MATCH REPORT , Fir Park, 16/Jul/13 – Pre-Season Friendly 2013/14


United’s first pre-season fixture after the summer break was a predictably pedestrian affair, with neither team looking to exert themselves too much on a muggy Tuesday night in North Lanarkshire.

The absence of our illustrious Director Of Football, (just back from his holiday on the surface of Saturn with the Swedish Beach Volleyball team), meant that any potential fan protest at the recent goings on were kept to a minimum, save for one “SUPPORT THE TEAM, NOT THE REGIME” banner, positioned directly behind the away end goal.

United handed starts to a number of their younger upstarts, including Paul Dummet and James Tavernier at


left and right back respectively, and started with a strong midfield pairing of Sissoko and Anita (Who?). Mapou Yanga M’biwa was made captain for the evening and was paired with a nervy looking Mike Williamson at the back. With limited striking options available, Yoan Gouffran was played as a lone striker, (imagine that? A striker!) with the impressive Haris Vuckic, making his return from serious injury, playing just behind him. Sammy Ameobi and Gabby Obertan provided the width.

United started brightly and knocked the ball around with purpose and intention, the majority of the play going through Sissoko and Vuckic. The latter looked in fine shape after nearly a year out of football and the Slovenian opened the scoring after Gouffran’s initial effort was saved.  It was good to see the lad back playing and hopefully we’ll see him pushing on and challenging for a first team place this season.  Gouffran’s movement and guile were rewarded seven minutes later when Vuckic returned the favour, teeing up the Frenchman in the area to slot home. Motherwell’s Ian Vigurs fired low past Rob Elliott to give the home side something to celebrate with only their second real attack of the game, but United’s two goal lead was restored moments before the break when Sissoko’s drive squirmed under the Motherwell keeper and into the net. The big Frenchman looked confident and comfortable in his natural position in the middle of the park, and Newcastle looked in control at half time with little threat from the lads in the Cash Converters branded shirts.

The second half welcomed Sylvain Marveaux and Steven Taylor in to the fold as Williamson (never looked comfortable) and Vuckic made way. The Slovenian impressed on his senior return and hopes are high for his involvement this season if he can stay fit.  Motherwell pulled back another seven minutes after the break when Sissoko fouled Stuart Carswell, allowing ex mackem charity case James McFadden, (listed on the team sheets as A. Trialist) the chance to dink what has become universally known as a “cheeky bastard penalty” down the middle of Elliott’s goal. 2-3.

It was United, however who had the last word, with Dummet combining with Ameobi, the young left back bursting forward impressively and crossing for Sylvain Marveaux, who finished his sodoku, and tapped home from 3 yards out. Another plethora of subs around 75 mins saw more of our younger lads get a run out and United coasted out the final 15 minutes without really threatening or being threatened. Final score 2-4.

While a non competitive pre season friendly was never likely to offer much in the ways of a tough test, it was a useful run out for a few of our younger lads and a decent first step in what will undoubtedly be a difficult pre season for Newcastle both on and off the pitch.  The travelling mags behaved very well save for one arsehole with a smoke bomb and the locals were welcoming, sharing good natured back and forward with the away fans who feasted on the dirt cheap and quite frankly very delicious scotch pies available from the catering kiosks.  Onward!

Newcastle United: Rob Elliot, James Tavernier, Paul Dummett, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Remi Streete 83), Mike Williamson (StevenTaylor 46), Vurnon Anita (Michael Richardson 83), Gabriel Obertan (Shane Ferguson 74), Sammy Ameobi (Romain Amalfitano 83), Moussa Sissoko (Mehdi Abeid 68), Haris Vuckic (Sylvain Marveaux 46), Yoan Gouffran (Adam Campbell 58). Unused Substitute: Jak Alnwick.

Att: 4,475