Newcastle United were denied a first win of the season by a 96th-minute penalty from Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse yesterday.
The point that Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side took home from the 2-2 draw at St James’s Park was nothing less than they deserved.
And a game which had been punctuated by chants against head coach Steve Bruce – “we want Brucie out” rang out several times – ended with the sound of more boos from frustrated fans.
Next up for the club are Manchester United – and most likely Cristiano Ronaldo – at Old Trafford.
Bruce, understandably, was at a low ebb when he faced the media after the Southampton game.
The game had seemingly been won when Allan Saint-Maximin scored in the 90th minute.
"In my opinion, we’ve taken the lead twice – and deserved to go on and win it,” said United’s head coach. “We've now given three penalties away – and it's cost us badly.
"You are always at your most vulnerable when you score. We have scored with two or three minutes to play, and haven't seen it through. That's disappointing – of course it is – but the decision’s gone against us. We just have to take it and stop making these decisions that give penalties away.
"It's tough to take, a penalty decided by VAR, and we’re all bitterly disappointed."
“They’re entitled to their opinion,” said United’s head coach. “I find the whole thing very, very disappointing, as anybody would, I suppose. Our first-half performance wasn’t good enough. I’ll accept that.”
Newcastle hadn’t been nearly good enough before the break, but they were better in the second half, and they should have been able to see the game out after retaking the lead through Saint-Maximin’s strike.
United, however, gave the ball away time and again in added time, and Southampton, eventually, forced an error from captain Jamaal Lascelles, who brought down former Newcastle striker Adam Armstrong in the box.
There’s work to be done on and off the pitch over the international break.
The summer transfer window closes on Tuesday, and the hope is that Bruce will be able to strengthen his squad before the deadline.
Speaking on Friday, Bruce said: “We’re in this situation where, yes, we haven’t got a lot of money. There’s no money to be had.
“However, is there a loan deal like Joe Willock? Look how well he did for us. We’ve had one or two who’ve done extremely well. That’s the market we’re looking at.”
Bruce was asked after the Southampton game whether the club’s transfer business would go to the wire.
"No,” said Bruce, before moving on to the next question.
The one-word answer is open to interpretation, though one report has claimed that there’s a “growing possibility” that the club won’t even add a loan signing due to a lack of funds.
Bruce – and United – desperately need a lift before the deadline, but the signs are ominous.