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Both sides played skirmishing, attacking football from the start, the first chance falling to the visitors in the third minute when Mohamed Diame blasted an effort wide of the goal.
The Magpies, currently languishing at the bottom of the Premier League, were arguably the more threatening of the two sides, as Remy Cabella was sent clean through after a fine Moussa Sissoko through-ball, but the Frenchman's resulting shot was weak.
Yoann Gouffran was the next Newcastle player to threaten two minutes later with a header, with McGregor again thwarting his opposition.
Ultimately, lack of cutting edge from both sides ensured that the first half ended goalless.