20 September 2014 18:00
Papiss Cisse inspired a late turnaround to ease some of the pressure on Alan Pardew as Newcastle United drew 2-2 with Hull City.
Having fallen 2-0 down thanks to wonderful goals from Nikica Jelavic and Mohamed Diame, Newcastle looked set for another defeat in a game that Pardew had headed into expected to face fierce protests from the home fans following a poor start to the season.
Club owner Mike Ashley has come under increasing pressure to remove Pardew from his position on the back of their dismal form and the outcry from supporters appeared set to increase after Jelavic and Diame put Hull in command.
However, the introduction of Senegal striker Cisse proved instrumental in the 69th minute as he marked his return from a fractured kneecap with a brace.
Cisse reduced the deficit four minutes after coming and then slammed home three minutes from time to salvage a point and perhaps grant Pardew another week in the job.
Pardew was greeted by huge boos when he emerged from the dugout on the kick-off and Newcastle looked to be in for a difficult afternoon on the pitch as an unchanged Hull made a brighter start to the opening minutes.
The protest planned for the fifth minute did not materialise as expected as the home crowd seemingly opted to support the team rather than voice their disapproval at the manager.
And Newcastle appeared to respond to that encouragement, Remy Cabella and Jack Colback bringing Allan McGregor into action before the whole stadium rose to pay tribute to Jonas Gutierrez – the midfielder revealed to be suffering from testicular cancer earlier this week – by applauding after the 18th minute.
Newcastle will have been disappointed not to have made more of their first-half dominance, and they were made to pay for not doing so when Jelavic netted his third goal of the campaign in spectacular style.
The Croatia international met an Ahmed Elmohamady cross with a magnificent acrobatic effort that left Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul with no chance.
Cabella was twice denied by McGregor as Newcastle sought a quick response, and Stephen Quinn wasted a gilt-edged chance from close range to extend Hull’s advantage after winning a free-kick from Cheick Tiote.
Diame atoned for Quinn’s profligacy in the 68th minute with a vicious strike into the top corner that Krul could do nothing about, securing his second goal in as many outings for Hull.
That goal predictably saw the supporters return to venting their fury at Pardew, but Newcastle were offered a glimmer hope by substitute Cisse’s low shot under McGregor at the near post following good work from Tiote.
Newcastle poured forward and secured a share of the spoils with just three minutes to go, Cisse slamming Yoan Gouffran’s knock-down home from inside the six-yard box.
The Senegal striker’s goal could save Pardew’s skin for now, the 53-year-old punching the air with obvious delight at Cisse’s late intervention, although sporadic protests against the manager’s reign continued after the final whistle.