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FA awaiting referee's report after late touchline spat in Magpies draw
THE Football Association are ready to investigate the touchline bust-up at St James' Park on Saturday once referee Mike Jones files his report later today.
With the game poised at 1-1 both Newcastle United and Southampton tried to conjure up the chance that could have delivered all three points in the build-up to the festive fixture list.
And in the closing stages substitute Massadio Haidara – only recently back on the Premier League stage after recovering from a horror tackle from Wigan's Callum McManaman last March – was on the receiving end of a strong tackle by Morgan Schneiderlin.
The Southampton midfielder earned a yellow card for the challenge, but it sparked unsavoury scenes in the dug-outs.
Both backroom teams ended squaring up to each other and stewards had to intervene before the two clubs' goalkeeper coaches, Andy Woodman and Toni Jimenez, were sent from the dug-outs for the remainder of the match.
Jones will have to include the incident – dubbed “pantomime” stuff by peacemaker Alan Pardew afterwards - in his report and the FA's disciplinary committee are likely to charge both clubs.
Striker Shola Ameobi described the melee as “hand-bags” afterwards and he was sat on the bench at the time having been replaced by Papiss Cisse earlier in the half.
Pardew said: “I’ll have a look at the footage of what went on behind me and I’ll maybe have a word with one or two if I need to.
“But it wasn’t just us. I said to their manager ‘get yourself back on the bench and I’ll get mine back on the bench, let’s just get on with the bloody battle that’s meant to be happening out there, not this silly stuff’. That’s what we did.”
Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino was of a similar belief. He said: “I think it is avoidable but in a high-intensity game such as that, any little spark can lead to something else and I think that's what happened.”
Pardew agreed with the decision not to dismiss Schneiderlin, who was booked for the challenge on Haidara, and felt the coming together of the benches was “probably just an overreaction” after Newcastle had complained a few times about offside decisions.
Newcastle could easily have lost the game in the second half when Southampton improved and looked more dangerous on the break. The visitors could only muster the well-work equaliser through Jay Rodriguez 25 minutes from time, though.
The draw meant Newcastle were prevented from a fourth consecutive home win just seven days after the memorable 1-0 win at Manchester United.
Pardew said: “It was important to keep the momentum going. I can’t say to the boys in the dressing room that they should have done this or that, that we made errors or didn’t work hard enough, or that we didn’t deserve to win.
“I actually thought they gave everything they could. They made mistakes but they were genuine mistakes trying to force the game or create something.
“I felt that it would have been the perfect game for (the suspended) Yohan Cabaye to play. We needed somebody to find that killer pass in a really tight game and it was a shame we didn’t have him. Other than that, the boys gave a really good account of themselves.”
Newcastle's goalscorer Yoan Gouffran particularly impressed. The former Bordeaux man had to be patient to hold down a first team place, but seems to have found the perfect spot on the left-flank.
His sixth goal of the campaign against Southampton was also the fourth home game in a row in which he has found the net. The 27-year-old was also impressive defensively, chasing down a Southampton red shirt on a regular basis.
Pardew, who introduced Hatem Ben Arfa in the final 17 minutes at Gouffran's expense, said: “He’s astonishing. I really didn't want to take him off, but I needed to get Hatem on the pitch and I didn’t know who to take off.
“He was terrific up to that point and then he sprinted off, which is pretty typical of him. I’m sure the Geordie faithful up here absolutely loved him to bits.
“We could see as a player when we played him when he was at Bordeaux that he was really committed and that he had the quality to play for Newcastle.”
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