It shows just how important Matt Ritchie has become to Newcastle’s fortunes that, when he struggles, the entire team lack inspiration.
The 28-year-old had been excellent in all three of the Magpies’ consecutive victories, providing four assists and general match-winning class.
His never-say-die attitude and relentless workrate is infectious; it rubs off on his team-mates.
However, at the Amex, his excellent form deserted him - as it did for many of the Magpies’ best performers so far this term.
Ritchie’s endeavour was as high as ever, but his accuracy was missing on the south coast. His set pieces - which have been so deadly in recent weeks - were poor, while his decision-making saw him choose the wrong option in attack and squander a couple of decent openings for United.
This is by no means to criticise Ritchie, however. This was just a disappointing day - he is more than justified one given how many positive outings he has had for Newcastle since joining little more than a year ago.
But what is worrying is that, when Ritchie doesn’t provide the inspiration, United seem to lack ingenuity.