Papiss Cisse netted in either half, the first a simple tap-in after a Moussa Sissoko cut-back before flicking home Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s whipped cross into the six-yard box only to be denied by the assistant referee’s flag.
Alan Pardew made just three changes from the team which lost 2-1 at Tottenham as Gabriel Obertan and Yanga-Mbiwa for the cup-tied pair of Yoan Gouffran and Mathieu Debuchy, while Cheikh Tiote replaced James Perch. For Metalist, it was their first competitive game since losing 1-0 to Rapid Wien in December.
After a tame opening 15 minutes of football threatening to spark into life, the best chance of the half fell Newcastle's way. Sissoko quickly switched flanks with Obertan to allow the winger to skip towards the edge of the area, dummy one challenge and drill a low drive the wrong side of Olexandr Goryainov’s right-hand post.
And Newcastle built on that momentum and hand the ball in the back of the net soon after when Sissoko darted onto Davide Santon’s ball over the defence, sprinted into the area and laid the ball back for Cisse to slot home - only for the assistant referee’s late, and incorrect, flag to cut celebrations short.
Despite the Ukrainian outfit looking dangerous on the counterattack, Newcastle were struggling to make their dominance count as Cisse struck the ball straight at Goryainov before a mix-up in defence between Marco Torsiglieri and Cristian Villagra allowed Obertan and the Senegalese striker instinctive weak shots at goal that the keeper collected with ease.
Metalist started the second half on a much more positive note than the first, with Vinicius Fininho pouncing on hesitation by Yohan Cabaye to slip Jonathan Cristaldo free into the area, but the striker lashed his right-footed shot on the angle over Tim Krul’s bar.
Newcastle, on the other hand, for all their hustle and bustle seemed to regress into the team English fans would have been used to seeing for the majority of the Premier League campaign as their play started to be littered with misplaced passes and pot-shots from the edge of the box.
Sylvain Marveaux was introduced to bring more impetus to Newcastle, and the 26-year-old immediately lifted his team with a tricky run down the left and lay-off to Cisse who shot straight at the keeper from 10 yards out.
And minutes later Marveaux took advantage of sloppy passing in the visitors’ defence to run through on goal, but Goryainov was quick on his line to smother the danger.
Newcastle continued their charge and had the ball in the back of the net with 15 minutes remaining when Yanga-Mbiwa whipped in a fine cross for Cisse to toe-poke in off the far post, only to be incorrectly offside yet again.
There was just enough time left for another heart-in-mouth moment for Newcastle fans when Willian fell under a challenge from Gutierrez inside the area, only for the referee to book the attacker for simulation to sum up a game a frustration for both sides.