NEWCASTLE, England (AP) — Joao Pedro snatched a victory from Newcastle’s grasp by scoring in the 88th minute to earn Watford a 1-1 draw in an English Premier League game between relegation rivals on Saturday.
The Portuguese forward's header stunned the locals among a crowd of 52,223 at St James’ Park and kept Watford a place above the relegation zone.
Newcastle, which had new signing Chris Wood in the team for the first time after his transfer from Burnley this week, looked to have won it through Allan Saint-Maximin’s superb 49th-minute strike but retreated in the second half.
Newcastle stayed in next-to-last place and above only Burnley, which dropped to the bottom because of Norwich's 2-1 win over over Everton on Saturday.
Newcastle started with real tempo and was denied by the crossbar after Joelinton flicked Ryan Fraser’s deflected 11th-minute cross toward goal. The hosts were spared four minutes later, though, when, after Saint-Maximin squandered possession on halfway, Josh King fired into the side-netting from Pedro’s through-ball.
Joelinton volleyed wide at the far post after Fraser and Longstaff worked a short corner, and Wood sent a looping header over from another cross by Fraser, with the home side exerting the more consistent pressure.
The New Zealand international was unable to hit the target once again after Jamaal Lascelles headed Kieran Trippier’s 24th-minute corner toward goal and Fabian Schar failed to work recalled goalkeeper Ben Foster when he got his head to Trippier’s inviting free kick seven minutes later.
Longstaff lifted a left-foot shot high over the bar after Saint-Maximin, who until that point endured a frustrating afternoon, made progress down the left and pulled the ball back.
The first goal came in the 49th and, perhaps fittingly for a game that became increasingly scrappy, it arrived courtesy of an error.
Full back Jeremy Ngakia was robbed by Saint-Maximin as he chased down Shelvey’s hopeful ball forward, but what followed was of much higher quality as the Frenchman cut inside before blasting a vicious shot past Foster.
Watford responded and Martin Dubravka had to claw Pedro's shot from underneath his crossbar before denying King as he raced through on goal seconds later.
And, with the Hornets adopting a more adventurous approach in the search for an equalizer, the game started to open up.
Former Newcastle player Moussa Sissoko should have levelled from Dennis’ 67th-minute pass but stabbed his shot wastefully wide, and it was left to Pedro to snatch a point three minutes from time with a fine header from substitute Kiko Femenia’s cross.
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