Newcastle United drew 0-0 at home to Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League, in a game which saw both sides struggle to convert their chances into goals.
The game got off to a steady start, with both sides taking time to assess the approach their opposition would take in the early stages of the match. The first chance went to the hosts in the 12th minute, as Matt Ritchie finished off a surging run by whipping a ball into the box - Dwight Gayle was denied by Brighton stopper Mathew Ryan - who punched the ball out of danger.
Brighton began to find a foothold in the game, and started to take the game to their opponents.
Mikel Merino hit a stunning, long-range pass through the heart of the Brighton defence, releasing Gayle in the penalty area. With the angle tight, Gayle was only able to fire a ball across the face of goal, which Ryan smothered before Joselu could capitalise.
In the 25th minute, Matt Ritchie's poor clearance set up Davy Pröpper on the edge of area - who turned away from a pack of Newcastle defenders before seeing his firmly struck shot comfortable held by Magpie's stopper Karl Darlow.
Shortly after, Shane Duffy blazed a shot over from inside the box, after Newcastle struggled to clear Anthony Knockaert's corner.
Joselu might have broken the deadlock after picking his way around the edge of the Brighton area, before firing a low show that whistled just wide of Ryan's far post from 20 yards. The sides went into half-time level, with neither team able to break the deadlock.
In the 48th minute, Dwight Gayle saw a deflected shot draw a stunning save from Ryan, as the ball bounced off Lewis Dunk for close-range forcing the keeper to turn the ball around the post. Jamaal Lascelles saw his header flash wide from the subsequent corner. The St James' Park crowd responded excitedly, having expressed their frustrations with their side in the first half.
Brighton had a chance to open with scoring but Pascal Groß's sweetly struck free-kick was held comfortably by Darlow.
It was in the 57th minute that Newcastle had their best chance of the match with Christian Atsu's tantalising cross onto the head of Dwight Gayle, which drew a stunning, one-handed save from Ryan from seven yards out.
Brighton had their own golden opportunity in the 67th minute. Groß's corner was nodded down by Duffy, but Dunk's close-range header was straight at Darlow - who palmed the ball away to safety. Newcastle thought they should have had a penalty in the 75th minute, as Merino was bundled over in the Brighton by Bruno. The referee was unmoved, claiming Merino had fallen.
The game stuttered out to an unsatisfying draw, with neither side showing the kind of composure in-front of goal needed at the Premier League level.
The Magpies will look to grab a win against fellow strugglers Stoke City on New Year's Day, while Brighton host Eddie Howe's plucky Bournemouth side.