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Season 2018-19
mackems (a) Checkatrade Trophy Round of 16


Tuesday January 8th 2018, 7.45pm 

stadium of plight

Conditions: Hilarious

Admission: 15 adults (3 in last round)

Programme: 2




Newcastle U21s

  4 - 0





Half time: SMB 0 Magpies 0

49 mins
Watts own goal. 0-1

26 mins
Wyke header. 0-2

54 mins
Maguire shot. 0-3

77 mins
Kimpioka header. 0-4

Full time: SMB 4 Magpies 0




Newcastle's U21 side bowed out of the Checkatrade Trophy at the last 16 stage on Tuesday evening, beaten but certainly not disgraced by a mackem first team XI.  

Scoreless at the interval, conceding four times in the second half was tough on the Magpies, who received fabulous backing throughout from a sold-out away contingent of 2,800 supporters at the stadium of plight.

Although able to name a limited number of over-age players, United coach Ben Dawson kept faith with the outfield lineup that had defeated the mackems at U23 level last week, changing only his goalkeeper - Nathan Harker recalled following first team bench duty in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Clad in their blue change kit and attacking the North Stand where their fans were housed in the upper tier, United's first serious attack came on 21 minutes. 

Callum Roberts robbed an opponent on the right byline before pulling the ball back across the six yard area, team-mate Adam Wilson unable to reach it due to a defender's intervention amid hopeful penalty claims.

Roberts then had what proved to be his side's best opportunity of the night, forcing a save from Robbin Ruiter at his near post.

The red and whites did have the ball in the net before the break only for play to be pulled back for an earlier infringement; limp cheers from home fans clustered on two sides of the ground before they realised it wouldn't count a timely reminder that they were actually there at all.

By contrast, the visiting section reverberated with many and various selections from the derby day songbook - including the topical, "we saw you crying on Netflix." 

(Cameras were present tonight, filming for another series of the mackem panto, but any suitable footage will require some sustained audio overdubbing of the soundtrack provided by Toon fans...)

Into the second half and  Jerome Sinclair struck the Newcastle woodwork from close in within 40 seconds, before the hosts went ahead on 49 minutes when Chris Maguire's corner kick was diverted into his own net by visiting defender Kelland Watts.

That sapped the confidence of United's young side and before they had fully recovered their composure, the second and clinching home goal arrived on 52 minutes.

A magnificent block from Watts prevented a certain goal at the expense of a corner, only for Charlie Wyke to head home and put the tie beyond United's reach.

There was a further blow for the visitors when top scorer Elias Sorensen limped off shortly after, having needed treatment for a leg injury earlier.

Going behind did nothing to dampen the contribution of the Toon followers, whose repertoire by now included "you sad mackem b&st&rds, you're playing our kids."

The third goal came in the 78th minute when Maguire took a loose ball before firing in from the edge of the area, just a hint of a handball on his first touch.

Four minutes from the end Harker and Watts went for the same ball but were beaten to it by Swedish teen Benjamin Kimpioka, who nodded into the empty net for 0-4.


That was the end of the scoring, but the final whistle saw a clearly disappointed Newcastle side acknowledge a fully deserved ovation from their fans, who played their part in a slightly surreal but nonetheless memorable night, when the scoreline was completely immaterial.

Putting aside the local rivalry and "passion" (which most in the away end seemed primarily concerned with), Newcastle's display was effort-laden but no more than a fairly sketchy work in progress. One national newspaper totally disregarded their efforts to sustain a passing game though, a poor effort.  
Rafa Benitez wasn't present, in part because there's nothing here for him to see that's of any short term use. Several of the visiting side have trained with the first team, giving him a fair indication of their potential, but that's it. Age specific football is no preparation for playing the men's game.

Tonight will have been useful for the United players who featured, if for no other reason than giving them first-hand knowledge of how far away they are from matching a mediocre third tier side. 

If that motivates them to improve their skill levels and intensity, then this tie and this competition has been worthwhile for more than just slinging puerile but very funny insults. 

The opportunity of a Wembley visit may have gone, but the possibility of promotion to the top U23 division this season remains - another step on the road to respectability. Those promotion hopes however will suffer once the loans necessary for individual development weaken the squad. For information, the likes of Reading and Aston Villa remain ahead of us in the table. That's our level.

If nothing else though, this gave our long-suffering fans an enjoyable night out at a comedy club.  


Page last updated 10 January, 2019