On a day when both sides came together to honour Sir Bobby Robson on the anniversary of his passing, ‘courage’ should have been a key word for the day, given the nature of the man who managed both sides with such distinction and who battled his foe to the end with such dignity.
And to some degree both sides showed their own levels of courage in today’s game. PSV came out with a plan to play football and attack and did so with style. Newcastle struggled first half but ultimately showed the resolute approach and the ruthless streak of last season by getting themselves back into the game to see out a 2-2 draw.
But when Ola Toivonen was fouled outside the box by new boy James Perch on ten minutes, his resulting free kick was despatched into the top corned with aplomb. And when, half an hour later Balazs Dzsudzsak picked the ball up outside the box and delivered a thundering strike past the hapless Steve Harper, the home fans could have been forgiven for fearing a rout.
Yet despite being outclassed for the first half, Newcastle made a good start to the second and were quick to reduce the deficit on 51 minutes, when James Perch powered into the box and his cross shot was only parried into the path of Ryan Taylor, who fired in from close range to make it 2-1.
Goalscorer turned provider some twenty minutes later, when Ryan Taylor delivered a free kick into the box and Leon Best glanced a diving header past the keeper to equalise.
Hughton may feel the first half provided more questions than answers in terms of squad sharpness and options. But the second half at least provided evidence that the attitudes are still good within the squad and the overall fitness is more or less there.