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Season 2021-22
Doncaster Rovers (a) Friendly


Friday 23rd July 2021, 7.00pm (delayed to 7.15pm)

 Keepmoat Stadium

Conditions: Unruly
Programme: £3 (double issue also
covering Sheffield United friendly)

Admission: £10 (unchanged from 2016)


Doncaster Rovers



2 - 3





12 mins Jamal Lewis pushed forward down the United left before turning the ball infield to Ryan Fraser, who rifled in a low shot from the left hand side of the box in front of the South Stand. That was enough for some knacker to let off a red smoke bomb in the away end. 1-0

24 mins Sean Longstaff poked the ball home from the edge of the six yard box after Allan Saint-Maximin's pull back from the left reached him via Jamal Lewis. 2-0

30 mins Dan Langley smothered a shot by trialist midfielder Louis Reed but couldn't claim it and was beaten from close in by Tommy Rowe. Replays showed that the initial effort may have taken a deflection 2-1

Half time: Rovers 1 Magpies 2

56 mins Jeff Hendrick came over the halfway line in possession before playing a short pass to Fraser, His fine threaded pass to Callum Wilson saw the number 9 fire home in front of the joyous away section. 3-1

 mins Langley was unable to keep out Omar Bogle's glancing header from Ben Close's left wing cross. 3-2

Full time: Rovers 2 Magpies 3

We Said

Steve Bruce:

On the away support:

"You think of last year, and how absolutely rotten it was. A big well done to them – 3,500. The one thing we can never, ever do with them is take them for granted.

"They’re an unbelievable, unique support. Not many clubs will have that kind of support for a pre-season friendly. Unbelievable.”

On transfers:

"I think everybody knows how difficult it's going to be. We haven't got a lot of money. As managers, you always want players and money to go and improve the team, that's our job. But I don't think I'm alone, I've never known it so quiet.

'We have to be patient. It's very difficult, but with not a lot of money swashing around, supporters know it's going to be very difficult.'

"We’re going to still have to be patient. I know that’s awful from me but we haven’t the biggest of budgets.

"In the market we’re looking at - loan market in particular - we’re going to have to let the big, big clubs go to work.

"It’s been difficult for every club. Managers always want players but it’s very difficult when you haven’t got a lot of money.

"Midfield is the main area. We’re weaker than we were last year because we haven’t got Joe Willock. We need to keep improving but it’s very difficult with limited funds, but I’ll keep bashing away to try to improve us, little by little.

"With Joe Willock, we just have to be patient with it. Will Arsenal let him out? Will they sell him? - those are the questions we keep asking Arsenal. We’ll keep bashing away at one or two things.

"They've brought in two midfield players. That's our starting point, with Joe, because let's be fair, he had an unbelievable three or four months with us. But there has to be a time where we know – is it going to be yes or no?

"We're only allowed two domestic loans, and we're only allowed one from each club. So, there has to come a time when there's a cut-off, and we have to find out what's happening. We're still trying our utmost, whether it's on loan or to buy him. We're still trying.'

On the matchday squad:

"Matt Ritchie was a little bit sore after training yesterday so we weren’t going to risk that. We hope Manquillo and Joelinton will train on Monday. We’ve got Schär and Krafth back from internationals.

"A lot of young lads played towards the end and they’ll remember it… a special night for them.

"A big well done to to the supporters - unbelievable to get three and a half thousand for a friendly. It shows what we’ve missed."

On the absent Elliot Anderson:

"He’s got a problem with his hip that’s a concern to us. We gave him time off over the summer but, unfortunately, that hasn’t cleared the situation up. He’s only a kid, so a lot of it is still (to do with) growing.

On Ryan Fraser:

"We're really pleased with Ryan. We're asking him to play in a role he's not really played before, the attacking midfield player. His pass for Callum
(Wilson) was the pass of the match.

"It's vitally important he stays fit and healthy."

Callum Wilson:

"What a club, the fans…they have travelled down here on a Friday night, sang their hearts out, some of them with their tops off – it’s crazy.

"It is what Newcastle United is about, it’s what I’m looking forward to, that first game of the season.

"It gives us that little bit more, that 10% extra (to have fans back watching). Only a pre-season friendly and 3,000 of them here. A nice feeling.

"Nice to get off the mark in pre-season, get the feel in front of goal again - just trying to build a little momentum going into the season.

“It’s great to have that shirt (number 9), I try not to think about it too much as you don’t want it to affect your game. You are up there for the badge on the front and the number on the back.

"It’s all about then performing in the present moment, get the goals to help the team

They Said

Richie Wellens

"I’m happy with everything I saw on the pitch, the result is the only thing I’m not pleased about because we want to create a winning mentality but we went toe-to-toe with them.

