Newcastle 0 Albion 0

You know what Albion could do with right now?

That’s Albion as in free-flowing, enterprising, inventive and good-to-watch Albion.

They could do with a win. A goal or two. A bit of luck in the penalty area or a moment of genius.

They could do with putting away an out-of-sorts side like Newcastle or securing a landark result over Chelsea or Tottenham.

A bit more devil in the final third of the pitch. Make that the final quarter or even final fifth of the pitch.

It sounds obvious. As obvious as Steven Alzate saying his hugely assured Premier League debut at left wing-back felt the same as making his senior debut at right wing-back apart from being on the other side of the pitch.

Of course they need wins. Every team does.

But it just feels like Albion are so close and doing so much right that they need to start reaping the rewards.

There is so much which is good about the way they are playing, even with some key men ruled out, and the way they have changed in such a short period.

It could really do with being matched by results and league placing.

Okay, league placing does not count for that much after six fixtures.

It is still very early days. Not quite cup final season, despite the way this contest at St James’ Park was being built up at one stage last week. But there will be lingering doubt about how this campaign will go, no matter how good it looks, until the wins come and the football is rewarded.

Graham Potter knows that. Which is why he went home proud but disappointed.

Asked what was missing, he told The Argus: “We are disappointed because we have come away from home and it’s 0-0 and we have created some chances, some opportunities but we haven’t scored the goal which, ultimately, is the most difficult thing to do.

“The performance level is what we have to focus on and carry on improving. I think there is just a little bit of luck involved.

“We will keep working. The more you get there, the more you will develop your final-third attacking play. If you don’t get there often enough, then you are never going to get those chances.

“I don’t think Newcastle created too much either, maybe one from our mistake in the first half.

“For us to arrive so often in the final third six games in, that is important for us, especially away from home in a tough place.”

Albion’s passing made Newcastle look silly at times.

It was not just passing for its own sake. It was progressive – right up until the home penalty area.

The way they won the ball back quickly after losing it also impressed. In fact, that aspect seemed to enrage a disenchanted home support even more.

Their team were not allowed to keep the ball and therefore could not get going in a match they had built up as of great importance to their season. A breakdown in Albion’s play allowed the hosts a chance from which Maty Ryan blocked from Miguel Almiron.

The keeper was later allowed a less demanding save than he might have expected by the same player, who went for a curler after skilfully evading Dan Burn.

That was about it from the hosts, despite a flurry of excitement when Andy Carroll was sent on late.

It was easy to think Albion did not create enough given their possession. But is that fair? True, they could certainly have created more given their possession and passing. But there was still enough to have won the game.

If you keep a clean sheet, you only need one or two good openings to complete a perfect away day and the visitors had that.

The Argus:

Fabian Schar’s acrobatic clearance to scoop away Aaron Connolly’s lob after a nice pass by Pascal Gross was the closest they came.

It was mightily close, too. Half the ball was over the line but that was not quite enough. Schar did brilliantly to get back and just as well to then hook the ball away rather than help it into his own net.

The Argus:

In the first half, Neal Maupay was denied by Martin Dubravka and then by the keeper and a defender when Alzate would have loved a square pass in front of goal.

Alzate was offside – not by much but enough – when he headed home a Gross cross after a typically swift attack down the left.

Lewis Dunk’s deflected header at a near-post corner hit the top of the bar.

And there were other moments when Albion just needed a bit more precision in the penalty area from Adam Webster, Gross or Aaron Mooy, who had a good full league debut for the club but skewed a shot wide after typically clever play by Davy Propper.

Maupay and Gross fired too high in the second half and the returning Yves Bissouma tested Dubravka low to his left. A solid defensive display ensured Carroll’s introduction did not help Newcastle nick a winner during their late rally.

“I suppose disappointed with the result but proud of the performance,” Potter said when asked what his reflections would be on the way home.

“Proud of the players’ courage, proud of their quality but at the same time understanding there is wok to do. We need to carry on improving.”

The stats in terms of shots on target, along with Steve Bruce’s comment that Newcastle have more points than at this stage last year and at least didn’t lose at home to Albion this time, paint a picture of sorts.

But 43,000 people at St James’ Park knew and understood what they had seen.

It should have been an away win.