Having provided the
opposition for the farewell game at their old ground back in May, a Magpies XI
returned to Consett on Friday evening as the Steelmen christened their new Belle
Turnstile congestion meant that the friendly match kicked off some 25 minutes
later than advertised, by which time the temperature had dropped to zero -
although the local youngsters who participated in on-pitch gymnastics
exhibitions seemed oblivious to that....
Consett's new £3m facility boasts a 3G synthetic surface which looked to have
been partially sanded and the opening stages saw both sides finding their feet.
Leading the line for Newcastle was Adam Campbell and the striker was denied
early on from close range by home goalkeeper Jack Norton, before shooting wide
after a probing run from rookie Adam Laidler on 12 minutes.
Having pulled on his boots for friendlies at both Cambridge United and Ashington
earlier this year, Toon coach Peter Beardsley was in the United starting lineup
and an inspired first-time forward pass from him in the 23rd minute set Campbell
away on goal.
The crossbar denied him on that occasion but Campbell made amends on the half
hour when netting with a low effort on the run from the edge of the area.
Newcastle took the opportunity to give a trio of recent injury absentees some
pitch time tonight, with Curtis Good, Brandon Miele and Kevin Mbabu all
However Swiss-born Mbabu pulled up after a forward run just before the break and
was substituted - the interval seeing a further raft of replacements that
included Toon Academy coaches Dave Watson and Kevin Richardson.
The crowd had noticeably thinned out by the second half, some spectators seeking
refuge in the bar and others apparently present for the aforementioned
gymnastics - although the snack bar continued to do great business right through
until the final whistle.
Consett equalised after 56 minutes when substitute Luke Sullivan checked back
and beat United 'keeper Brendan Pearson with a neat finish after a low centre
from the right wasn't dealt with.
The Magpies regained their
lead in the 80th minute when Joe Kerridge's corner was headed home at the near
post by fellow substitute Jamie Cobain.
And United came close to sealing the victory with a third goal, Laidler
returning for his second stint of the evening and striking the crossbar with
seven minutes remaining. Reserve team analyst Tom Coffield meanwhile featured
during the second half.
with thanks to JP Hardy for images