Main Page

Quick Links

The Rest
   Club info
   Last Season
   Unlikely Lads
   A-Z Index

Season 2014-15
Wellington Phoenix (a) Friendly

In association 


Saturday 26th July 2014, 4.30pm.
Live on BT Sport

Westpac Stadium, Wellington, North Island, New Zealand.

Conditions: 11 degrees at kickoff.

Admission: $35 and upwards (£18)

$7 double issue (£3.50)



Newcastle United

0 - 1




41mins 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 flank 1-0

Half time: Magpies 1 Wellington 0

Full time: Magpies 1 Wellington 0

We Said

Alan Pardew:

"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 the pitch.

"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."

They Said

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 goals. 

"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):

Aarons 63+68+45=176
Abeid 90+22+45=157
Alnwick 90
Ameobi 45+68=113
Anita 54+90+90=234
Armstrong 54+14+26=94
Bigirimana 20
Campbell 9+5=14
Colback 90+68+90=248
Coloccini 81+78=159
De Jong 63+45+33=141
Elliot 90+90=180
Dummett 70+14+14=98
Gouffran 45+76+85=206
Haidara 27+76+76=179
Perez 36+36+57=129
Riviere 54+64=118
Satka 36+14+26=76
Streete 27
Tiote 0
R.Taylor 0

S.Taylor 63+76+90=229
Vuckic 27+45+12=84
Williamson 0
Woodman 0


Holiday: Cabella,
Janmaat, Krul, Sissoko, Tiote 
Fitness: Cisse, Good, Kemen, Mbabu, Santon
Omitted: Ben Arfa, Ferguson, Gutierrez, Obertan
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 good thing.... 

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 

For Stevenage Mag, Jon Lockwood. RIP.

Page last updated 03 July, 2015