Christian Atsu © Getty Images
Ghana star Christian Atsu got his first start since 30 December and helped Newcastle earn a 2-2 draw on Saturday.
The Geordies came from two goals down against Bristol City, as Brighton returned to the top of the Championship with a 3-0 win over Reading.
Atsu was a beneficiary of a decision by Rafa Benitez to rotate his squad ahead of a key run of three games inside a week, but frustrated as much as he delighted. He took on the opposition without fear, but his end game was not consistently good.
Veteran forward Aaron Wilbraham headed the visitors into an early lead on 11 minutes to boost their hopes of staying clear of the relegation battle. Before Newcastle could mount a recovery, Bristol City went 2-0 up when David Cotterill punished some more poor defending after 21 minutes.
An Atsu cross created havoc and saw Jonjo Shelvey force an own goal, then Ciaran Clark snatched the leveller eight minutes from time.