Newcastle United get their pre-season campaign off to a winning start today with a 2-1 win over Ian Cathro’s Hearts side.
STARTING XI: Elliot (Woodman, 63), Haidara (Colback, 62), Clark (Lejeune), Mbemba (Hanley, 62), Lascelles (Gamez, 45), de Jong Lazaar, 75), Atsu (Dummett, 45), Diame (Armstrong, 62), Shelvey (Saivet, 45), Aarons (Perez, 45), Gayle (Mitrovic, 45)
Newcastle started brightly and within a minute some great work from Aarons on the left flank saw the fit again wide man force Jack Hamilton in the Hearts goal to touch a fierce shot onto his own bar.
Then, with only 3 minutes on the clock a wonderful turn and pass form another injury prone supposed misfit, Siem de Jong, saw last season talisman Gayle clean through on goal before finishing clinically to make it 1-0.
Aarons would go close again as he saw this left foot strike flash past the post with the number 16 looking extremely sharp all game.
Hearts would threaten themselves however with Rob Elliot forced to make a save midway through he first half before the home side missed a wonderful chance to level things up. It would be a mistake from Haidara, started at left back, allowing Hearts winger Walker to cut into the penalty area before fouling the his man. Hearts would miss the chance to score with the resultant spot kick being blasted over the bar.
The home side encouraged now would find an equaliser however as than man fouled for the home sides penalty, Walker, would poke an effort into the Newcastle net after some good forward play. 1-1.
de Jong would come close to restoring Newcastle’s lead with a decent header when being found unmarked by Shelvey from a Newcastle corner. The hosts should have taken heed of the warning but instead allowed another free header from the next corner only this time Gayle would make no mistake. 2-1 to Newcastle United then on 26 minutes and probably a fair scoreline on the balance of play.
Aarons would then see another effort hit the bar. It’s impossible to tell if his ball in was intended to be a cross or a shot, but whatever it was it caught the Hearts defence and keeper totally off guard as it bounced off the bar and clear. Hearts themselves would then go close with a shot from the edge of the area bouncing back into play.
Plenty of changes then at half time with Mitrovic getting a run out and new boy Lejeune getting his first run out in a black and white shirt.
Newcastle would go on to dominate the second half without really creating a great deal. Only more poor goalkeeping and defending from the hosts looked like it would allow the visitors to stretch their lead but even a late headed effort from Lejeune couldn’t find its way home.
The final score then 2-1 and a decent work out fro most of the squad.
After the game Rafa Benitez seemed happy with the workout although didn’t seem quite as content on transfer activity after seemingly missing out on a number of targets.
He’ll certainly be hoping, perhaps expecting, that his side with have more recruitments in place before his teams next pre-season friendly.
Extended match highlights can be found HERE.