* Newcastle frustrated in a goalless draw against Brighton
* Brighton goalkeeper Mathew Ryan tipped Isaac Hayden’s deflected shot wide
* Karl Darlow saved Brighton midfielder Davy Propper’s freekick in the 54th minute
* Dwight Gayle’s close-range headed effort forced Ryan to make a diving save in the 58th
* Newcastle failed to score for the fourth time in December
* Newcastle visit Stoke City next, Brighton host Bournemouth
Dec 30 (Reuters) - Newcastle United continue to struggle in front of goal as they were held to a goalless draw by Brighton and Hove Albion in a scrappy Premier League encounter at St James’ Park on Saturday.
After an uneventful first half, Newcastle came closest to scoring when midfielder Isaac Hayden’s deflected strike from the edge of the box forced a stunning fingertip save from Brighton goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.
Ryan was again called into action, with another diving save, to keep striker Dwight Gayle’s headed effort away from goal.
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez introduced Ayoze Perez and Jacob Murphy to freshen up their attack but lack of clear-cut opportunities meant the hosts failed to score for the fourth time in seven matches this month. (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)