Jonjo Shelvey let his feet do the talking for Newcastle United – after 'ignoring' his critics
There had been calls for Jonjo Shelvey to be dropped. Steve Bruce ignored them.
And how he must be glad he did, because Shelvey claimed what could be a very important point against Manchester City this afternoon with a late, late goal.
Shelvey had spoken about his social media critics before the game at St James’s Park, which ended 2-2. The midfielder said he “ignored” them.
But the importance of this result – Newcastle twice came from behind against the Premier League champions – can’t be ignored.
Bruce, United’s head coach, had resisted calls to bring in Sean Longstaff, back from a three-game suspension, after Monday night’s 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa, and he kept faith with Shelvey, who again wore the captain’s armband in the absence through injury of Jamaal Lascelles.
Miguel Almiron also kept his place, and the winger was a threat all game.
Newcastle made an encouraging start, and Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin and Almiron again threatened with their pace.
City patiently probed away when they had the ball, and they got their reward in the 22nd minute after David Silva burst into the box. Silva was challenged by Isaac Hayden, and the loose ball was flicked to Sterling, who beat Martin Dubravka.
The lead, however, lasted just three minutes. Almiron drifted from the right to the left and picked the ball up and played it to the over-lapping Jetro Willems, who lashed a low shot past Ederson with his weaker right foot.
United had Martin Dubravka to thank for a second-half save which denied Gabriel Jesus. Ciaran Clark stopped a follow-up effort from Kevin De Bruyne.
Bruce replaced Joelinton with Dwight Gayle in the 69th minute as City pressed for a second goal, and it came when a Benjamin Mendy crossed was cleared to De Bruyne, who chested it down and struck a shot which went in off the crossbar.
Still, there was time for Shelvey to sweep home the ball from 20 yards after Christian Atsu found him with an 88th-minute free-kick.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka; Manquillo, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Willems; Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin (Atsu, 81); Joelinton (Gayle, 69). Subs not used: Darlow, Schar, S Longstaff, M Longstaff, Krafth.