Isaac Hayden saves draw for Newcastle at Brighton with Howe in the stands

Howe do you like that? Before kick‑off Newcastle sank to the bottom of the league because of Norwich’s victory at Brentford; then they fell behind to a penalty by Leandro Trossard. Then came the reaction that must have encouraged their prospective new manager, who, from his seat in the stands, saw Newcastle fight back to claim a valuable point.

It would have been more if Callum Wilson had not been fouled by Robert Sánchez in stoppage time when running clear on goal. The goalkeeper was sent off but Newcastle did not have enough time to go on and claim their first league win of the season. They did, however, show Eddie Howe that this team have at least something to build on.

In many ways Brighton are a case from which Newcastle’s new owners could take inspiration. The seasiders are shrewd operators off the pitch and mostly slick on it. Calmly and methodically, Graham Potter has made them difficult to beat and enjoyable to watch, which is why the mood music around the Amex Stadium since his arrival two and a half years ago has generally been the exact opposite of the bellyaching that has accompanied most matches at St James’ Park during that time.

For all that, Brighton fans have not become strangers to frustration and here they groaned as the home team wasted a stack of chances, wound up with only 10 men, and ended with a centre-back playing as goalkeeper as they clung on for a draw.

For his last game in temporary charge of his hometown club, Graeme Jones made three changes to the side that began last weekend’s 3-0 defeat by Chelsea. Newcastle’s players started as if on a mission to impress Jones’s eventual replacement and/or atone for past performances. They pressed with intensity. But it takes a lot to disrupt Brighton’s smooth passing game and the hosts enjoyed far more possession.

They also enjoyed having Tariq Lamptey back. Restored to the starting lineup for a league match for the first time since being injured 11 months ago, the wing-back showed he has lost none of his zip, quickly creating Brighton’s first chance with a run and cross that Trossard headed into the arms of Karl Darlow.

Newcastle retorted. Jacob Murphy burst down the right in Lamptey-esque fashion and swapped passes with Miguel Almirón, only to pull his shot way wide. Then another thrust from Lamptey earned the game’s first corner, which led to Shane Duffy bringing a save from Darlow.

Then, to no one’s surprise, Newcastle’s hapless streak resurfaced. Amid a scramble in the box after a corner, Trossard tricked his way past Ciaran Clark, who caught him lightly with a trailing leg and then made a half-hearted grab for his shirt. Trossard was not going to miss the opportunity to hit the ground. Nor did he miss the penalty.

After that Newcastle’s ambition seemed to be to hang in and hope they would get a chance to equalise, without being sure how to bring one about.

Early in the second half Darlow kicked away a shot by Trossard after elegant work by Joël Veltman and Lamptey. Then Marc Cucurella headed wide after a cross by Trossard, who, soon afterwards, curled a shot wide from 20 yards.

Each chance showed Brighton’s superiority but each miss stoked Newcastle’s belief that parity could be restored if they could put together a cutting attack.

They did so in the 66th minute when Matt Ritchie took a quick free-kick on the left to Allan Saint-Maximin, accepted the return pass and sent a cross beyond the back post. Clark did well to nod it back to Isaac Hayden, who kept his cool and lashed the bouncing ball into the net from the middle of the box.

Newcastle threatened to win through a late counterattack. Sánchez rushed out of his area to intercept Joelinton’s through ball but was beaten to it by Wilson, who would surely have shot into the empty net from 25 yards if the goalkeeper had not tripped him. Lewis Dunk was redeployed as an emergency goalkeeper after Sánchez’s red card but Newcastle ran out of time to test him.

“It’s easy to fracture in a situation like we’re in but the boys are together,” said Jones. “Whoever comes in will inherit a healthy football club. [The new manager] will have seen a team that added a bit more possession, a bit more control on the ball and he’ll inherit a team that off the ball is capable of pressing a brilliant Brighton team.”

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