York City (a) Friendly
The home side cleared a Newcastle corner and Luke Summerfield got beyond Jamaal Lascelles to centre from the
City right. His deep cross ended up at the far post and was met first time
by Anthony Straker,
whose contact with the ball was enough to cause it loop it over Karl Darlow and
drop into an empty net as the scorer followed in to make sure 0-1
75 mins Mehdi Abeid swung over yet another corner in front of the away contingent and it ended up at the back post for Ayoze Perez to fire in from close range mark his 22nd birthday. 1-2
Full time: Minstermen 2 Magpies 1
"It was a good
work-out - this was always going to be a physical game. We had youngsters
playing but I was pleased with what I saw in the middle.
"We want to see him out on the field and we have to get to that situation soon. Colo has done very well in training. He has a little niggle but we want to see him playing because he is the captain and he plays a vital role. We hope that is sooner rather than later.
"Iíve heard speculation (about Colo leaving). Iíve come in and said to Lee (Charnley) and the board, myself included, that I would like to see him in training and Iíd like to see him play.
"I havenít done that yet so I canít make a decision on the future at the present moment. We just need to get him on the field.
"It was good to see Mitrovic playing, he has not trained for a couple of weeks and needs minutes. You could see from his movement and runs he is a good player. He has been training back in Belgium.
"Yet because of the ongoing saga of his transfer he has missed some days. We only expected one half from him but he wanted more.
"It shows his enthusiasm on the field so we are pleased to get him on. He has only had 24 hours, trained then played.
"He is a good lad and he had a smile on his face - once he crosses the white line he is a bit of devil.
"Itís difficult to say (if we are ready) because itís been a short pre-season.
"There have been 11 days in the States and a lot of travelling. We are still trying to catch our legs and get the jet-lag out of us.
"We are more or less there. Saturday is an important game. Every team is the same, they are wondering Ďare we ready?í
"I am looking at performances not results and we have had minutes on the pitch Ė maybe not enough work, we seem to have lost a week Ė but I am pleased with the workouts with Sheffield United and York then Gladbach on Saturday, which will be even harder.Ē
"We had to weather the storm for periods of that game and Newcastle certainly showed their quality, so Iím really pleased with the shift we put in.
"Iím very happy with the whole squad, it was important to get them all out there tonight so I stick with the decision
"I know it will have been questioned, especially as we had the lead but thereís a real sense of team spirit here and the players showed that tonight.
"We will take this as a very positive base, things we have worked on in training worked tonight so Iím really pleased."
The Minstermen took two first half opportunities handed to them by our poor defending to net and although birthday boy Ayoze Perez halved the deficit after the break, another forgettable display saw United beaten by the League Two side.
With one eye on Saturday's friendly against MŲnchengladbach, a side showing ten changes from Sunday's draw at Sheffield United lined up - including striker Aleksander Mitrovic for the first time.
Clad in black and white and kicking off in a downpour, Newcastle almost took the lead in the first minute, Perez winning possession and setting up Siem De Jong to force a save from Scott Flinders.
However York struck first when a counter attack saw Luke Summerfield advance down their right and see off Jamaal Lascelles before crossing for Anthony Straker to deflect the ball home.
If there was an element of good fortune about York's opener though, their second was deliberate and deserved - the man officially referred to as trialist A leaving Lascelles for dead before curling a shot home from the edge of the box. It's reported that he was Reece Thompson, a 21 year-old forward released by Lincoln City who has since played for Retford United and Frickley Athletic.
That goal came on 20 minutes but aside from a couple of centres that Mitrovic didn't quite connect with, our attacking prowess was glimpsed only briefly before half time. Both the main chances fell to Aarons, who tried to reprise his bicycle kick effort against Portland on 39 minutes but failed to meet it with sufficient power. And the same player grazed the crossbar with a header from a Mehdi Abeid corner moments before the whistle, which was greeted with booing from the away support.
Newcastle made one change at the break, Rob Elliot getting his first pitch time of pre-season and the action was soon down at the other end, Flinders getting a glove to Yoan Gouffran's effort.
Olivier Kemen was then introduced in place of cramp victim Aarons for his first club duty of the season (having been away with France U19s). Mitrovic meanwhile managed 70 minutes before departing, having dragged one shot across goal, headed another wide and reacted extravagantly to a refereeing decision in the first half. McClaren called him a devil on the pitch - his reaction here was of the Tasmanian variety....
With no first teamers named on the bench and the U21 squad away in Holland, his replacement was 17 year-old winger Lewis Suddick, the Tyneside-born grandson of former Magpie favourite Alan Suddick (our only unused substitute was 17 year-old striker Louis Johnson).
United got one back through Ayoze Perez with 15 minutes remaining, but an equaliser seldom looked likely despite the inroads that Shane Ferguson continued to make down the right flank - De Jong shooting narrowly wide and a late headed attempt from Lascelles bouncing over the bar.
Like the defeat at Portland, it's difficult to see what the point of this was, with the result and display unimportant in the grand scheme of things and the night of value only as a public training session - with bodies running around to help get Mitrovic and De Jong etc. up to speed.
Lack of intensity can be explained to a certain extent, but an inability to get on the end of crosses and a clear reluctance to try and hit the target hint at more inherent problems. Perez ran himself ragged here, few others did.
If nothing else though, Steve McClaren had another 90 minutes in which to assess parts of his squad and try to work out how and if they fit together - a task currently akin to doing a jigsaw without the picture on the lid.
Given the unease that Lubo Satka exhibited here, it would appear that a loan stint in the Football League may be beyond him, while it's fair to say that neither Lascelles nor Darlow are making themselves undroppable as yet.
We may have written off the likes of Ferguson and Bigirimana before, but tonight could have been a last hurrah for them and Elliot, none of whom look to have anywhere to go but out. Premier League? no way.
The continuing absence of Fabricio Coloccini and Cheick Tiote meanwhile means that the team for opening day begins to pick itself. That means the likes of Vurnon Anita, Massadio Haidara and Mike Williamson being included regardless of their form.
As an exercise in lowering expectations, that's on a par with witnessing this non-event. Whether Saturday will prove to be any better with a stronger side may well depend on how bothered the visitors are - although one tends not to get jet lag when coming from Germany....