Chelsea (h) Premier Reserve League
Lukaku penalty 0-1
Coach Willie Donachie told the Chronicle:
"Nile could be a really good player if his attitude was good. He has still got a lot of growing up to do. He has a lot going for him. Nile is so privileged to be playing for Newcastle. Everybody in Newcastle would give their right arm to be doing what heís doing.
"He is gifted with a physique and speed that if you werenít born with it, you canít give to somebody.
"It can be very frustrating because some of the other lads who are leaving have a spot on attitude. Unfortunately they havenít got his gifts. If he gets a bit of their attitude, he could be a hell of a player.Ē
3,700 fans had watched Chelsea win by the odd goal in five when these sides last met at St. James' Park in 2010, but barely a tenth of that crowd made their way to Whitley Park on a clear but cool Tuesday evening.
Those who did make the effort though were rewarded with a game several levels above the desperately drab nil nil draw against Blackburn at the same venue last week.
Much attention was centred on the return of Nile Ranger from injury, the striker managing to fit in a game between his hectic round of court appearances (in court on the morning of this game to admit a charge of breaking his city centre curfew the previous night, and then back in the dock the day after this game to admit drunk and disorderly charges).
It was Chelsea's centre forward Lukaku who struck first however, the Belgian international putting his side ahead from the penalty spot on 17 minutes after United 'keeper Jak Alnwick had needlessly fouled the scorer.
Midway through the first half, the reactions and pace of Ranger allowed him to dispossess George Saville and hare goalwards, only to lose out to Jamal Blackman by trying to dribble round the visiting 'keeper rather than shoot.
Ranger did rather better five minutes later though, teeing up Ryan Donaldson to firmly fire home for 1-1. Once again though the Magpies would gift Chelsea the lead, Nathaniel Chalobah left unattended at the back post to head in Billy Clifford's 39th minute corner.
Two minutes of inattentiveness then cost United dear in the second half; Todd Kane's counter-attack down the Chelsea right ending with him pulling the ball back for Clifford to beat Alnwick on 55 minutes - the scorer revealed before kick-off to have escaped with a fine after bringing a smoke grenade to a recent Chelsea training session (Jacob Mellis, the player who detonated it in the dressing room has been, erm.... blown out by the Blues)
And although Jeff Henderson's sliding clearance off his own goal line denied Patrick Bamford, the Blues made it 4-1 just seconds later when Lukaku again dispatched a low drive with a minimum of fuss.
Perhaps sensing the job was done, the visitors took their foot off the gas and allowed Newcastle to mount a series of attacks - substitute Dan Taylor emulating Ranger's earlier dash into the box before failing to get his shot off.
Ranger himself then forced Blackman into saves after 67 and 83 minutes before United belatedly reduced the arrears at the beginning of added time.
Michael Riley cut infield from the left flank and was fouled on the edge of the area, Michael Richardson lobbing the free kick towards the far post for Ranger to head back across the six yard box and Jeff Henderson convert from close range, with substitute JJ Hooper also on hand.
This wasn't quite the beating that looked on the cards at one stage, but the suspicion remains that Chelsea had the ability to press on and punish us further, had the need arisen.
Injury prevented both Remie Streete and Adam Campbell from participating but a sprinkling of their Academy colleagues played a part, Alex Kitchen and Marcus Maddison making their first starts and recent debutants Steven Logan, Brandon Miele and JJ Hooper getting more pitch time at this level.