Newcastle United 2 (Steven Taylor 35, Haris Vuckic 77)
Apologies if this report is very belated this time, however recent events concerning a certain Mr.J.Barton, and other things got in the way. However I spent quite sometime on it, so I’m going to publish it anyway, late or not!
The first news of any note was that first choice defenders, Fabricio Coloccini and the recently controversial left back, Jose Enrique wouldn’t be playing in this game. In his usual pre match bloviations, Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew, said that Newcastle would be “really threatening the goal”, however he omitted that his team would be offering an open invitation to Leeds to do the same thing. By many accounts, Fraser Forster has impressed in his loan spells at Norwich and Celtic, but he certainly didn’t when, barely five minutes into the game, he fumbled an attempt to gather a fairly innocuous ball by Leeds’s Robert Snodgrass, with the resulting spill falling straight to the feet of another Leeds player, Patrick Kisnorbo, who smashed the ball stright into the back of Newcastle’s net from point blank range. Leeds United 1 – 0 Newcastle United.
Even without the mistake, Leeds were almost certainly getting the better of their Premiership opponents in the first half hour or so of the game. A minute or two after the first goal, they were threatening again as Ross McCormack threatened with a dangerous ball into the box. Thankfully, new signing, Yohan Cabaye, playing in something of a holding mid role today, was on hand to snuff out the danger.
The Magpies did hit back occaisionally, with Gutierrez cracking off a very respectable long range effort from around 20/25 yards, which was blocked by Leeds’s Paul Conolly. Then, a Demba Ba run looked very promising. Firstly, he was blocked by Toon old boy, Andy O’Brien, only for the ball to fall once again at Ba’s feet. Looming on goal, he attempted to shoot from very close range, only to be denied by Leeds’s goal hero, the aforementioned Kisnorbo, who was in like a shot to very cleverly take the ball just as Ba was shooting.
Leeds were still on top overall though, and just after that they were threatening again as little Max Gradel actually headed the ball into the goal from an inswinging free kick, only for the effort to be rulled offside by referee, Andy Haines.
Gradually, The Magpies graually started to work their way back into the game, with some good hold up play from Ba, eventually finding Barton who set off on a marauding run to the left side of the Leeds box, crossing back to Ba who just failed to connect with the ball near the post.
Cabaye was definitely showing his set piece skill with some good corners finding Steven Taylor at the wrong end of the pitch once again. Forster did something to make up for his awful mistake in the opening minutes too with an excellent save from the impressive Gradel. Getting back to Cabaye though, it was a third excellent corner which found Steven Taylor once again. The first two were headed chances, however this one was to his right foot, with Taylor making no mistake in sterring the ball home. Leeds United 1 – 1 Newcastle United.
The last incident of note in the first half was when Leeds claimed a penalty in the dying moments of the half, claiming that Steven Taylor handled a Robert Snodgrass cross. After some consultation with the linesman, the appeal was turned down though.
As is the norm with these friendly affairs, the substitutions started with Leeds’s Leigh Bromby replacing Andy O’Brien at the beginning of the second half, and though Newcastle had worked their way back into the game somewhat, Leeds were still threatening, with some good skills from Leeds Captain, Jonny Howson, who brushes the likes of Gosling and Cabaye aside to crack off a fairly long range effort which was just wide of the Newcastle goal.
Triple substitutions were made on both sides. Leeds manager, Simon Grayson did the honours first around about the hour mark, swapping Robert Snodgrass, Ben Parker and goalscorer, Patrick Kisnorbo, for Lloyd Sam, Tom Lees and Boldizsar Bodor. Around ten minutes later, there was a veritable orgy of substitutions as both sides exchanged threesomes. For Leeds, Adam Clayton, Ross McCormack and Max Gradel were hauled off to be replaced by Billy Paynter, Ramon Nunez and Alex Mendy. For Newcastle, Pardew kept it in the family, replacing Shola Ameobi with his brother, Sammy. He also swapped striker, Leon Best, for midfielder, Dan Gosling, and finally, Haris Vuckic was brought on in place of Gutierrez.
