8th November 20.55 UK time
(21.55 in Spain, ko was
scheduled for 21.00)
Nuevo Colombino stadium
in coats, geordies in shorts.
Admission: from £4 upwards, no programme.
Half time: Huelva 0 Newcastle Reserves 0
61 mins Huelva captain Pavon
shot from 12 yards, steered low past Brain's left hand. 1-0
77 mins A second for Pavon,
this time a curling right footed effort from the edge of the box
leaving Brain with no chance.
90 mins Gary Caldwell
dragged down the Recreativo no.7 and the home side took a quick
free-kick leaving their substitute, Canterla, one-on-one with Brain. He
slipped it under the keeper's body to complete the scoring. 3-0
Full time: Huelva 3 Newcastle Reserves 0
Coach Tommy Craig commented:
"While we were beaten in Spain I was delighted with their attitude to
the game and in particular their self discipline, bearing in mind some
strange decisions. The referee turned the game into a farce.
"I would really like to play that team again, only this time with the
rules being applied to both sides."
A disappointing evening from a
footballing point of view as Newcastle arrived in Huelva with only their
normal reserve side, coached by Tommy Craig and presided over by Sir John
Hall. After the much-publicised departures of four senior players, initial
thoughts were that something of a siege mentality had enveloped the
However it later emerged that a certain lack of appreciation of the
distance between Huelva and the team's Marbella base (4 hours+ by coach)
meant that the non-essential members of the party declined to travel. More
surprisingly Robson was also absent, despite his high profile in Spain.
First impressions of Huelva when arriving by train was that we were
en-route to the Andalucian equivalent of Middlesbrough. However, once
clear of the industrial wastelands and away from the station, the town
revealed itself to be a pleasant enough spot.
As for the ground, the siting and construction of the new stadium were
reminiscent of the Columbus Crew ground we visited on the USA tour, mostly
open bleacher-type stands, built on a brownfield site on the outskirts of
town. A quick check of the ground revealed that it was far from finished,
and while the areas round the pitch were complete, much exterior work
remained to be done. The piles of building materials and holes everywhere
seemed to confirm that the Spanish equivalent of a safety certificate is
more easily acquired than in the UK.
Before the kickoff a seemingly endless procession of local dignitaries
gave speeches from the pitch, and numerous presentations of gifts and a
gathering of old players were enlivened first by flamenco singers and
guitarists and then a firework display of such scale that many of the
local townsfolk who didn't go to the game were able to enjoy it from a few
Toon fans were thin on the ground,
but once access was gained through the chaos that passed for security and
turnstiles, a few were spotted including representatives from Madrid and
Gibraltar. Inevitably a couple of hard core travellers from the North East
were also on hand, and were warmly welcomed by the locals, who were in the
mood to celebrate anything.
At last the teams took the field to get the game underway, Huelva led out
by the fantastic club mascot, what can only be described as an old codger
with a walking stick. As the various youth and reserve teams finally made
their way from the field, the match began at a little before 10pm local
NUFC.com match notes
After recording a 3-1 away win the previous evening to move into 3rd
place in the Second Division, Huelva rested many of their first team
players and gave squad members a runout, along with a couple of
youngsters. However, it's fair to say we were the less experienced of the
Little of note in the first 30
minutes, although a home free-kick did rattle Jon Brain's bar and
the young keeper also made a fine save. The home keeper is so far
untested as the new pitch cuts up badly in the middle.
37 minutes: a flowing four
man move down the right saw Green release McMenamin on goal only
for an offside flag to halt the young Scot in his tracks.
41 minutes: Kerr played
McMenamin in again, the keeper dived at his feet and claimed
McMenamin had kicked him in the nose! The keeper reacted angrily
and Mark Boyd had to act as peacemaker.
61 minutes: 1-0
62 minutes: Almost an instant response as
Gary Caldwell headed in, but the goal was chalked off for an
alleged push. By now it was becoming obvious that the referee
wasn't going to spoil Huelva's night.
68 minutes: low cross from the
right and a good first time effort from Kerr was saved by the
keeper on the line.
69 minutes: Quinn almost brings United back
into it with two efforts - one blocked, one saved and Gary
Caldwell has another header clawed away by keeper, Luque.
77 minutes: 2-0
80 minutes: United are tiring as the game
draws to a close, having no more subs on the bench. Linesmen
appear to have gone home, leaving Huelva to wander forward at will,
knowing no flags will be raised.
90 minutes: 3-0
With Mexican waves lapping the ground in the latter stages the atmosphere
has to be described as carnival, but increasing numbers of empty seats
showed that many locals had come for the occasion, and some didn't even
bother returning after the half time interval.
The final whistle blew at around 11.40pm, but of course the civilised
local licencing laws mean that an extended post-match discussion could be
indulged in with the locals over a top class pint of Guinness. While the
game itself was forgettable, the few mags who made the trip were made
welcome by the people of Huelva, even if they did think we were a bit loco
to be there in the first place.
In conclusion, the only positive thing to
have come out of this trip from a Newcastle perspective was that no new
injuries were picked up. In every other department it was a bit of a waste
- a scratch team for an admittedly meaningless game showed contempt for
our hosts, and we managed to generate some more bad publicity for the club
both at home and abroad.
I hope the lads enjoyed their golf.
Match report from
(Spanish sports paper) Thanks
to Julio for translation.
The Englishmen took home a beating (3-0)
Recreativo christen the Nuevo Colombino with a victory over Newcastle
"Two goals from youth player Pavon and a third from academy player
Canterla gave Recreativo victory over Newcastle in the inaugural match at their Nuevo Colombino stadium, which was filled with 20,000 fans.
"The game, served as the trial for the Spain-Mexico match on November 14, the day on which the stadium is set to officially open. The game was dominated by the blues, although it was not until after the break that they completed their win.
"Pavon gave signs of his intentions in the 4th minute, after sending a shot to the post from a free kick. Recreativo smothered the English side's attempts to come forward and even arrived with danger to Brain's goal, although they lacked accuracy in the final yards.
"However, after the break, and with the arrival of Bautista onto the pitch, Recreativo dominated their rivals, and despite scoring 3 goals in those 45 minutes, they could have managed a thrashing.
"Bautista warned twice, in the 57th and 58th minutes, with two shots shortly before Pavon opened the scoring with a powerful shot with his left foot. The English side, however, could have equalised only three minutes later, but the referee disallowed Green's goal, accusing the player of fouling while he was jumping for the ball.
"Recreativo kept increasing their dominance over the English side with quick counter attacks, and again Pavon sentenced the match in the 67th minute after smashing in a dead ball in the box. Academy player Canterla added the final touch to a magical night when he took advantage of a quick free kick by Batista and sent a low shot past Brain in a one-on-one when the match was reaching its end.
"Inaugural match of the Nuevo Colombino stadium, which was preceded with performances from local artists, and paid homage to Riotinto Balompie, the cradle of
Spanish football (being one of the first football clubs in Spain), as well as presentations and gifts from Real
Madrid, Barcelona, Betis and the government of Huelva.
"Mayor Pedro Rodriguez had the honorary kick-off."
- Biffa would like to thank everyone who helped make the trip a success - Varyl
for sorting the tickets, Jesus and his mate for ferrying us around
Huelva, Antonio in the Irish pub and all of his friendly
customers - cheers for the Guinness, the t-shirts and the warm
As was said in the early hours of Saturday, please come to visit
Newcastle, but don't forget your coats!