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Season 2016-17
Southend United (a)

In association 


Tuesday 26th July 2016, 7.45pm

 Roots Hall

Conditions: Humid, light breeze

Admission: £12



Southend United

Newcastle United

0 - 2




Half time: Shrimpers 0 Magpies 0

48 mins Midfielder Vurnon Anita stole the ball off Will Atkinson just outside the area before stylishly smashing a right-footed shot past Oxley for a rare goal. Managing just three in 124 competitive games, his last one came against Manchester City in April. 1-0

78 mins Three substitutes combined as Jack Colback's forward ball was laid off to Yoan Gouffran on the edge of the Southend box. He took a touch and supplied a low cross-shot that found the bottom corner of the net, the 'keeper possibly unsighted as he dived late - or just slow....

The Frenchman's last club goal of any description was at Hull in January 2015 and his previous friendly strike had come precisely two years ago in 2014 - against Wellington in New Zealand.

Full time: Shrimpers 0 Magpies 2

We Said

Rafa Benitez commented:

“We have to say again, we must improve. 

It was a solid performance and we were fine but will must improve. We have one week and we have to adjust - there are still two or three things that have to be better. 

"It was a solid performance and we needed to do the job. The first half perhaps Southend were a little bit better on the physical side.

"After that we controlled the game little by little we came back into the game.

"We did do on the counter attack and they had to take more risks. We then managed the ball a bit better.

"We gave 60 minutes to the majority of the players and we will try to do similar in our last friendly.

"I thought Southend played well and from what I saw here I think they can have a good season.

“They worked hard and made it difficult for us by playing on the counter attack.

“They had to come at us a bit more after we got the first goal but I enjoyed coming here and what pleased me the most was the pitch which was excellent.”

On transfers:

“We have some players that are in the market because the clubs are asking for them, but we have to wait and see if we receive the right offers for the right players.

"Then we will move forward. The main thing for me is to be sure we can bring the players we need to improve the squad.

“We were moving quickly at the beginning (to bring in new signings). After Premier League teams started spending some money, people were thinking that the prices would be higher and then it’s more difficult.

“But still we have some things behind the scenes and we are close (to further arrivals).”

They Said

Phil Brown/Orange said:


“I knew this game was going be a tough one without the ball, but the fitness levels of the lads will have improved immensely from it.

“The players put their bodies on the line when things were coming into the penalty box. You ask your players to defend properly in games like this and they had to.

“It was little bits of quality that was glaringly obvious at the time when they turned it on a wee bit, and you could see there was a division or two between the two sides.

“But in the main I thought the organisation and the way we pressed them when we needed to was good, I just wanted our lads to express themselves a little bit better when we had the ball.

“You can tell the difference between the two sides in terms of belief and confidence and I want our lads to start believing, and if they can, play higher.

“But it was about organisation and discipline tonight and both of them we came out on top with.”

(Faced with a touchline ban when the league season begins, Brown experimented by watching the first half from a TV gantry in the roof of the West Stand - reaching that by climbing a ladder to the cheers of home fans). 



There was a first outing for recent arrival Grant Hanley, who wore the number 5 shirt recently vacated by Gini Wijnaldum.

Jesus Gámez
missed out due to suspension, whi
le Matt Ritchie was absent for a second game with what was described at the weekend as "a slight groin strain". 

Cheick Tiote didn't travel amid reports of a potential transfer to a club in Abu Dhabi, while injury and fitness issues saw Rob Elliot, Tim Krul, Siem De Jong, Emmanuel Riviere and Massadio Haidara omitted. Moussa Sissoko is still on his jollies.

It's now four pre-season games and four outings for the white and purple third kit.

Magpies @ Roots Hall: 

won 6-3 FR McGuigan, White 2, Allchurch, Hughes, OG
1991/92 lost 0-4 D1 
1992/93 drew 1-1 D1 G.Peacock
2016/17 won 2-0 FR Anita, Gouffran 

NB: Our original Roots Hall list above had an extra entry; an August 1976 visit.

