After an alarming defeat to York City last Sunday, Newcastle United got their pre-season plans back on track with a 3-2 win away to Doncaster Rovers on Friday night.
No signings, no takeover and very little hope heading into the new season, but it was brilliant to see over 3,000 Geordies pack out the away end at the Keepmoat Stadium.
First half goals from Ryan Fraser and Sean Longstaff sent us into the break ahead, with new no.9 Callum Wilson getting his name on the scoresheet in the second half to hand us the win in South Yorkshire.
STARTING 11: (5-2-1-2) – Langley – Murphy, Hayden, Lascelles, Dummett, Lewis – Hendrick, S Longstaff – Fraser – Wilson, Saint-Maximin.
SUBS: Thompson, Clark (70), M. Longstaff (66), Gayle (66), Fernandez (57), Watts (82), Allan (82), McEntee, Young (76), Bondswell (85).
12 minutes on the clock and we were in front through Ryan Fraser – just moments after Jacob Murphy almost opened the scoring with an audacious lob.
After picking up the ball from Jamal Lewis, the former Bournemouth star cut in from the left and curled a right-footed strike into the bottom corner from 20 yards out. 1-0 Newcastle and a moment the 3,000 strong away end enjoyed after almost 18 months away!
Barely 10 minutes later it was two. Lewis was involved again, feeding Allan Saint-Maximin down the left. The Frenchman went past his man like he wasn’t even there, burst into the box and cut the ball back to Lewis, whose flick across goal was converted by Sean Longstaff to make it 2-0.
Watch both our first-half goals below:
The League One side then pulled one back on the half-hour mark. A long-range strike was deflected and tipped out as a result by young Dan Langley, giving an unmarked Tommy Rowe the chance to poke the ball home into an empty net. 2-1 Newcastle and Doncaster back in it.
A few half-chances fell for Callum Wilson in what remained of the first 45, however it wasn’t quite happening for our £20m man in front of goal. He was a thorn in their side, making good runs and being a real handful, but did initially look a little rusty and like a man who was still brushing the cobwebs off after that season-ending injury.
We went into the break ahead and it had been a good game. We showed an energy we lacked at York and deserved our lead, with ASM a menace and Fraser looking sharp.
The players returned for the second half and Steve Bruce opted against making any changes.
We were sloppy for the next 10 minutes and saw Doncaster dominate possession, however it was soon 3-1 as Callum Wilson put the finishing touches on a flowing Newcastle United counter-attack.
Sean Longstaff and Jacob Murphy did well down the right and ASM and Hendrick combined well through the middle before Fraser showed his quality to set up Wilson, who did the rest with a calm finish. 3-1 Newcastle and chants of “Super Cal” from the away end!
Watch the goal for yourself below:
Changes then followed. Hayden had a knock and was replaced at the back by Federico Fernandez, while Dwight Gayle, Matty Longstaff and Ciaran Clark came on for Saint-Maximin, Wilson and Dummett as we approached the final 20 minutes.
The game got messy after a host of subs from both sides, although we very nearly saw a stunning goal as Jacob Murphy’s blistering run ended in a shot just wide.
Fraser should’ve made it four but blazed over, and we were punished minutes later as Doncaster pulled a goal back. A dangerous cross came into the box, Omar Bogle broke free of Lascelles and headed past Langley to make it 3-2.
Another change from Steve Bruce arrived, as Morpeth-born midfielder Jack Young replaced Ryan Fraser. The diminutive Scot may have missed a sitter, but with a goal, an assist and a few moments of real quality, it was a promising run out from him.
82 minutes on the clock and it was now Jamaal Lascelles and Jacob Murphy who’d make way, being replaced by Kell Watts and U23 talent Tom Allan before Matt Bondswell replaced Jamal Lewis a few moments later for his first senior appearance since he signed from RB Leipzig earlier this year.
The second half suffered because of the number of changes, but we held on to come away 3-2 winners against a game Doncaster side who’d already played four pre-season matches before tonight.
The following players were not involved in today’s game:
- Martin Dubravka (injury)
- Elliot Anderson (injury)
- Joelinton (injury)
- Matt Ritchie (injury)
- Jonjo Shelvey (injury)
- Javier Manquillo (injury)
- Yoshinori Muto (illness )
- Karl Darlow (COVID-19)
- Freddie Woodman (self-isolating)
- Mark Gillespie (self-isolating)
- Miguel Almiron (extended break after Copa America)
- Emil Krafth (extended break after Euros)
- Fabian Schar (extended break after Euros)
Next up, a trip to Rotherham next Tuesday!