Newcastle’s last warm up game of pre-season finished in victory, with plenty of positives to take form this one.
Goals from Joelinton and a thunderbolt from Matty Longstaff were the difference in this one, whilst Newcastle old boy Debuchy managed a consolation goal for the French side.
New boys Saint-Maximin and Willems would have to be content with a place on the bench from kick off, whilst there was the welcome sight of Dubravka back in the starting line-up.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Manquillo (Murphy, 83), Schar (Clark, 78), Lascelles (Dummett, 78), Fernandez, Aarons (Willems, 58), Hayden (M, Longstaff, 72), Shelvey (Ki, 72),S Longstaff, Almiron (Saint-Maximin, 58), Joelinton (Muto, 58)
United took the opportunity to show off their new orange kit in front of a sparse geordie crowd.
And is was the home side that started the better. A break from a Saint-Etienne corner would actually lead to the games first real chance with Miggy picking up a half clearance before racing from his own half to test the visiting keeper.
On 20 minutes the French side would get their first real chance but Denis Bouanga could only fire high and wide.
Newcastle could have been in front moments later when Isaac Hayden found time to and space to race around Ruffier in the St Etienne goal, but his shot would be deflected wide.
On 38 minutes United would gain the lead. A worldie of a pass from Schar would allow Joelinton to race clear and somehow toe poke the ball under the onrushing keeper before finishing under pressure. His second of pre-season and well deserved.
Moments later it could have been another for the Mags. A fantastic run from Aarons illegally stopped just outside the area. The resultant free-kick smacking the underside of the crossbar and bouncing off the line and to safety. A fantastic effort from Shelvey.
1-0 at the break then.
An early chance for Almiron in the second half was beaten away by the keeper before he had another effort blocked after good combination play with Joelinton.
Almiron was certainly causing the French side a world of problems, and after picking up the ball and skinning 3 players to get into the box on 55 minutes it looked like he’d finally break his duck. He shot though, blazed over the bar.
Just before the hour a triple substitution saw new lad Saint-Maximin join the fray, and he almost made an instant impact after a good run and cross.
United thought they had their second soon after, but a linesman’s flag would come to Saint Etienne’s rescue as Muto hammered home.
A couple more changes on 70 minutes saw the introduction of Matty Longstaff who made his entrance to St James Park something special. Saint-Maximin with some breathtaking skill down the left provided the opening but when the ball found it’s way back to Longstaff Jnr his show was a thunderbolt, beating the keeping and crashing in off the underside of the bar. What a hit!
And seconds later it could have been three. This time Muto heading straight at the keeper from 4 yard out.
Newcastle were all over the visitors now. Next Muto again the culprit after racing clear only to pass the ball wide of both the keeper and his left hand post. He needs to be scoring those.
Saint Etienne had managed just 3 shots all game, to United’s 21. So wouldn’t you just know they’d get one back from Debuchy of all people. Awful marking allowing a free header at the back stick for 2-1.
And that is that. On we go to the season proper, and who knows what the next 10 month has in store for us!