Eddie Howe was given a first-hand glimpse into the amount of work required as Newcastle salvaged a 1-1 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion after a stirring second half performance.
The former Bournemouth boss, who is expected to be announced as Steve Bruce’s successor imminently, was at the Amex alongside influential board member Amanda Staveley.
Howe watched in dismay as Ciaran Clark was adjudged to have taken the legs away from Leandro Trossard, with referee David Coote consulting the monitor after the VAR suggested further examination was needed.
Trossard duly dusted himself off to dispatch the spot kick and the home side enjoyed large swathes of possession without really being bothered by their visitors.
Chants of ‘Attack! Attack! Attack!’ bellowed from the away end, with Howe under no illusions of the magnitude of the task he faces.
Perhaps buoyed by the sight of their potential new boss, the Magpies found an equaliser with a quarter of the game remaining when Matt Ritchie’s cross was headed back down into the path of Hayden, who calmly slammed a volley into the back of the net.
Callum Wilson was a superstar for Howe under Bournemouth, with the England international surely hoping he can recapture his best form under his former mentor.
The striker thought he had the chance to win the game when played through in injury time, only for Robert Sanchez to haul him down intentionally.
After a consultation with VAR, Coote sent Sanchez off and Lewis Dunk assumed the position of stand-in goalie.
Despite the numerical advantage and Dunk in the opposition goal, the visitors could not force an equaliser, although there are real positives for Howe to work with based on this second half performance.
More to follow…