Southend United (a) Friendly
Shrimpers 0 Magpies 0
Three substitutes combined as Jack Colback's forward ball was laid off to
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....
Full time: Shrimpers 0 Magpies 2
“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.
“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.”
"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).”
“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.
Newcastle maintained theirunbeaten 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....