Manchester City (a) Premier Reserve League (North)
25 mins Belmardi 0-1
92 mins Shuker 2-3
Tommy Craig commented:
"They were doing to us what I wanted us to do to them. I'm not making excuses but we haven't played for three-and-a-half weeks and I think in the first half hour that showed as we were very slow to react to things. To their credit they responded to some harsh words at half-time. It's a game we shouldn't have lost and I'm feeling a bit down about that.
"Titus Bramble, Carl Cort, Lomana LuaLua and Robbie Elliott all had 90 minutes. Titus strolled through it. He was commanding at the back and didn't look ruffled at any time."
While the returning Titus Bramble chipped in with:
"I feel fine and it's just good to be back playing again and get 90 minutes under my belt.,
"The main thing was to make sure my hamstring was all right and I've got no problem with that. Now I have to keep working hard in training and have another couple of reserve games, and then hopefully I'll be ready.
"It has been disappointing to be out because I was hoping to be fit for the Christmas period. I had played a few games in the first team and was working hard to prove I was worth my place.
"Then I got a reaction the day before the Man United reserve game in mid-December which I had been due to play in and that was really frustrating. Hopefully now I can get my place in the team and stay injury-free for the rest of the season.
"But you cannot just come back and play first-team football straight away. We have another reserve game on Monday and I'll get another game under my belt and see what happens from there. I've had a few injuries in the last year and I just want to put that all behind me now."
Our Reserve side returned to action at Hyde's
Ewen Fields on Tuesday, but lost out to league leaders Manchester City by the
odd goal in five in another entertaining contest.
City took the lead after 25 minutes when the tricky Algerian Djamel Belmardi, on loan from Marseille, rifled in a 20-yarder after picking up a loose ball in midfield, advancing towards goal as our defenders stood off. Steve Harper had little chance with the shot.
We only really came into the game in the last 15 minutes of the first half, with a Robbie Elliott free-kick and a header going just wide. But a one-goal deficit at the break was about all we deserved with our midfield in particular looking a little weak and the team in general showing the effects of an extended layoff.
We fared a little better in the opening exchanges of the second half but shortly after Gavilan had replaced Bassedas, City doubled their lead. £5m signing Jon Macken found a bit of space and drove in an angled shot from the edge of the box which Harper got a hand to but couldn't quite keep out.
However, two goals in four minutes from Bradley Orr and Lomana LuaLua got us back into the game. Chopra was replaced by Joe Kendrick and a minute later Orr hit a fine curling right-foot effort into the top right corner.
LuaLua was then tripped in the box by Mettomo,
who didn't contest the foul but hilariously tried to claim the offence was
outside the area. Lua got up to convert the resultant penalty kick, hitting it
low into the middle of the goal.
The defeat was only our second reverse in seven
away games this season, and after shaking off some early ring-rustiness
Newcastle can consider themselves slightly unfortunate to have left