YOAN Gouffran’s sixth goal of the season wasn’t enough for Newcastle United to take all three points this afternoon.
Gouffran struck for the fourth successive home game to give Alan Pardew’s side a first-half lead at St James’s Park.
But Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez levelled in the 65th minute to claim a point for Pardew’s former club.
The game was marred by a fracas between the two benches late in the game after Morgan Schneiderlin fouled Newcastle substitute Massadio Haidara.
The result saw United move above Tottenham Hotspur and into sixth place in the Premier League ahead of tomorrow’s games.
Newcastle, without the suspended Yohan Cabaye, made a positive start, and Mathieu Debuchy wasn’t far away with a 25-yard volley from a Vurnon Anita corner in the fifth minute.
Loic Remy had a shot stopped on the line in the 12th minute after Gouffran, playing on the right side of midfield, pulled the ball back from the byline, and Anita’s follow-up effort was wide of Paulo Gazzaniga’s goal.
United’s breakthrough came as the half-hour mark approached.
Debuchy floated in a free-kick from the halfway line, and Mike Williamson headed the ball down. Southampton defender Jos Hooiveld couldn’t stop it reaching Gouffran, who calmly rounded Gazzaniga and rolled the ball into the empty net.
Gouffran’s strike followed his recent home efforts against West Bromwich Albion, Norwich City and Chelsea.
Newcastle pressed for a second goal - Moussa Sissoko caught the eye with a series of powerful runs forward - and Anita showed some delightful close control when he skipped into the box, but his low cross was cleared.
And Pardew’s side couldn’t add to their advantage before the break.
Papiss Demba Cisse repalced Shola Ameobi, recalled to the team in Cabaye’s absence after starting last weekend’s win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on the bench, in the 61st minute.
Southampton’s Steven Davis struck the post with a fine volley from distance.
And their breakthrough wasn’t long in coming.
Adam Lallana, on for the second half, won the ball with a challenge on the halfway line, and Jay Rodriguez broke forward.
Rodriguez passed the ball to Davis and continued his run to the box. The England international was there to meet Davis’s cross at the far post to equalise.
In the minutes after the goal United found themselves on the back foot, though Remy somehow missed the target at the other end of the pitch after Newcastle quickly broke forward.
Pardew replaced Gouffran with Hatem Ben Arfa for the last 17 minutes, and Haidara, on for Davide Santon at left back, followed him on to the field.
Ben Arfa helped United retake the initiative, but United couldn’t conjure up a late winner.
And stewards had to intervene after the staff from the two teams confronted each other after a late challenge from Schneiderlin, who was shown a yellow card by Mike Jones.
Newcastle are next in action on December 21 when they take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon (Haidara, 78); Sissoko, Anita, Tiote, Gouffran (Ben Arfa, 73); Shola Ameobi (Cisse, 61), Remy. Subs not used: Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi.
SOUTHAMPTON: Gazzaniga, Chambers, Lovren, Hooiveld, Shaw, Cork, S. Davis, Ward-Prowse (Schneiderlin, 46), Rodriguez, Lambert, Osvaldo (Lallana, 46). Subs not used: Cropper, Yoshida, Fonte, Ramirez, Gallagher.
Goals: Gouffran 27, Rodriguez 65
Bookings: Cork 64, Schneiderlin 90
Referee: Mike Jones (Chester)
Attendance: 49,164 (1,200 Southampton)