Newcastle close the gap on Norwich City with battling draw

Newcastle United's Rafael Benitez applauds the crowd after the Barclays Premier League match at St J

Newcastle United's Rafael Benitez applauds the crowd after the Barclays Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Newcastle United failed to record the win they needed to push Norwich City into the Barclays Premier League relegation zone last night – but it was still a positive evening for Rafael Benitez and his team.

The Magpies recovered from the setback of conceding an early goal that should have been ruled out to record a battling 1-1 draw against Manchester City at St James' Park.

The visitors took the lead on 15 minutes when Sergio Aguero headed home a free-kick after coming back from an offside position but Newcastle got back on level terms on the half hour mark through an excellent finish from Vurnon Anita and then had chances to win it after the break.

But bearing in mind the quality of the opposition it was still a good point for Benitez's men after Saturday's morale-boosting 3-0 win over Swansea and left them just two points behind the Canaries, having played the same number of games.

Sunderland, who currently hold the final relegation position, are one point behind Norwich with a game in hand following their 3-0 win at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Andros Townsend felt Newcastle showed great character to come from a goal down to earn a point.

He said: 'Both teams had chances, both teams have come off the pitch saying they should have had the three points, but it's a point, we're still alive, we're still kicking and we're still in there with a chance.

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'It's now down to us to start picking up points away from home. I think we've been criticised for our character once we've gone 1-0 down in the past but tonight we showed great character.'

Anita praised Newcastle's performance and wants to see his side keep up their work-rate in their next match.

He said: 'I think the team worked very hard and very well and deserved the point.

'We worked very hard for the team and for the fans and we need to carry on in the next game.'

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