"I wanted to see where we were at with so many players isolating recently, they needed to improve their fitness levels and the game was good for them.

"We backed off them a bit early on but I thought we grew into the game and looked a lot better from the 25-minute mark up to half-time.

"There are so many positives to take. We had two trialists starting and six of the others were self isolating and haven’t had much training in the build-up.

"Our game management needs to be better, we know that teams might counter on us so we need to be aware of when to break the game up when we’re a bit stretched.” 


Magpies @ The Keepmoat:

won 3-1 Fraser, S.Longstaff, Wilson (FR)
drew 2-2 Hayden, Perez (FR)
won 1-0 Carroll (Ch)
lost 0-1 (FR)

Pre-season pitch time (in minutes):

Allan 0+9=9

60+76=136+1 goal
Lascelles 45+81=126
Lewis 45+85=130
M.Longstaff 30+24=54
30+90=120+1 goal
Muto 10+0=10


Saint-Maximin 45+66=111
Watts 90+9=99
Wilson 45+66=111+1 goal

As at York, Karl Darlow, Mark Gillespie and Freddie Woodman were unavailable in accordance with COVID regulations - Darlow having tested positive and the other two self-isolating due to close contact. Dan Langley continued in goal, with Max Thompson again on the bench.

Injury ruled out Jonjo Shelvey (calf), Martin Dubravka (foot), Joelinton (thigh), Javier Manquillo, Matt Ritchie and Yoshinori Muto (all tbc)

Miguel Almiron, Fabian Schar and Emil Krafth all had extended leave following their post-season international duties.

Four U23s involved at Harrogate on Sunday joined the senior group, in the shape of central midfielder Jack Young, central defender Oisin McEntee, forward Tom Allan and left back Matty Bondswell.

Of those, only Allan had any competitive senior experience for the club, having featured in the FA Cup replay victory against Rochdale back in 2020. In typical style he played at right wing back here. Bondswell and Young made senior debuts, McEntee remained unused.

Four of the squad who saw action on our last visit here five years ago also featured again tonight: that night remain at SJP: Paul Dummett, Dwight Gayle, Isaac Hayden and Jamaal Lascelles. Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey remain at the club but weren't available tonight.


Almost 18 months after they last assembled at Southampton, over 3,000 Newcastle followers marked the return of away fans in typically raucous style at Doncaster on Friday night.

It may only have been a pre-season kickabout against a League One club, but the level of support evident was worthy of a far more prestigious occasion. 

And that backing was rewarded with goals from Ryan Fraser, Sean Longstaff and Callum Wilson - the last-named on target for the first time since gaining the number 9 shirt; finally able to join crowd celebrations after scoring a dozen times last season in virtual silence.

Staff shortages at the Keepmoat Stadium apparently caused by track and trace pings saw large queues develop at the ticket collection points and the game kicked off almost 15 minutes later than advertised.

Clad again in their new Castore home kit as they had been in the 0-1 defeat at York on Sunday, United opened brightly and went ahead on 12 minutes when Ryan Fraser rifled in a low shot from the left hand side of the box.

Sean Longstaff then doubled the lead in the 24th minute, poking the ball home after Allan Saint-Maximin's pull back from the left reached him via Jamal Lewis.

Rovers reduced the deficit on the half hour when Dan Langley smothered a shot by a trialist but couldn't claim it and was beaten from close in by Tommy Rowe.

The Magpies then restored their two goal lead 11 minutes after the interval; Fraser's fine threaded pass to Wilson seeing him fire home in front of the joyous away section.

The hosts responded by adding a trio of trialists from the bench (they would ultimately field six of them), former Spurs trainee Shayon Harrison skimming the Newcastle crossbar with a speculative 70th minute attempt.

Ryan Fraser then somehow contrived to fire over the bar from Jacob Murphy's low centre before Rovers found a second goal of their own on 76 minutes. Langley - whose time in the firing line will end when messrs Darlow, Woodman and Gillespie become available again next week - was unable to keep out Omar Bogle's headed effort but there was no further scoring.

A definite improvement on the Sunday stroll at York and the return of away fans brought some much-needed sound and colour to the occasion - visibly boosting the players experiencing it for the first time (although Langley may not have been quite as keen, looking jittery in his second-ever game).

After a forgettable season at club level when his international displays elicited some cruel comparisons to Michael Owen, far more is expected from Ryan Fraser in a black and white shirt and he put in a shift here. A goal, an assist and a miss represents his best game for the club, with hints that his understanding with former Bournemouth colleague Wilson is returning.

Even without any signings, the visits to Rotherham and Burton will see the team gain more of a familiar look; the return of messrs Krafth and Schar at least meaning that Isaac Hayden won't have to fill in at centre half again. Until the season starts....


Page last updated 21 June, 2022