Small pickings for Robson and Souness

West Brom 0 Newcastle 0

Despite a third successive draw, and the first point Albion have gained under Robson at The Hawthorns since his arrival in mid-November, the Baggies remain rooted to the foot of the Premiership, five points adrift of safety.

Souness, with his side shorn of three world-class strikers through injury, will perhaps be the more relieved to have gained this point.

But the Magpies are still in the wrong half of the table in 13th, and more importantly, a mammoth 14 points off the Champions League placing they desperately require.

The first opportunity for Robson’s side came in the 12th minute from a counter attack, culminating in Ronnie Wallwork forcing a sprawling save from Shay Given after cracking in a 20-yard shot.

From the rebound, Bramble’s poor clearance fell to Paul Robinson on the left-hand edge of the area for a cross to the far post where Kanu headed wide from six yards.

There was further concern for Souness in the 20th minute when Ameobi went down under a crunching challenge from Johnson, with the forward requiring treatment after the loose ball had broken to N’Zogbia for an angled drive that was blocked by Neil Clement.

To Souness’ relief, Ameobi was eventually able to continue.

Newcastle almost took the lead when Bowyer hit the base of the post with a low shot from 20 yards, before Hoult then denied Robert on the follow-up.

Ameobi continued to come in for some rough treatment from Albion, with the rangy forward caught by a high challenge from Darren Purse in the 25th minute, leading to Barry again producing a yellow card.

Ameobi and Purse clashed again just after the half-hour, this time the Baggies centre-back grabbing hold of the striker’s shirt as they chased a loose ball.

Clement wasted a chance as he drove a low free-kick into the wall after Jermaine Jenas tripped Kanu just outside the area in the 35th minute.

Newcastle responded soon after with Olivier Bernard and N’Zogbia playing a fine one-two on the edge of the area before the full-back incurred the crowd’s wrath by going down inside the box when barely touched by Martin Albrechtsen.

Albion could have taken the lead in the final minute of the half but Kanu’s sidefoot shot from 10 yards clipped Earnshaw’s heel and looped wide of the right-hand post.

With Newcastle controlling the early stages of the second period, Robert should have done better with a 53rd-minute chance after skipping his way into an opening, but merely proceeded to blaze over from an awkward angle.

Two minutes later came the moment Albion should have taken the lead, as Horsfield was in on goal after latching onto a headed through ball from Kanu, but Given produced lightning reactions to block the striker’s attempted chip at point-blank range.

Robinson then did likewise to Bowyer at the other end just after the hour, with the midfielder’s first touch in receiving N’Zogbia’s pull back a poor one, affording the left-back the opportunity to close in and deny the Magpies star time.

Albion, though, were carving out clear chances, as they displayed again in the 68th minute when Kanu fed Robinson on the overlap down the left for a cross to the far post, picking out Earnshaw for a volley into the ground that Given comfortably collected.

The closing stages were a lively affair, but despite substitutions by both sides, with James Milner replacing N’Zogbia and Jason Koumas coming on for Kanu, neither side could find the goal to decide the game.

There was one dipping, long-range effort from Robert in injury time, but it cleared the crossbar to the relief of the Albion camp.

WEST BROM: Hoult, Albrechtsen, Purse, Clement, Robinson, Scimeca, Johnson, Wallwork, Earnshaw, Horsfield, Kanu.

NEWCASTLE: Given, Taylor, Bramble, Hughes, Bernard, N’Zogbia, Bowyer, Dyer, Jenas, Robert, Ameobi.

Referee: N Barry.

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