Match ends, Newcastle United 1, Watford 1.
Will Hughes' early goal helped Watford secure their first Premier League point of the season with a battling draw at Newcastle.
The Hornets stay bottom of the table but a spirited performance at St James' Park ended a run of three consecutive defeats at the start of the new campaign.
In a game of few clear-cut chances, Hughes steered the opening goal into the bottom left corner from 10 yards after just 78 seconds following a deflected Tom Cleverley shot.
Defender Fabian Schar equalised four minutes before the break, guiding a 10-yard left-foot shot past Ben Foster after the ball fell into his path from Isaac Hayden's knockdown.
The point lifts Steve Bruce's Newcastle up to 14th in the table going into the international break.
Watford's revamped approach
After a barren start to the season in which his side had conceded seven times, Watford manager Javi Gracia adjusted both the shape and personnel of the team for their trip to the north east.
Gerard Deulofeu - Gracia's most creative player in their defeat by West Ham - was consigned to the substitutes' bench as the Hornets fielded three central defenders.
And, while that conservative approach was far from easy on the eye at times, Watford did at least appear disciplined in executing Gracia's gameplan.
Sitting deep for long periods, the visitors looked content to concede possession in front of them and counter quickly.
All three of their shots on target came in that manner and the approach nearly provided them with the cushion of a second goal before Newcastle equalised - Kiko curling a right-foot shot just over the bar, and Andre Gray failing to hit the target from close range after being found expertly by Roberto Pereyra.
Newcastle lack sparkle
With injury depriving Bruce of first-choice wingers Allan Saint-Maximin and Matt Ritchie, the hosts toiled for significant periods.
And their performance did little to enthuse the 44,157 crowd, which was well below last season's average of 51,121.
Sean Longstaff's distribution from central midfield was errant throughout - his passing accuracy was below 80% - while Christian Atsu, who impressed at Tottenham, and Miguel Almiron were initially on the periphery.
It was a performance devoid of sparkle, though they did improve after taking an old-fashioned route to their equalising goal, which came with their first shot on target.
Swedish full-back Emil Krafth's lofted ball into the Watford penalty area found its way to Schar, and his goal galvanised his side.
Hayden's rasping drive forced Foster into a superb saved after the break, and substitute Yoshinori Muto and Schar also had chances to grab all three points.
Man of the match - Tom Cleverley (Watford)
'I live under pressure' - what they said
Watford manager Javi Gracia speaking to BBC Match of the Day: "After scoring the first goal and dominating they score at the end of the half and we suffered in the second half.
"I think it's a good point. I live under pressure. It's my job. We try to always do our best, work hard, change the dynamic and look to the next game to get the victory for us. I think the supporters want to win."
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce speaking to BBC Match of the Day: "We are disappointed we didn't nick it in the end because we had a couple of really good chances in the second half. We had a 15-20-minute spell where we looked likely to score and unfortunately we didn't take the big opportunities.
"Considering we were 1-0 down after a minute, I thought we responded in the right way."
On the Magpies start to the season: "It's probably level par especially when you think we've had Tottenham and Arsenal in there. You would accept it. We had a wonderful opportunity to get six (points) today. We've had a really good week. We played well last week and in midweek and did enough to win the game today."
Newcastle's recovery act - the stats
- Newcastle have lost two of their 10 top-flight home games against Watford (W5 D3).
- Watford are without a win in eight Premier League matches (D2 L6), their longest streak since an 11-game run between November 2006 and January 2007.
- Watford have picked up just one point from their opening four Premier League games, their lowest tally at this stage of a season since 2006-07 (also one), when they were relegated under Aidy Boothroyd.
- Since the start of 2019, Newcastle have won seven points from losing positions at St James' Park in the Premier League; only Tottenham and West Ham (both eight) have recovered more after going behind on home soil this year.
- Hughes' opener was Watford's second fastest goal in the Premier League - Etienne Capoue scored after 32 seconds against Leicester in November 2016.
- Newcastle are the first side Hughes has scored more than one Premier League goal against, with both of his goals in the competition against the Magpies coming at St. James' Park (the first was in November 2017)
- Since the start of 2019, Schar has scored five Premier League goals, more than any other current Newcastle player. Four of those have come at St. James' Park.
Newcastle's next Premier League match is on Saturday, 14 September when they travel to Anfield to face Liverpool (12:30 BST). Watford resume their Premier League duties on Sunday, 15 September when they host Arsenal (16:30 BST).
- 17KrafthSubstituted forManquilloat 78'minutes
- 5SchärSubstituted forFernandezat 85'minutes
- 3DummettBooked at 44mins
- 14HaydenBooked at 31mins
- 36S Longstaff
- 30AtsuSubstituted forMutoat 82'minutes
- 4Ki Sung-yueng
- 4DawsonBooked at 44mins
- 15CathcartBooked at 55mins
- 16DoucouréBooked at 29minsSubstituted forChalobahat 71'minutes
- 19HughesSubstituted forSuccessat 71'minutes
- 18GraySubstituted forDeulofeuat 82'minutes
- Graham Scott
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Newcastle United 1, Watford 1.
Foul by Tom Cleverley (Watford).
Sean Longstaff (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kiko Femenía (Watford).
Miguel Almirón (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match because of an injury Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United).
Attempt missed. Yoshinori Muto (Newcastle United) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Joelinton following a fast break.
Attempt blocked. Daryl Janmaat (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Roberto Pereyra.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Martin Dubravka.
Attempt saved. Roberto Pereyra (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Isaac Success.
Substitution, Newcastle United. Federico Fernández replaces Fabian Schär.
Attempt blocked. Tom Cleverley (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Newcastle United. Conceded by Craig Dawson.
Substitution, Watford. Gerard Deulofeu replaces Andre Gray.
Substitution, Newcastle United. Yoshinori Muto replaces Christian Atsu.
Offside, Newcastle United. Jamaal Lascelles tries a through ball, but Miguel Almirón is caught offside.
Foul by Craig Dawson (Watford).
Joelinton (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.