Newcastle came from behind to nick a point on a warm Tuesday night in Hull.
The gaffa used 20 players no less in this one with a number of first teamers and juniors alike getting some pre-season time in black and white
TEAMSHEET: Darlow (Woodman, 46), Yedlin (Sterry, 46), Lascelles (Clark, 46), Yarney (Hayden, 53), Roberts (Manquillo, 46), Shelvey (Ki, 69), Diame (Fernandez, 60), Murphy (Aarons, 46), Longstaff, Ritchie, Joselu (Perez, 46)
Conspicuous by their absence as the KCOM Stadium were Kenedy (excused for family reasons), Lejeune (knee injury yet to be assessed) and Paul Dummett (reason unknown). Dubravka were on the bench but was the only unused sub.
Also missing on the night were Mitrovic who is due back to training tomorrow, whilst Adam Armstrong, Rob Elliot, Christian Atsu and Dwight Gayle were also given the night off.
Around 2000 or so Geordies made the trip to see the away side make a very decent start. A cracking ball from Shelvey would see Joselu race clear and finish with unexpected ease.
That was about as good as it would get from Rafa’s men who never really got going. And when Todd Kane stabbed home just before the break few could argue it wasn’t any more than they deserved.
A lovely volley from Hull’s Evandro saw the home side ahead soon after the break and they could, and should, have been further ahead with ten left on the clock when Woodman gave the ball away. To his relief Keane would miss the target.
With moments left though substitute Ki came to Newcastle’s rescue, when his corner eventually found Perez who blasted home.
More vital minutes for all concerned. But the main questions, reserved for Rafa after the game, were little to do with those on the field and more those in the Board Room.
“Hopefully, we can do well in the next weeks and we can improve the squad enough to at least be competitive next year” he stated. “Is the current squad good enough for what we need? I don’t think so. I said least year, and I am saying this year again, that when you are talking about so much money from the TV it is crucial to stay in the Premier League if you want to compete”.
When asked about whether there was money from the sale of Mbemba, he simply replied “Ask Lee Charnley”.
What a mess.