Game two of pre-season saw Newcastle United register their first victory over Claudio Ranieri’s AS Monaco side deep in Bavaria.
A headed effort from Demba Ba was enough to secure victory for Alan Pardew’s men who now head to Austria on Saturday where they will meet with Fenerbahce, who will hopefully be leaving the worst of their fans at home.
In much the same way I wasn’t too bothered about the 1-0 loss to Chemnitzer FC last time out, I’m also not overly bothered about the victory last night. I really don’t think you can read too much into formations or anything else at this stage of pre-season especially when you look at how different the team looked last night to how it will probably look against Tottenham next month. I must admit, it’s nice to win though and it was nice to see Demba Ba back on the scoresheet.
There was definitely more experience about this team compared to the one that faced Chemnotzer however. Steve Harper made a rare start between the sticks with Davide Santon and Jonas Gutierrez looking after right and left back back respectively, either side of Mike Williamson and Danny Simpson who were paired in central defence.
Mehdi Abeid and Gael Bigirimana were paired in the centre of midfield with Sammy Ameobi on the right and Romain Amalfitano on the left tasked with supplying the ammunition for Demba Ba and Shola Ameobi to try and finish up front.
Newcastle nearly took the lead in the opening minutes through Shola Ameobi’s cheeky backheel but he saw his effort rebound off the post after good work from Davide Santon and Demba Ba. However it was Monaco who carved out the next few chances and probably should have taken the on 21 minutes when Yannick Carrasco managed to beat Davide Santon and shoot beyond Harper only to see the ball bounce narrowly wide. Minutes later Harper probably wished the ball did bounce wide as he managed to stop a goalbound effort with his face!
Newcastle went ahead just after the hour hour mark when a Danny Simpson free kick was headed on by Mike Williamson and Shola Ameobi before arriving at the bonce of Demba Ba who rise higher than the Monaco goalkeeper to nod home. Shola could have made it two before half time after being played in by Sammy but Danijel Subasic in the Monaco goal was wise to it and blocked the shot on goal.
James Perch, James Tavernier and Haris Vuckic were all introduced at the start of the second half with appearances for Cheik Tiote, Ryan Taylor, Gabriel Obertan and Sylvain Marveaux following later on in what was a pretty dire half devoid of any chances. The most notable perhaps was a quick break from Gabriel Obertan who fired too close to the keeper with the rebound from Dan Gosling being sent harmlessly wide.
A win, a clean sheet, a good run out for a fair amount of players, and no fresh injury concerns so I’d say all in all, for only our second game of the pre-season campaign, I’m pretty happy with that. There is still along way to go though mind, and still a lot of hard work to be done.
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Steve Harper, Davide Santon (Ryan Taylor 57), Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson (James Perch 46), Jonas Gutierrez, Romain Amalfitano (Gabriel Obertan 61), Mehdi Abeid (James Tavernier 46), Gael Bigirimana (Cheik Tiote 61) Sammy Ameobi (Haris Vuckic 46), Demba Ba (Sylvain Marveaux 78), Shola Ameobi (Dan Gosling 61)
Monaco: Danijel Subasic, Eric Marester (Jeremy Labor 86), Andreas Wolf, Andrea Raggi (Gary Kagelmacher 63), Layvin Kurzawa (Dennis Appiah 63), Nabil Dirar (Emir Bajrami 75), Nampalys Mendy, Gary Coulibaly (Delvin N’Dinga 86), Ferreira Carrasco (Tristan Dingome 75), Ibrahima Toure (Valentin Eysseric 63), Valere Germain (Nacer Barazite 63)
Attendance: 900 (unofficially)