Gateshead (a) Reserve friendly
8 mins Armstong 0-1
Adam Sadler commented:
“In terms of our work ethic and fighting spirit, the lads put in a real shift again.
“However, I don’t think there is any doubt we need to be better with the ball – particularly when they started to tire in the second half.
“We forced our passes and gave it away within one or two passes – we would expect the lads to do better.
“I would like to see a bit more adventure and creativity around opposing penalty areas too.
“But what we did get was a real honest performance from the lads at Gateshead.
“It was vital to get some confidence and we gave ourselves a platform to build on.
“We had been back only two weeks at Benfield and we were quite cold in terms of organisation – and that’s not making excuses.
“However, the two lads who played centre-half at Benfield – Ben Tozer and Callum Morris – came on against Hartlepool on Saturday, and they did very well.”
Adam Sadler's reserve side played the second game of their pre-season programme on Monday night, making the short trip across the Tyne to the International Stadium.
And although they again struggled both in attack and midfield, a marginally improved defensive display helped them to improve on last week's 2-6 loss at Benfield.
Gateshead included a trio of Magpie old boys in their starting XI in the shape of Craig Baxter, Kris Gate and Alex Francis. A fourth - Mark Bertram - came off the bench.
Francis in particular showed up well in centre midfield and almost netted against his former club on the half hour when his shot eluded Fraser Forster - but clipped a post.
By then though the Tynesiders were ahead, striker Graeme Armstrong having beaten Forster with a left foot effort from the edge of the box after just eight minutes.
Ian Bogie's side were good value for their lead at the break, the non-leaguers looking more confident, fluent and inventive on the back of three pre-season victories.
Clad in purple, the Magpies had been restricted to occasional wayward efforts from distance that failed to trouble veteran 'keeper Paul Musselwhite - who filled in between the posts for the Newcastle Masters recently.
While United kept the same line-up after the interval, Gateshead made a series of changes and lost some of their momentum as a result.
A rare excursion into the opposition box paid dividends for Newcastle with 15 minutes remaining, defender Darren Lough getting forward to volley Mark Doninger's centre home from close range.
Gateshead pushed forward in search of a late winner and fashioned a couple of half-chances, but Forster and United held firm to record a draw that slightly flattered them, given their lack of bite up front and in midfield.