Newcastle hit rock bottom in front of owner Mike Ashley
Newcastle United hit rock bottom at St James's Park this afternoon.
A 1-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion has left the club propping up the Premier League.
Beram Kayal scored the only goal of a game dominated by winless Newcastle, who were leapfrogged in the table by Cardiff City.
The fixture was watched by owner Mike Ashley, who has now attended the club's last four league matches.
Fans again protested against Ashley before the match.
Newcastle started brightly, and Ayoze Perez had a shot stopped by Mat Ryan after Jonjo Shelvey had won possession.
Then a clash of heads between Glenn Murray and Federico Fernandez stopped played for eight minutes. Fernandez was able to continue, but Murray was stretchered off the pitch to applause from all sides of the stadium and taken to hospital.
United couldn't regain their early momentum, and Brighton went on to take the lead.
Kayal scored from a disputed corner – Solly March had put the ball out – in the 29th minute after diverting a shot from Jose Izquierdo past Martin Dubravka.
Newcastle rallied late in the half. Muto headed on to the roof of the net after Ryan pushed away a shot from Jonjo Shelvey, and a fierce shot from Kenedy flew just wide of goal.
United picked up where they had left off at the end of the first half, but Ritchie couldn't take the two chances that fell for him.
Other opportunities came and went. Newcastle just couldn't put the ball in the net. Kenedy, a livewire in midfield, even tried a rabona kick from outside the box.
United attacked again and again and again, but each time they were repelled by Brighton's defence, superbly marshalled by Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk.
Benitez sent on Joselu – there were boos when it was announced that Muto would come off – but he couldn't change the game.
And fans started filing out of the stadium before the final whistle, which was greeted by more boos from frustrated fans.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett; Shelvey, Diame; Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy; Muto (Joselu, 74). Subs not used: Darlow, Schar, Murphy, Hayden, Manquillo, Atsu.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION: Ryan; Bruno (Bernardo, 68), Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Jahanbakhsh, Stephens, Kayal, Izquierdo (Bissouma, 80); March; Murray (Locadia, 15). Subs not used: Button, Andone, Knockaert, Balogun.
Goal: Kayal 29
Bookings: Kayal 43, Jahanbakhsh 74
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)