Sat 3 Feb 2024, 17:35 by Ash Harrison

Newcastle 4-4 Luton: Harvey Barnes marks his return with a goal in a crazy game at St James' Park

Newcastle 4-4 Luton: Harvey Barnes marks his return with a goal in a crazy game at St James' Park
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There are some really strong and very mixed emotions right now after witnessing the game between Newcastle United and Luton Town at St James' Park.

Newcastle twice had the lead only to be pegged back by Luton who then raced into a two-goal lead themselves before Newcastle quickly squared it all up again. For the neutral, you're not likely to see a more exciting game of football this season.

Unfortunately, if you're reading this, then chances are you're anything but neutral so how are we feeling about this one? The bottom line is we've taken just one point off Luton this season which is unacceptable really.

Sean Longstaff had a part in three of the four first-half goals

Sean Longstaff, who we said beforehand needed to up his game with Joe Willock coming back, got Newcastle off to a flyer with a goal after just seven minutes after he should probably have already had one to his name a couple of minutes earlier.

Gabriel Osho pegged one back for Luton on 21 minutes but Longstaff scored again two minutes later to restore Newcastle's lead. Ross Barkley added Luton's second five minutes before half time after a Martin Dubravka stop fell at his feet and no Newcastle players reacted.

Newcastle v Luton
Getty Images
Newcastle celebrate scoring against Luton

The second half started in nightmare fashion when Dan Burn brought down Chiedozie Ogbene inside the area and gifted Luton a penalty. Carlton Morris finished calmly from the spot but was forced to retake it as the referee was still sorting out a tussle on the edge of the area. Morris stepped up again and made no mistake with the retake either.

It took just three minutes for Luton to open up a two-goal lead when Kieran Trippier made a huge error running out of position and leaving plenty of space in behind for Luton to play into which they took full advantage of to allow Elijah Adebayo to score.

Newcastle didn't roll over and accept their fate

Newcastle weren't about to roll over though and they fought back brilliantly with Kieran Trippier making up for his error by scoring from close range on 67 minutes.

Then came the pièce de résistance. Harvey Barnes, brought on at 63 minutes after a four-month absence, picked up the ball on the edge of the area and stroked it home for the pick of the bunch and the crucial equaliser. Newcastle really should have gone on from there to win, but coming back from a two-goal deficit can't be ignored.

Elijah Adebayo
Sky Sports
Elijah Adebayo celebrates scoring Luton's fourth

We hate to do it, but we have to point fingers here and say that Eddie Howe got this one wrong by playing Dan Burn from the start. The mismatch of pace down that side of the pitch was shocking, and Eddie Howe should have known about that threat. Anyone can see that Dan Burn is as slow as a fortnight, so why he was chosen to go up against Chiedozie Ogbene, the man clocked as the fastest player in the Premier League, is frankly baffling.

That mismatch led to two goals for Luton, while every one of their goals could have been prevented if our defence had been more switched on.

Fortunately our forwards had a better day than our defence

Luckily, our attack was up for the fight, and in truth, Jacob Murphy should have had a winner on around 85 minutes or so when Bruno Guimaraes fizzed a beautiful ball across the face of goal with the outside of his boot for Murphy to ping it just over the bar from point-blank range.

Then in the dying moments of the game the Magpies went on a rapid counter-attack and had the right ball been played forward there was an excellent opportunity for a winner, but the play went out wide and ultimately backwards allowing Luton to regroup and snuff out the attack.

As we say, for the neutral, this was one hell of a game, but it was a game where Newcastle twice blew a lead but also fought back from two goals down and as such, I just don't know how to feel about it right now.

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