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Season 2017-18
Crewe Alexandra (a) Checkatrade Trophy Group D


Tuesday August 29th 2017, 7.30pm 

 Gresty Road

Conditions: Pleasant

Admission: £10 adults - away section tickets bought from nearby box office.

Programme: £1.50 for a folded poster


Crewe Alexandra

Newcastle U21s

  1 - 2





4 mins Liam Smith shot 1-0

Half time: Alex 0 Magpies 1

68 mins
Nolan own goal 2-0

88 mins
Jordan Bowery shot 2-1

Full time: Alex 1 Magpies 2

We said

Peter Beardsley:

"It’s a great experience for them – that’s why we’ve entered this year. 

"As I’ve told a lot of people, we didn’t enter last year because the priority was the first team – for the first team to get promoted – and we’re all delighted by that, but I think we’re now on a more stable footing as a club.

"We have the option of more senior players at the moment. Last year, we lost a lot more than we have so far. We may still lose some of these, but we’ve had a great start, and tonight was a brilliant opportunity for them to play against men, in a lot of cases.

"As I said to their staff, who were really good – really fair, honest and genuine – it was a different type of game tonight. The next two
(Oldham and Port Vale) might not be as accommodating.

To be fair to Crewe, they tried to play football. They are unbeaten in the league but they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup, so – cup-wise – maybe it isn’t a priority. But, they had seven of their starting line-up from the weekend playing tonight, so overall, it’s a very good performance and a very good result.

(Nelson, physiotherapist) and Si (Tweddle, fitness coach) have got Callum Roberts and Victor Fernandez back up to speed – Cal got an hour, Victor got 45 – so everything worked perfectly in that sense.

(Harker) dropped out midway through the warm-up, so Chris (Terpcou, goalkeeping coach) had to deal with that. There are a lot of other good people, too, and it’s great for everybody when you get a result.

“They’ve got a bit of a break now, and they’ll be very tired because they’ve had four away games in a row and a lot of travelling to do. But, the bigger picture is that they will be playing at St. James’  in a couple of weeks, and as I keep saying, that’s something money can’t buy.”

They said

Crewe's Rotherham-born boss David Artell (who is a former Gibraltar international) commented:

"We were beaten by the better team on the night. 

"I am not going to dress it up - they were better than us and were crisper with their passing and movement. They were more diligent in their work. They played at a better tempo than us and those micro seconds all over the pitch manifests into chances.

“We huffed and puffed but I didn’t think we deserved anything from the game. That is not being defeatist. It is realism from what I saw and believe.

“Make no mistake, they were a good side. They will be alright those lads.

"It is not all doom and gloom though. There were some positives. Jordan got a goal. Owen was impressive when he came on and Pickering was good. I am not too despondent and we roll on to Saturday.

"We had to wrap up a few in cotton wool because we have a few carrying knocks, so we will have to assess things and go again."


This was United's second-ever visit to Gresty Road, following a 4-3 League Cup victory back in September 1991 that attracted 4,251 fans.

The ground has been re-modelled massively since that night, when the Newcastle contingent were housed on the uncovered Gresty Road terrace behind one goal. Covered seating has been added at both ends, while the East Stand where away fans are now located was converted from standing.

Entering the CheckaTrade Trophy for the first time, Newcastle were placed in Group D along with Crewe, Oldham Athletic and Port Vale - with all three of our games played away from home.

With this being a senior team competition - and the U21 sides of Category A Academies like United guesting - individual squad numbers were required by both sides. 

That was fine for the home side, but almost all of the Toon lads needed to be allocated numbers and have shirts with them and their names emblazoned on them. Perhaps the additional expense will be deducted from the £10,000 prize money for winning tonight...

In squad numbers only, here's our lineup: 

NUFC: 28, 42 (71), 38, 52, 47, 46, 35, 51 (65), 48, 66 (63), 55. Subs n/u: 62, 59, 61, 67. 





Newcastle made their bow in the CheckaTrade Trophy - the latest incarnation of a competition founded back in 1983 - against League Two side Crewe at Gresty Road on Tuesday evening.

Beginning their league season with a trio of away games, Peter Beardsley's side had recorded victories over their Stoke and West Brom counterparts before losing to Boro last Friday.

Tonight though was all rather different: playing against a Football League side who made just four changes from that which had beaten Port Vale the previous weekend. A contingent of away fans were in attendance to see whether Newcastle's talent would prevail or they'd be caught out.

The occasion seemed to invigorate the black and whites and they attacked with some imagination and defended without fuss - occasionally over-elaborating at the wrong end of the field but getting away with it for the most part. 

This was a million miles away from the non-event of a reserve game behind closed doors on a windy training ground - something that the football authorities are belatedly waking up to.  

Goalscorer Luke Charman commented that he'd got a kick out of seeing his name (and bizarre squad number) on his shirt and if nothing else, facing real professionals may have been a wake-up call, especially if any of our lot googled to see how many former Academy players they actually faced.   

Newcastle's squad may have pretensions at hitting the big time, but the reality is that declining numbers of our reserve players actually end up playing in the Football League after the dream of becoming the darling of the Gallowgate End fades. 

One player familiar with his surroundings was Macaulay Gillesphey, who played here while on loan at Carlisle back in December and the defender gave an assured display that may soon see him going back out on loan to a level higher than League Two.

Someone else with a point to prove was midfielder Liam Smith, playing as a number 10 following his latest comeback from injury against a side he joined on loan a year ago - only to return without playing a competitive senior game for Crewe after due to problems. 

Smith it was who gave United a fourth minute lead with a perfectly-judged effort at the Gresty Road End after taking a pass from Victor Fernandez. Crewe almost levelled soon after, but a stinging effort from distance by home-grown prospect George Cooper dipped wide.

Dan Barlaser then almost emulated Smith's effort from further out but his ended up on the roof of the net after 25 minutes. A second Newcastle goal looked likely and a neat dinked ball by Callum Roberts set up Charman but his header went agonisingly wide ten minutes before half time.

Crewe did force the ball past Paul Woolston (a late replacement for Nathan Harker) shortly before the interval, but it was ruled out for an earlier offside flag.

United rang the changes midway through the second half when Mo Sangare replaced the aimless Roberts and within a minute his first touch saw him swing in a centre that Charman forced home with home player Eddie Nolan getting the last touch.

A third Magpies goal looked as likely as a home response, with Smith twice close to netting his second of the night.

Woolston then made a point blank save from Nolan on 83 minutes to preserve his side's two goal lead but The Alex belatedly made a game of it with two minutes remaining, Jordan Bowery almost on the goal line as he knocked home a low cross from the left flank.

United survived a big penalty appeal in an added time as the ball pinged around the area but nothing was given by referee Robert Jones and Newcastle collected three points for their efforts.

Had that been given and converted to tie the game, then both sides would have been awarded one point, with no extra time played. Instead, a further bonus point would have been awarded to the winners of a penalty shootout that was then staged under the new ABBA system.

That's how the other Group D tie concluded on Tuesday night, with Port Vale and Oldham Athletic playing out a goalless draw at Vale Park. The Valiants then won the shootout 4-2.

Remaining Group D fixtures:

03.10.2017 Crewe v Oldham
03.10.2017 Port Vale v NUFC
07.11.2017 Oldham v NUFC
07.11.2017 Port Vale v Crewe


Page last updated 05 September, 2017