Unlucky Newcastle held by Maritimo

Europa League Group D, Estadio dos Barreiros - Maritimo 0 Newcastle 0

Newcastle twice struck the woodwork in a goalless draw with Portuguese side Maritimo in their opening Europa League Group D match.

Magpies boss Alan Pardew fielded a second-string side in Madeira, and they were forced to absorb long periods of Maritimo pressure.

But the hosts were weak in attack and Newcastle could have snatched victory but for the woodwork as Dan Gosling saw a long-range effort come back off the post and Shola Ameobi coaxed a shot onto the bar.

Davide Santon was forced to head off the line late on from Valentin Roberge, as the sides shared the points.

Pardew is not the first manager to walk the tightrope of Premier League and Europa League. The Newcastle boss opted to blood his youngsters and reserves in Portugal, a move that was partly forced due to Hatem Ben Arfa’s suspension and injuries to Tim Krul, Cheick Tiote, Fabricio Coloccini and Papiss Cisse.

And Newcastle missed their star names early on as Maritimo dominated the early stages.

Goalkeeper Rob Elliot was called into action several times, first denying Sami, who cleverly hooked Simao’s corner towards goal.

Elliot was called into action moments later, again denying Sami after Mike Williamson opened the door following a poor clearance.

But Newcastle stemmed the early pressure and created a couple of chances in as many minutes. First, Ameobi somehow missed from close-range after Romain Salin smothered his effort. Gosling then struck the base of the post from 25 yards with a rasping drive.

Newcastle created another chance soon after the break, but were again denied by the woodwork when Ameobi struck the bar after cutting into a shooting position from the left.

But Maritimo enjoyed the best of the second half and could have snatched it 10 minutes from the end when Santon cleared off his own line.

Sending a thumping header towards goal, Roberge appeared to have broken the deadlock, but Santon headed out after the ball flicked off the underside of the bar.

Newcastle were left hanging on for a decent away point, but Pardew will be disappointed his side failed to take the chances their average opponents afforded them on the night.

MAN OF THE MATCH:

Dan Gosling - Provided an effective shield in front of the Newcastle defence and an attacking threat. Hit the post.

PLAYER RATINGS:

Maritimo: Salin 6, Briguel 6, Joao Guilherme 7, Roberge 7, Luis Olim 6, Rafael Miranda 6, Joao Luiz 7, Heldon 5, David Simao 7, Sami 8, Danilo Dias 5. SUBS: Fidelis 7, Adilson 6.

Newcastle: Elliot 7, Perch 7, Williamson 6, Steven Taylor 7, Santon 7, Obertan 5, Bigirimana 6, Gosling 8, Amalfitano 6, Shola Ameobi 6, Vuckic 5. SUBS: Marveaux 6, Sammy Ameobi 7, Ferguson 6.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS