Date: Saturday 26th July 2014, 4.30pm.
Live on BT Sport
Venue: Westpac Stadium,
Wellington, North Island, New Zealand.
Conditions: 11 degrees
Admission: $35 and upwards (£18)
$7 double issue (£3.50)
0 - 1
The only goal of the game came when Yoan Gouffran headed home
Vurnon Anita's cross via a post after Jack Colback's corner from the left
Half time: Magpies
1 Wellington 0
Full time: Magpies 1
"There were some good performances - the younger players had to come on,
not in a position of being 3-0 up like they were against Sydney, and had to play
a very different game. They had to be conservative and make sure we won, and
they couldn't have done that any better.
"There were some really nice cameos - Ayoze (Perez) and Arma
(Adam Armstrong) in particular were outstanding for the periods they were on
"You've got to remember this was a massive game for Wellington, and the
effort and commitment they put in was unbelievable. It was a really tough game
for us and a great result.
"We changed the system (to 3-5-2) in the first half, just to have a
look at certain things. It was designed for Siem (de Jong), and when he
went off it didn't really work for us so we went back to our normal (4-4-2) shape
and did better after that.
"Changing players' roles is a good thing because when you are chasing games
you need to be able to change your system if you're up against a brick wall.
"We wanted to look at the three centre-backs, it's all experience and we
have learnt a little bit about things that will and won't work for us.
"It makes you realise the power of the Premier League.
"The welcome, the support and the enthusiasm from the people of New Zealand
has been fantastic, and hopefully we can replicate that for the first game of
the season at St. James' Park against Manchester City.
"It really helps the team, and I thank the people over here for their
support, because it's been brilliant. It's fitting that we won this tournament
for John (Alder) and Liam (Sweeney). We are dedicating this win to
the families. We did this in their memory."
Wellington coach Ernie Merrick:
“It has been a fantastic tour with two terrific Premier League sides.
The football was entertaining and it was unlucky for us there were not more
"Their goalkeeper Rob Elliot pulled off two great saves and we played
better football than we did against West Ham. I thought they (Newcastle)
were very impressive.
"I thought West Ham were as well but Newcastle just seem to have really
speedy players and technically they are really talented around the park. When
they had the two strikers up front they were brilliant - they had slick
inter-changing passes in the final third.
The two strikers in and around the box were very good and our defence was
outstanding in holding them off. With fire power like that they will make the
difference and with (Emmanuel) Riviere in their ranks they will do well.”
Pre-season pitch time (in minutes):
Holiday: Cabella, Janmaat, Krul, Sissoko,
Fitness: Cisse, Good, Kemen, Mbabu, Santon
Omitted: Ben Arfa, Ferguson,
Unused sub: Woodman
Mike Williamson and Ryan Taylor both travelled to New Zealand but weren't named
in either matchday squad. Gael Bigirimana and Remi Streete both featured in the
game at Oldham but didn't go to New Zealand.
NUFC in New Zealand - previous visit:
25.05.1985 won 3-2 McDonald 2, Reilly (4,400 in Auckland)
22.05.1985 won 4-0 Reilly 2, Beardsley, Gascoigne (6,500 in Napier)
19.05.1985 drew 2-2 Beardsley 2 (4,000 in Wellington)
18.05.1985 won 2-1 Anderson, McDonald (5,000 in Christchurch)
(All games were against the New Zealand national team aka the All Whites)
After the 4-0 romp against Sydney,
the second game of Newcastle's Kiwi tour proved to be a rather more
competitive affair, as New Zealand's only A League went in search of their
second Premier League after beating West Ham 3-1 in Auckland three days earlier.
Over to our correspondent for more enlightenment:
If the trip to Dunedin was reminiscent of an away game at Plymouth, then the
Wellington experience was the equivalent of a Wembley cup final crowds of fans
milling about hours before kickoff making it clear that a cracking atmosphere
lay in store.
Wellington dubs itself as "The coolest little capital in the world",
and the sunny mid-winter weather gave the weekend the feel of a beautiful spring
day on Tyneside. Toon flags were proudly on display around town and bars opened
their doors to a good-natured and thirsty throng of black and whites.
As had been the case in Dunedin, welcome opportunities to get up close and
personal with players and staff via meet and greets and an open training session
were taken up. Fans and the squad mingled as they took in views across the city
from the Cable Car and back at the team hotel.
Returning from the harbour it became evident that the stadium lay a good 30
minute walk from the pre-game meeting point - a pro-Palestine march further
disrupting our return to Cuba Street and leading to some Gazza references - it
was Gaza, lads.
