Relieved Newcastle boss Eddie Howe was delighted to see Harvey Barnes return to action with a bang as he came off the bench to snatch a thrilling 4-4 draw with Luton for the Magpies.
Barnes, who had been out of action since September 24 with a toe injury, was introduced as a 63rd-minute substitute with his side trailing 4-2 to the promoted Hatters having led 1-0 and 2-1, and it was his strike 10 minutes later which ensured the spoils were shared.
Asked about his £38million summer signing, head coach Howe said: “That’s what Harvey does, that’s why we brought him to the football club.
“Unfortunately, he’s missed such a big part of the season and it’s huge to get him back I thought it was an incredible finish off his wrong foot, a really, really good goal and I think he had another chance late on as well, so I was really pleased with his impact.”
In a chaotic encounter, Sean Longstaff twice fired the Magpies ahead only for Gabriel Osho and then Ross Barkley, who turned in a fine individual display, to level before the break.
Carlton Morris’ twice-taken penalty saw the visitors go ahead for the first time and when Elijah Adebayo made it 4-2 in the 62nd minute, they looked to be on the way to another impressive win after their 4-0 midweek success over Brighton.
Howe, who lost Anthony Gordon to an ankle injury, said: “With the way we started, I thought this could be a really memorable game for us. But credit to Luton, they responded really well and made it difficult for us.
“It was a really open game, with two teams going right at each other. It was probably a great game for the neutral, but not so much if you’re associated to us because there was a huge determination to win, and we’re disappointed not to.”
Opposite number Rob Edwards shared similarly conflicting feelings on a day when his side once again proved its top-flight credentials.
“But I’ve got to respect the opposition and the level of the team, the quality of the players that we were coming up against, once they’d got that third goal back, there as still a lot of time on the clock wasn’t there and the almost inevitable happened and they got the equaliser.
“What I was pleased with was our character, our resilience and then actually some quality to keep it at 4-4 and keep pushing.
“I felt sick at times, I felt elation at times. I felt really proud watching my team play and overall, I think a point was a fair result.”