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Season 2021-22
York City (a) Friendly


Sunday 18th July 2021, 2.00pm

 LNER Community Stadium

Conditions: Pristine
Programme: £2.50 ((treble issue also
covering mackem and Boro friendlies)

Although hard copies were sold at the latter two games, York's interpretation of COVID restrictions saw only a digital download made available for £1.50 on the NUFC matchday.

Admission: £12 (home fans only...)


York City



1 - 0





Half time: Minstermen 0 Magpies 0

87 mins Scott Barrow was able to send over a hopeful cross from the City left and former Hartlepool defender Michael Duckworth leapt to place a looping header to Dan Langley's right from about 14 yards out. The goal came at the unoccupied North End of the ground 0-1

Full time: Minstermen 1 Magpies 0

We Said

the waterboys

Steve Bruce:

"It’s all about fitness, and we made several changes. They’ve had an extremely tough week and a lot of them showed a bit of fatigue… but it’s all about getting ready for a month’s time.”

On Joe Willock:

"Nothing's really changed on that: I knew from the end of last season that Arsenal would gather him in, see what they get in themselves, judge him on pre-season, whatever.

"It's Arsenal's call, really. We've got to be patient, I understand, but, obviously, there comes a time when we've got to make a decision for us.

"We're very, very short in the middle of the park at the minute. Very, very short. It's something we need to address.

"As I’ve said, it’s really Arsenal’s decision, and until Arsenal make a decision - a bit like all the big clubs, they have a look over pre-season - we’ll keep monitoring and badgering away. We’d love to do something but it’s still Arsenal’s call."

On other transfers:

"We've got one or two others bubbling away. I know for a fact it's going to be very, very slow in terms of the transfer market. I knew it was going to be with the European Championships and Covid affecting everybody.

"It's difficult for everybody at the moment. So there'll be a bit of work to be done, we've got one or two things bubbling, but nothing really imminent."

On Jonjo Shelvey:

"Jonjo hurt himself before pre-season doing running on his own. He hurt his calf, so he’ll not be around for a while just yet.”

On Joelinton:

"He wanted to carry on (after having treatment), which tells me that it’s not that serious, but it’s obviously a concern. We’ll not know until we scan him, and give the results out in the next couple of days.”

On Andy Carroll:

"He's out of contract. I had a conversation with Andy. I think he wants to go and play. I wish the lad all the best. I hope it goes well for the rest of his career. He’s certainly been a big help to me in the last couple of years, that’s for sure.”

On Florian Lejeune:

"Florian is on his way to Spain, it looks as if something is going to happen there. It will put a few quid in the coffers. He is going back to Alaves where he was on loan and there is something imminent.”

On Kelland Watts:

"I think it’s important we have a look at him and see what he’s got. He’s had a successful loan spell at Plymouth. There’s nothing like a young player to have around the squad.

"He did OK. It was good to see him. I thought it was an ideal opportunity to have a look at him, and we will do over the next few weeks."

They Said

Steve Watson

"The last two seasons we haven’t scored enough. We’ve created a lot but we haven’t scored enough and we’re looking to improve on that.

"Playing two 45s against Whitby, it was difficult to judge because there were a lot of trialists and young lads in. Today, if you’re creating even three or four good chances against a team like this, you’re going well.

“We’ll know as we move on but all I can say is I’m really pleased with the way we’ve started.

"On an energy-sapping day, everybody worked really hard: I thought the balance was good. We knew that playing a Premier League team we’d have to be solid and work hard without the ball. We kept a great clean sheet and caused them problems the other way.

"The result is very pleasing but the main thing about the early games of pre-season is to get them the right amount of game time and football.

"The most pleasing thing of it all is we’ve had a really good workout, done ourselves proud and came away with no injuries.

“I’d rather get a win against Sunderland on Wednesday (than have beaten Newcastle)

"It’s great for the club to have had them down. You’ve got three or four players who were in the Euros (actually one, Fraser). and everybody who the York fans wanted to come and see. Allan Saint-Maximin came on and showed you what he’s capable of.

"I don’t think anybody’s getting carried away, it’s early days for both teams, but it’s great to see the black-and-white shirts of the team I grew up supporting.

"We’ve got three really good fixtures against the North East teams so if we can three wins I think I’ll celebrate the other two better.”


Pre-season pitch time (in minutes):

Dummett 21=21

Hendrick 60=60
Lascelles 45=45
Lewis 45=45
M.Longstaff 30=30
Muto 10=10


Saint-Maximin 45=45
Watts 90=90
Wilson 45=45

Jonjo Shelvey was present but sidelined due to injury, while there was no sign of Javier Manquillo, although he had been training in recent days.

The status of the absent Florian Lejeune was confirmed post-match with news of a permanent return to Spanish side Alaves for an undisclosed fee.

The 30 year-old central defender spent last season there on loan and was in the final year of his contract at SJP.

United debuted their new home strip, provided by Castore.

While Graeme Jones remains on leave following England duty at the Euros, Bruce was accompanied here by coaches Steve Agnew, Stephen Clemence and Simon Smith. Ben Dawson was also present, adding credence to media reports that he's moved across from the Academy to the senior set-up.

Also present was the club's "loan arranger" Shola Ameobi.

The searing heat prompted talk of trips to Death Valley followed by any pre-season games that rivalled this one for temperature. That latter category included mentions of Braga (lost), Kansas City (drew), Orlando (lost) and Mainz (lost) in recent-ish times. There's something of a trend there.

