Superb Saint Maximin earns draw for Newcastle against Leeds

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Kalvin Phillips of Leeds United and Allan Saint-Maximin of Newcastle United battle for the ball during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Leeds United at St. James Park on September 17, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Allan Saint-Maximin's fine equaliser lifted the pressure on Newcastle boss Steve Bruce as his side earned a point against Leeds.

After a week when Bruce had to defend his position following further criticism from fans, the mood turned ugly inside a packed St James' Park when Raphinha cut in from the right and sent his cross into the far corner of Karl Darlow's goal after 13 minutes.

As Leeds threatened to run riot against a disjointed Newcastle, "we want Brucey out" was sung by all sides of the stadium.

Marcelo Bielsa's free-spirited side should have been further ahead before the break, but after Matt Ritchie hit a post, Saint-Maximin lifted the mood when he danced around the Leeds defence before finding the bottom corner.

It was a massive goal for both Newcastle and Bruce, who punched the air in delight, and restored some equilibrium after a torrid first half.

There was less stress for Bruce after the break as both sides cancelled each other out, as Saint-Maximin twice tested Illan Meslier in the Leeds goal. IMG-20210917-222954-473

The result left both sides still searching for their first win of the season, and at the wrong end of the table.

But a point kept Bruce's head above water even if there will still calls for him to leave the club as the game finished. As the 60-year-old headed down the tunnel, his face told the story of a man relieved for now but who faces an uphill task to turn the mood around.

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