

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Newcastle were booed off after failing to score at home for a third outing in succession.

The Toon only created half chances in the opening half, with Gayle forcing one save out of Ryan from a tight angle and Mikel Merino and Joselu shooting wide from the edge of the box.

The scrap, for that is what this game was, is now to stay in the league they were promoted to, desperately, at whatever cost.

Darlow was presented with a routine save from Christian Gross' 54th-minute free-kick, while Ryan had to be at his best to parry away Gayle's glancing header from Christian Atsu's pin-point cross four minutes later.

But asked if it would stop him doing it again, he replied: "No".

At the other end, Shane Duffy nodded a cross wide of the goal. "A hard game, never an easy one here and I'm reasonably satisfied with the point".

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