Dan Wetzel:

Soccer-Pantomime season arrives at Newcastle as ref is floored


LONDON, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Pantomime season arrived at St James' Park on Saturday as Newcastle United's 1-1 draw with Southampton in the Premier League ended in scuffles and the match referee receiving an accidental blow to the face.

Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko sent referee Mike Jones tumbling to the turf with a bloody nose after inadvertently striking him while remonstrating with a Southampton player.

Then near the final whistle a tackle by Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin on Massadio Haidara ended with the goalkeeping coaches of both clubs being sent off after an outbreak of pushing and shoving which had to be stopped by stewards.

"It was a bit of panto season at the end," said Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, who was once in charge of Southampton. "It was tense. One of the players probably didn't act in the best way. We move on."

His Southampton counterpart Mauricio Pochettino was not amused, however, having seen his goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez sent off along with Newcastle's Andy Woodman.

"I think what happened at the end of the game is not a good example. It's not good for football," the Argentine was quoted as saying by the Southampton Daily Echo.

"From our point of view we are going to try our best not to let it happen again because it's not good for anyone, not good for the sport.

"I think it is avoidable but also in a high intensity game such as that any little spark can lead to something else and I think that's what happened."

Newcastle had taken a first-half lead through Yoan Gouffran but Southampton's England hopeful Jay Rodriguez caught the eye again and finished off a flowing move after 65 minutes to earn his side a point.

The draw lifted Newcastle into sixth place on 27 points, four behind fourth-placed Everton, while Southampton are three points further back in eighth. (Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Josh Reich)

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