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Di Matteo rues Newcastle's 'Premier' class as Baggies blow lead

WEST BROM boss Roberto di Matteo was left to bemoan Newcastle's Premier League quality as the Magpies survived a major test of their promotion credentials.

The Italian saw his team turn in a fine display of counter-attacking football at St James' Park to push the Championship leaders all the way, but ultimately leave Tyneside with just a point to show for their efforts.

A 2-2 draw left Newcastle three points clear of second-placed Nottingham Forest and six ahead of the Baggies with Billy Davies' men having played a game more than their closest rivals.

Asked how the result left the title race, Di Matteo said: "It's a strange league, so I expect other teams to be in the mix as well -- Swansea, Leicester, Cardiff, I think Sheffield United will have something to say as well.

Newcastle, you see they have the edge over everybody else with the strong squad they have and the players they have in their team.

"You look at their players and it's Premier League all over, isn't it?"

It was Peter Lovenkrands who ensured Newcastle's unbeaten home record this season remained intact with a 54th-minute equaliser which he later dedicated to his late father Bent, who died on Friday.

It was the second time the Magpies had to come from behind in the game after Danny Guthrie's 25th-minute free-kick had cancelled out Jonas Olsson's 13th-minute opener.

Roman Bednar headed the visitors back in front within seconds of the restart, before Lovenkrands' leveller.