The local supporters were outnumbered by those clad in Hammers and Toon shirts
getting geared up for the game and entering the Four Kings bar was like stepping
into Rosies - a pumping atmosphere with staff struggling to keep up with the
demand for beer.
Bob Moncur led the club entourage again, with many familiar faces from the
Terrace in Dunedin on hand, including Kane from the NZ Mags and our resident
suprehero "Why Aye Man" getting into the swing of things with his
trusty black-and-white bearded sidekick (holy monochrome!)
For those off to see the opening game of the doubleheader (West Ham v Sydney),
the long walk demanded a sharp exit and curtailed our intake. And after what
seemed like forty minutes later after negotiating the quayside and a labyrinth
of bridges and walkways (and stopping for a song or two), the stadium came into
full view (footage
of the walk is online here
The 'Cake Tin' as it is affectionately known by Wellingtonians is a simply
fantastic stadium and the cargo ship docked alongside named Newcastle a happy
coincidence. The bar areas around the Toon end looked out over the harbour, a
beautiful backdrop to some well-earned beers after the walk.
This port/ground arrangement isn't unique, but it's a damn sight more
picturesque than the Boro!
Despite the desperate fare served up by Big Sam's Carroll-less Hammers, their end
was pumping. However, their Australian opponents weren't as well supported and the
Sydney FC section adjacent to the Toon enclosure was the least busy section of
the stadium - which was pretty much full.
The atmosphere for the first half was nothing short of electric, and perhaps it
was the anticipation of the exiled Mags (who stood throughout) that was fuelling
the singing, and despite "feedback" from the posh seats on half way
that it was fairly quiet, it certainly wasn't where we were standing...
The roar as the game kicked off made the hairs stand up on the back of your
neck, every Newcastle move being applauded and cheered, as if the team could do
no wrong. Wellington started well and almost took an early lead, United's back
three pierced by a direct run as Rodriguez firing just wide.
The home side then threatened again when a header smashed on to the bar,
although many of the crowd failed to spot a raised flag for offside. And United
were then forced into a change when Siem De Jong was unable to continue just
after the half hour mark.
However Alan Pardew's side recovered to test Glen Moss - the Phoenix 'keeper
blocking efforts from Yoan Gouffran and newly-arrived substitute Ayoze Perez,
who caught the eye. Gouffran's match winning header was at the far end, leading
to a short pause and some brief uncertainty before the Toon fans went
predictably mad as the players flocked to congratulate the scorer.
The break was spent downing more beer, amid a general consensus of a fine
spectacle unfolding, with a hoped-for goal at our end an extra treat. As it
turned though, much of the action came up the other end, the garishly-attired
Elliot making one fingertip stop before somehow blocking another goalbound
effort soon after - magnificent stuff.
A raft of replacements then affected the flow of the contest, with Newcastle
opting to substitute Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa after he was booked for a solid tackle -
before testing the referee with another cruncher. A few players picked up knocks
and after using all of their outfield replacements, United were forced to play
with 10 men from the 86th minute when Rolando Aarons limped off the field.
Alan Pardew's side barely created a chance worthy of the name after going ahead,
but they held on through four minutes of injury time to record a second win of
their tour - and go one better than their 1985 predecessors, who were held to a
draw when they visited Wellington.
The Toon fans continued to be vocal until the game ended after another lengthy
stoppage time, and the applause rang out from every corner of the ground. The
players were quite brief and distant in their appreciation of the the Newcastle
end and make a hasty exit after goalscorer Gouffran picked up his man of the
match trinket (although Colback was equally deserving).
A number of fans decided that the walk back was a bit too much, so took local
buses back into town, where the players were due at the Apartment Bar for a
private function. A good crowd returned to the Four King meanwhile and partying
continued at variuos locations well into the small hours - friendly locals and
some tidy local brews helping make this one away trip to remember.
Dissenters will say that this journey was a total waste of time, but for
those present that most definitely wasn't the case - and those on a plane bound
for Melbourne had one further welcome surprise, as the whole Newcastle party
joined their flight.
The players came through without any major injuries despite some full-blooded
tackles, the NZ football community benefited from an influx of quality both on
and off the field and hopefully new generations of local fans will be driven
towards a life of following the Toon as a result.
You'd better ask that latter group themselves in a few years whether that's a
Thank you New Zealand for putting on a show and thank you to the players and the
approachable staff for making this a memorable experience. That midweek trip to
Sheffield will certainly bring everyone back down to earth.
Paris Pete - below with exiled NZ Mag Kane Wintersgill - thanks to
both for their efforts and also to Dale, Jack and Lisa-Marie Imray,
Nathan Hart and Andy Sole for contributing to NUFC.com.
For Stevenage Mag, Jon Lockwood. RIP.