In domestic terms, an epic expedition to Yeovil Town in the early 1990s took some beating, especially when an egg lorry overturned en route and the contents were quite literally sizzling on the tarmac. We won that one.

Our first game at York's new ground ended as our last one at their old one had - in defeat. That 2015 encounter at Bootham Crescent (a 1-2 loss) kicked off a season when both sides would be relegated, City ending up bottom of League Two and as yet failing to return to the 92.     

SJP old boy Steve Watson was able to field Clayton Donaldson, but as the striker is still under contract with Bradford City he cannot be named in matchday squads until the end of July. York's solution was to list him as "Don Trialist" on the teamsheet.

Former Newcastle academy player, Paddy McLaughlin was voted the sponsor's Man of the Match for York, while fellow ex-Magpie Mackenzie Heaney also featured for the hosts after a successful trial in pre-season



The pandemic may have ruined plans to spend pre-season in Portugal, but Steve Bruce's wish for some warm weather training was granted on Sunday in the unlikely setting of North Yorkshire.

Sadly for him though, too many of his players looked more in the mood for a siesta against their sixth tier opponents and fell to a late sucker punch after wasting a succession of scoring chances.

When a positive COVID test on Friday ruled out Karl Darlow and forced fellow custodians Mark Gillespie and Freddie Woodman to self-isolate, plans to field two senior sides simultaneously here and at Harrogate Town were shelved - and the U23s were dispatched from Tyneside to play at Wetherby Road. 

It was especially unfortunate for Woodman, set to join Bournemouth on loan when a foot injury to Martin Dubravka saw him hastily recalled to the United training camp at Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate - only to then pay the price for training in close proximity to Darlow. 

That did present an opportunity for fifth choice goalkeeper Dan Langley to make a senior bow; the 20 year-old Northumbrian on the bench at home to West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League last season.

And with Jake Turner and Will Brown chosen for U23 duty, Academy 'keeper Max Thompson was named as a substitute here at York - a fortnight before he turns seventeen. He watched from the welcome shade of seats behind the away bench, a couple of rows away from his dad - NUFC kitman Ray.

With Florian Lejeune absent (confirmed to be leaving the club permanently despite impressing in training) and Fabian Schar and Emil Krafth both still on their holidays, United's three man central defensive unit underwent yet another personnel change.

That saw Federico Fernandez line up alongside the returning Jamaal Lascelles and Kelland Watts; the 21 year-old back from a season-long loan at League One Plymouth Argyle and given another opportunity by Bruce, who had allowed him a cameo role in the closing game of the season before last.

A rare outbreak of common sense from United leading up to this game resulted in Joelinton inheriting the number 7 shirt vacated by the departing Andy Carroll, allowing Callum Wilson to make his first public appearance as a Magpie here clad in the 9 jersey (he missed the closing two games of last season due to injury when he had number 13).

Sadly though the Brazilian was almost immediately afflicted with the injury curse of Carroll and within 12 minutes had fallen over in a heap and done something to his thigh, which saw him belatedly withdrawn. By then the trainer had already been on the field when Isaac Hayden went tumbling.

There were some scoring chances for the visitors in between the medical interludes and water breaks; Ryan Fraser getting forward in a central role to take Dwight Gayle's pass and shave the goal frame with a long range chip.

Both goalkeepers then did well to retain clean sheets - Langley flinging himself to palm away Duckworth's shot before opposite number Whitley made a point-blank save to keep out Jacob Murphy's back post header.

Scoreless at the interval, the expected introduction of Allan Saint-Maximin brought optimism of a breakthrough, but it would be the home side who produced the next two pieces of goalmouth action.

A goalbound effort by Clayton Donaldson was blocked in the box on the hour mark, shortly before Whitley in the City goal had to tip over a dangerous effort dropping into his own goal via a home defender.

After Matt Ritchie had forced a decent stop from Whitley, a mesmerising run from ASM and exchange of passes with Gayle seemed finally have done the trick on 76 minutes - only for the Frenchman to ping his shot into a home player rather than picking his spot.

With the game apparently set for 0-0 and United reduced to fielding Yoshinori Muto, York unexpectedly won it - just as your correspondent had decided on a headline of Ebor bore (hasty attempts to conjure up a cricket-themed one combining Jamal Lewis and goalscorer Duckworth thankfully failed...)

A underwhelming defeat then made worse by the lowly level of the opposition, but we've watched far too many meaningless encounters in daft places to attach any real significance to this result.

It might not quite fit everyone's narrative, but temperatures of 28 degrees at kick-off are a significant factor, as are a lack of experienced goalkeepers. Not to rain on Langley's parade, but he saved more difficult efforts than the one that denied him a clean sheet - almost entering the net in slow motion.

It's also as well to recall the increasingly structured nature of pre-season, when players physically (and perhaps psychologically) go through the gears, depending on the proximity to the season. Were this game to have been at the end of pre-season like the 1-6 at Leyton Orient in 2009 then the alarm bells would be ringing.

Despite all that though, it's plain to see - and completely logical - that not much has changed since last season, or the three or four previous to that, given the personnel on show.

In the absence of significant transfer funds, easy options have been exercised to keep familiar faces on board in the hope that they'll replicate enough of their talent to keep us treading water and while away another year.

New shirts and number changes fail to disguise the unending mediocrity of Hendrick and others, general discomfort in possession and a Willock-sized hole in the midfield that even Bruce admitted was concerning.


Page last updated 21 June, 2022