Friday 23rd March 2001, 8pm
"Bracing" especially round
cross from the left wing was headed home by an unmarked Colin McMenamin,
with the keeper appearing to move only after the ball was past him.
mins. An unfortunate double deflection off David
Beharall sent Reynolds clear in the United area and he slipped his
finish past the advancing Karelse. 1-1
Ayr 1 Newcastle 1
77 mins. A
quality effort from the edge of the box flew into the Ayr net courtesy of
the boot of Mark Boyd, to the applause of the travelling toon fans
behind the goal in the Railway End of Somerset Park. 2-1
Ayr 1 Newcastle 2
5 mins Newcastle scored (see above)
15 mins Stephen
Glass was led from the field after a clash of heads, apparently suffering
from double vision. Joe Kendrick subsequently replaced him.
22 mins Almost a second goal for Newcastle, as LuaLua's shot was
cleared off the Ayr goal line and looked as if it would fall for McMenamin
to double his tally. However, he was unable to get a shot in and the chance
28 mins Ayr equalised (see above)
46 mins Newcastle appeared for the second half having changed into white
shorts provided by the home team.
77 mins Jamie McClen almost provided the breakthrough after a
dribbling run took him into the box, only for his shot to be blocked by a
78 mins Newcastle scored (see above)
United defender David Beharall
commented on the performance of Academy players Stephen Brennan and
"Neither Joe nor Steve looked out of place against Ayr and I think
that shows what a good job they are doing at the Academy. There is a lot
of competition for places even at reserves level and that can only be good
for the club.
"This season I've seen a lot
of players come up through the academy and that's good to see, they are
all challenging for places."
With an International weekend leaving
Newcastle with a few spare days in their calendar, a long-standing
invitation to participate in a testimonial match for Ayr old boy John
"snakey" Traynor was fulfilled on a chilly Friday Evening. The
late withdrawal of Middlesbrough from a promised game at Barrow on the
same evening had resulted in another invitation being issued, but the Ayr
fixture was fulfilled.
The evening began with an Old Boys and young hopefuls match, with two
teams made up of former Ayr players from the nine years that Snakey was a
Somerset Park regular, plus a sprinkling of current youth players (to do
the running around.)
For Newcastle fans, one or two familiar names were on show - Andy Walker,
who had a brief and unsuccessful loan spell at the toon from Celtic in
1991, and Tommy Burns, one-time assistant to Kenny Dalglish at St.James'.
A neat flick by Walker brought the
opening goal for the yellow shirts, scored by youngster Chris Foley. Burns
himself equalised after the break from the penalty spot, being booed for
his past associations with deadly local rivals Kilmarnock. In a neat
facsimile of a famous Andy Walker effort at the same end of the ground in
a memorable cup win over Killy, Burns delicately flighted his effort over
the stranded keeper and into the net.
A fumble by the goalkeeper for the yellows, John Traynor's brother, Colin,
was pounced on by Ayr youngster Willie Lyle and he had the simple task of
knocking the ball home for the winning goal.
Mention must be made of the referee for
this game, a sprightly gentleman in his mid 70's who has been officiating
for 56 years!
On to the main event, and a select gathering of around 150 toon fans
assembled at the covered railway end of the ground, with a few seeking
sanctuary in the stand, where it wasn't much warmer.
The influence of drink meant that although small in number, the vocal
support from the Magpie contingent was evident from the start, with some
old favourites getting an airing, as well as more contemporary ditties
such as "We will give you Foot & Mouth" and "there's
only seven Bob the Builders", the latter a reference to the large
number of brightly-helmeted paramedics standing adjacent to the Toon
The game itself was no classic, as expected, but at least Newcastle
managed to register their first ever goals on this ground at any level of
competition, and one dedicated fan saw a toon victory on the occasion of
his completing the double century of watching the lads on different
grounds. Your correspondent also boosted his total to a comparatively
Such a memorable achievement obviously required a swift return to licensed
premises after the final whistle, via a quick meeting with the testimonial
beneficiary, who was well chuffed with the funds raised for him, and very
appreciative of his old Celtic chum Tommy Craig's efforts to organise the
fixture and provide a signed and framed Toon shirt to mark the