Here we go again.
It seems like a long time since we strode into the first friendly of a new season with a clutch of new players and a groundswell of anticipation for the campaign ahead.
So no change then as we all stumbled into this first pre-season clash with nothing more than an underwhelming whimper.
To be fair to the lads, and just as you’d expect, they were well organised and at it from the first whistle against a St Patricks Athletic side that may not have been as gifted technically but were just as industrious and hard working.
STARTING XI: Darlow, Manquillo, Yarney, Lejeune, Aarons, Ritchie, Diame, Longstaff, Fernandez, Perez, Joselu
Newcastle dominated the first half, but despite having 5 shots to St Patrick’s 2 the visitors would struggle to find any breakthrough. In fact it would take until 42 minutes for Newcastle United to get their noses in front. A good break from the black and whites ended with a fine strike from Longstaff on his senior debut.
2nd HALF XI: Sels, Yedlin, Yarney, Clark, Roberts, Astu, Shelvey, Longstaff, Kenedy, Armstrong, Gayle
It would be a pretty even second half too until around the 75th minute when the Newcastle side finally started to exert their extra quality, and perhaps fitness.
Newcastle missed two glaring chances before the 80 minute mark, first from Yedlin who would blast over the bar from just 6 yards after the ball broke to him on the right side of the box. It really should have been two. Moments later and another great chance ended with the same outcome, this time an Armstrong effort blocked.
Then the closest Newcastle had come in the half the Kenedy unleashed a curling effort that smashed off the crossbar.
With 5 minutes left the visitors would get their second. A find run from Gayle would see the Newcastle number 9 felled in the box. Penalty Newcastle. Converted by Atsu. Job done.
A good workout, always the main thing, but nice to see some of the young lads get a chance too. Let’s just hope the boss has more to choose from in his first team in the coming weeks.