But back to the game, which kind of settled down for a while in the opening part of the second half. Another Newcastle defensive error left us in the clarts again, as centre back, Mike Williamson allows himself to be dispossesed by sub, Lloyd Sam as he dawdles in possession on the left side, with Sam going on to put the ball through Forster’s legs for a second Leeds goal. Leeds United 2 – 1 Newcastle United.
Next, it was Newcastle’s turn to appeal for a handball, with Ryan Taylor finding Best with an excellent pass across the field, with Best’s resulting shot hitting Leigh Bromby. Once again though, the referee would have none of it. Newcastle pressed on with a very good chance just after that incident, with a great cross from Ameobi junior to Barton, whose header forced a great save from Andy Lonergan in the Leeds goal. Things were starting to look good for Newcastle once again after going down for the second Leeds goal, and eventually, the highly talented Haris Vuckic scored for the second time in two games, with Demba Ba clipping the ball back from the touchline into the path of the young Slovakian, whose resulting shot seemed to bounce over Andy Lonergan into the Leeds goal. Leeds United 2 – 2 Newcastle United.
After 79 minutes of the game had passed, Youngster, Paul Dummett trotted on to occupy the left back position as the match stood finely poised at 2-2 for the last ten minutes or so of the game. The game looked like it might be heading for a draw when a Leeds corner caused a shaky Newcastle defence problems once again. Newcastle failed to clear, with the ball being evenually fed back to Alex Mendy toward the right flank and almost on the line. He fed back a lovely chipped cross, straight on to the head of substitute, Billy Paynter, who was almost touching the left goalpost and the goal was inevitable.
It was yet another of the substitutes who almost salvaged a draw, or even a win at the death for Newcastle, with two good chances falling to Sammy Ameobi, who has impressed in his pre season friendly apperarences. The first one was set up by Leon Best, with Ameobi junior cracking off a very decent effort that was parried by Lonergan. Ameobi was to get another chance though as Newcastle regained possession and Ameobi was fed the ball once again. His effort was just wide though, and alas, it wasn’t to be. Final score: Leeds United 2 – 2 Newcastle United.
Alan Pardew’s post match bloviations:
“We gave away three really bad goals, and the first two were individual errors. The first goal in particular set the tone for a shabby performance from us. Leeds’ focus was better. We were the better team but we didn’t have the focus we needed against them today, and those mistakes cost us the result.
“Sometimes in a game like that you learn more, and I’ve learnt more about individual players today than I have all pre-season.”
“There were some positives – Cabaye was a positive – he played the holding role and you could see that, although he is a great passer, he also has defensive qualities.
“Haris came on and showed what he is about, Demba Ba was good in all he did without actually getting a goal, and Danny Simpson played well. So there were some positives.
“We need another player, we are conscious of that. I think the 11 starters that we will have against Fiorentina will be a lot stronger than today. That will be reflected.
“But we are not pitching in against a mid-table team in the first game. We are pitching in against Arsenal, who are one of the top teams in the division. We know we need to focus and make sure, so we are putting our work in.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Fraser Forster (G), Danny Simpson (Paul Dummett 79), James Tavernier, Steven Taylor, Mike Williamson, Joey Barton, Dan Gosling (Haris Vuckic 65), Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez (Leon Best 65), Shola Ameobi (Sammy Ameobi 65), Demba Ba.
Subs: Tim Krul, Paul Dummett, Ryan Taylor, Haris Vuckic, Sammy Ameobi, Leon Best.
Leeds United (4-5-1): Andy Lonergan (G), Paul Connolly, Patrick Kisnorbo (Boldizsar Bodor 59), Jonathan Howson, Andy O’Brien (Leigh Bromby 46), Ben Parker (Tom Lees 59), Max Gradel (Alex Mendy 65), Michael Brown, Adam Clayton (Billy Paynter 65), Robert Snodgrass (Lloyd Sam 59), Ross McCormack (Ramon Nunez 65).
Subs: Paul Rachubka, Billy Paynter, Leigh Bromby, Ramon Nunez, Lloyd Sam, Aidan White, Tom Lees, Alex Mendy, Boldizsar Bodor.
Referee: Andy Haines
Apologies for the rather primitive nature of the highlights, and it’s just the goals, however it’s all I could find and it’s better than nothing.