Historically reported as an away friendly, the game actually took place behind closed doors at SJP and was a 2-1 Toon victory, not 2-0. Thanks to the staff at Southend Library for their assistance in tracking down this information before tonight's game - if nothing else, it kept us out of the pub.

Pre-season pitch time in minutes (and goals):

Aarons 63+45+62+63=233 (1 goal)
Anita 69+45+45+79=238 (1 goal)
Armstrong 0+62+28+27=117
Colback 45+45+72+27=189 
Darlow 45+0+18+90=153
Dummett 27+45+28+90=190 
Gámez 16+45+43+0=104 
Gayle 45+45+62+63=215 (1 goal)
Gouffran 48+46+28+27=149 (1 goal)
Hanley 0+0+0+27=27
Hayden 45+45+45+63=198 (1 goal)
Janmaat 45+45+90+63=243 (1 goal)
Lascelles 74+45+62+90=271 
Mbemba 45+67+72+63=247
Mitrovic 45+45+45+17=152 (1 goal [pen])
Perez 42+45+45+73=205 (3 goals)
Ritchie 45+45+0+0=90 (1 goal)
Saivet 74+23+18+17=132 
Sels 45+90+72+0=207
Shelvey 45+79+45+73=242 (1 goal)
Sterry 45+45+62+27=179 
Thauvin 45+28+28+11=112 (1 goal)
Tiote 16+0+18+0=34 
Wijnaldum 21+11=32 (1 goal)





Newcastle maintained their unbeaten pre-season run with victory against League One opposition in what was a fourth kickabout in ten days - replicating the Championship schedule we'll be facing.

Eight of Saturday's starting XI were selected again by Rafa Benitez, who added Karl Darlow, Paul Dummett and Jonjo Shelvey at the expense of Matz Sels, Jamie Sterry and Jack Colback. 

Returning to his native Essex seemed to inspire Shelvey, who looked eager to impress throughout his shift. Denied what would have been a fine opener by an equally eye-catching save from Mark Oxley, the Shrimpers 'keeper tipped away another effort away - Jonjo's last action before being subbed.

The home side fielded a trio of trialists over the course of the game (although ex-Magpie striker cum nuisance Nile Ranger failed to feature due to a groin strain) and relied mainly on set pieces into the area, exercised the United defence far more than their tepid Belgian hosts had at the weekend.

At the other end meanwhile, a series of corner kicks failed to result in the visitors hitting the target and there was little to report until Ayoze Perez had a 24th minute effort blocked. The Spaniard then missed a glaring opportunity to put his side ahead, showing two opponents a clean pair of heels out on the left flank before racing into the box and curling his shot wide.

Emerging with an unchanged team for the second half, it took just three minutes for United to take the lead as Vurnon Anita shot home - capping a decent midfield display from the Dutchman who began pre-season filling in at full back.

Central defender Grant Hanley debuted as a substitute just after the hour mark and partnered up with captain Jamaal Lascelles as Chancel Mbemba came off. With relatively little to do, the Scotland international made a couple of well-timed interceptions as he eased himself back into playing after what's been an intermittent pre-season.

Following Anita's strike, there was another unexpected addition to the scoresheet in the shape of Yoan Gouffran, who doubled the lead in the 78th minute with a low strike, doubtless having taken heed of our comments about his misplaced scoring habit in the Lokeren match report!

With little to do all night, Darlow preserved his clean sheet with a fine instinctive stop
to deny David Mooney before the final whistle sounded on what was a rare South East kickabout for United.

A meaningless encounter it may have been, but the chance to see their heroes at first hand was something gratefully accepted by a good number of the 1,000+ toon fans present who live within easy reach of Southend. The Rafalution extends far beyond Tyneside....

Dedicated to the memory of a lifelong and devoted Newcastle United fan, Keith Leggett, who passed away on Thursday 21st July 2016 aged 52 after a brave battle with cancer.

Page last updated 26 July, 2017