Main Page

Quick Links

The Rest
   Club info
   Last Season
   Unlikely Lads
   A-Z Index



Season 2003-04
Everton  (h) Premier Reserve League
Monday 26th January 2004, 7pm

Venue: Whitley Park

not too windy but cold enough

3 admission, teamsheet only.

Newcastle United Reserves

0 - 0 Everton

We said

Tommy Craig said of the returning Bellamy:

"He's tired, as he should be. He got through a pile of work. It was heavy going but for his first game back he did ever so well, particularly in the first half. If he can get another game under his belt he could be ready for the gaffer.

"We could have scored six in the first half and we played very well. Craig Bellamy had a host of chances, I counted at least six shots. But the longer the game went on I thought Everton dug in very, very well."

The lad himself commented:

"It was a tough match but I played the full 90 minutes and it was good to be back. The conditions were difficult but I was OK.

"Twisting and turning is my game and that's what last night was all about. Birmingham City on Saturday is maybe too early, but I came through with no problems."


Craig Bellamy made his return to competitive action by getting a full 90 minutes under his belt at Whitley Park on Monday evening in what will doubtless be referred to as a "good workout".

The Welsh striker looked in good nick after his three month absence and tested the visiting goalkeeper with a run and shot on 10 minutes, before turning provider with a cross from the right that Ambrose got on target midway through the half, only for the 'keeper to make a one-handed diving stop.

Further efforts from Orr, Viana, Chopra and Bellamy again followed as the home side dominated against their less experienced opponents and when they did get upfield found their attacks ended by some "keen tackling" from Bramble and Elliott.

However after a bright but goalless first half, things were drab and half-hearted after the interval as the game petered out into a dull scoreless encounter,

A heavy rain shower 30 minutes before kick-off had put the game in doubt and although there was no standing water on the pitch, a further downpour could have forced the referee to abandon it.

As it was, there were only sporadic wintry showers and the pitch remained playable, if a little churned up in midfield and at the Darsley Park end that Newcastle attacked in the second half.

For the watching fans though things were rather uncomfortable, with the small stand being reserved for media, scouts and club officials, leaving only a covered standing area stuck away on one corner to protect the rank and file from the elements.

With only limited car parking, catering facilities and queues at the single entrance, it's clear that in it's current form at least, Whitley Park is unsuitable as anything more than a stopgap measure for hosting Premier reserve league games.

In a way, the rotten weather aided Newcastle, as it sliced a sizeable number off the crowd that would have undoubtedly turned out for Bellamy's return - and created further congestion and difficulties.  

Alan Shearer was in the stand watching his strike partner begin his comeback, while former toon coach and caretaker manager Bobby Saxton was also spotted at the game as was, as usual, Sir Bobby Robson.



Page last updated 26 January, 2012