Ratings: Newcastle 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1 - Magpies' midfield flops with lack of spark

Dwight Gayle is brought down against Sheffield Wednesday
Dwight Gayle is brought down against Sheffield Wednesday
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It was a tough evening for Newcastle United as a physical Sheffield Wednesday side produced a strong Boxing Day performance.

With Jonjo Shelvey suspended, Newcastle's midfield struggled to create any clear-cut chances as the visitors soaked up the pressure at St James's Park.

United goalkeeper Karl Darlow performed heroics at times in the United goal, but how did the rest of the team in black and white fare? Here's our ratings:

Karl Darlow: Super save to deny Steven Fletcher in first half. Even better one in the second half from point-blank range. Didn't deserve to be on the losing side. 9

Vurnon Anita: Should have done better with the rebound after Dwight Gayle's shot came back off the woodwork early on. Offered an attacking outlet down the right. 6

Jamaal Lascelles: An uncomfortable evening for the United skipper with the twin threat of Fernando Forestieri and Fletcher, though produced some good last-ditch challenges and interceptions. 6

Ciaran Clark: Should have scored with a free header from a corner in first half. Had his hands full dealing with former Sunderland striker Fletcher. 6

Paul Dummett: Spoke before game about having to cope with 'grief' from fans. Was caught out by long ball in first half when Liam Palmer should have scored and offered little going forward as United pressed. 6

Matt Ritchie: Some excellent delivery from set plays but struggled to track roving Wednesday left-back Daniel Pudil in the first half. The one real creative force in black and white. 7

Isaac Hayden: Sloppy in possession in the first half and booked in the second. Not his best game but always willing. 6

Jack Colback: Stepped in for the suspended Jonjo Shelvey but failed to offer Newcastle the same control in the midfield. Looked rusty - and I'm not just talking about his hair colour. 5

Yoan Gouffran: Talking of hair colour, if it wasn't for his dyed blonde head making him stand out, you'd have struggled to notice him out on the pitch. Hooked seconds after glancing a header - his sole contribution - wide. 5

Mohamed Diame: Tried to create for the Magpies from his position in the 'hole' and produced one great pass in the first half for Gayle which almost resulted in the opener. 6

Dwight Gayle: Clattered from behind on numerous occasions as he tried to relieve some pressure, but kept showing for the ball despite limited service. Unlucky not to score in the first half. 7

Substitutes

Christian Atsu (for Gouffran, 63): Always trying to cut in from the right onto his left foot and looked a threat. 7

Ayoze Perez (for Diame, 69): Struggled to get into the game. 5

Aleksandar Mitrovic (for Colback, 80): Not given long to make an impression but almost equalised with a firm header. 6

Subs not used: Sels, Yedlin, Lazaar, Mbemba.

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Westwood, Palmer, Lees, Loovens, Pudil, Wallace, Hutchinson, Bannan, Reach, Forestieri, Fletcher.

Subs: Joao (for Forestieri, 77); Jones (for Bannan, 80)

Subs not used: Wildsmith, Abdi, Hunt, Sasso, Nuhiu.

Bookings: Bannan 30; Pudil 36; Hayden 52; Hutchinson 76

Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire): A busy evening with a niggly game but kept a lid on it well. 7

Attendance: 52,179