Newcastle United took on Manchester City looking to bounce back after their defeat at Brentford but there was no shock result.
Whether Newcastle United and Steve Bruce will take much encouragement from this remains to be seen.
The Magpies avoided a drubbing in the teeming rain and their goal difference wasn’t dented but the agony for Bruce goes on.
Despite the chilly winter conditions Toon boss and his staff are feeling the heat in the dugout.
And despite stating that criticism was justified after Brentford, Bruce then said before the game the reaction had been dramatic.
It would later emerge that the aftermath of the 1-0 loss to a weakened Championship side has been a bitter pill to swallow for Bruce and his back-room team.
Yet the sheer look of relief after this one summed up just where Newcastle are these days. Is simply avoiding a heavy defeat now worthy of praise?
The reality is Newcastle never looked like getting anything against a Man City side playing in second gear.
Man City grabbed the lead on a rain-soaked night with their first real attack of the contest as Newcastle looked helpless to stop them.
A well-worked City move saw them work the ball into the box with Raheem Sterling getting free down the right before the England star shaped to shoot before rolling it calmly to Ilkay Gundogan who applied the finish with five United players standing like statues in the box.
On 20 minutes a looping cross from Kevin De Bruyne almost caught Karl Darlow but in the end, he did well to push it away to safety in a nervous moment for the Magpies.
Newcastle survived an injury scare on 22 minutes when Republic of Ireland international Ciaran Clark clashed heads with John Stones.
But after treatment, he got back to his feet in what would have been a real blow for United.
Seconds later, City broke again with Ferran Torres bearing the down on the United penalty area with Sterling screaming for the ball.
Torres elected to shoot but Darlow gathered low down to deny the £21million signing from La Liga side Valencia.
Newcastle put together a rare attack when Miguel Almiron crossed from the left but Joelinton’s header was well wide of the target on 41 minutes.
The Magpies had more pressure towards the end of the first half but lacked any real bite and left the field for the interval without producing a shot on target.
United, unsurprisingly, had just 25% possession as City dominated proceedings during the first half at the Etihad Stadium.
The Magpies thought they’d made an early break in the opening minutes of the second half.
But after Jacob Murphy won possession he could only lose his boot and the move broke down.
With 52 minutes gone Murphy was played in by Almiron and this time he found a way into the box only for Ederson to gather low down.
The tame effort proved to be Newcastle’s first shot on target of the night. However, City doubled their lead on 55 minutes when Fernandez cleared poorly before the ball was played back in, only for the Argentina international to then gently nudge the ball back into the path of Torres who gratefully accepted the gift.
It was a soft goal from United’s point of view but in keeping with their lack of quality in recent games.
City came close to finding a third when Joao Cancelo’s ball found Sterling before United scrambled clear but Bernardo Silva’s follow up bounced off the upright and the Magpies escaped punishment.
In a bid to respond, Newcastle won a corner with Ritchie curling the ball but City cleared with ease.
The ball was worked back to Murphy but the winger’s shot was over the bar and never really troubling Ederson.
Bruce’s first change of the evening came on 65 minutes when Ritchie was replaced by Northern Ireland international Jamal Lewis.
Ritchie trudged the long way round the field at Eastlands but didn’t not require treatment.
Bruce made a second change minutes later as Joelinton went off clutching his back.
Andy Carroll was the man sent on to the field 10 years on since his last goal for the black and whites.
Man City flexed their muscle when they threw on Sergio Aguero for the closing stages as he replaced Torres.
But Newcastle had the next chance when Murphy hammered in a low shot and forced Ederson into a low save.
Unfortunately, after the ball had been parried out by the Brazilian nobody followed up.
It was Darlow who was back in the action with nine minutes left as he somehow denied Aguero from close range.
Almiron was replaced by Dwight Gayle for the last eight minutes against the 2019 Premier League champions.
Newcastle couldn’t find a way through and left the field seemingly relieved to have kept the score down