A solid end to our series of pre-season away trips, with Newcastle beating Burton Albion 2-0 at the Pirelli Stadium on Friday night.
Backed by almost 2,000 Mags in the away end, Jacob Murphy opened the scoring in the first half before Joelinton headed home impressively in the second 45.
The Brazilian played a big role in both goals and put in a solid shift up top, while Murphy picked up from where he left off last season. He ran rings around the League One side at times and offered us a constant outball down the right.
One player who also looked noticeably sharp was Federico Fernandez. Whether it be his reading of the game or a surprise turn of pace on the cover, it was good to see him look in tip-top shape as we kept our first clean sheet of the summer.
Joe White also deserves a mention. The 18-year-old attacking midfielder made his senior debut in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Rotherham and did not look out of place when coming on in this one.
Aside from being barged off the ball once or twice, he looked the part and showed a few real glimpses of quality. He never hid, carried the ball well, got his head up to pick passes and looks to have a good left peg on him.
Schar and Krafth were handed their first starts since returning from Euro 2020 action, Fraser was a pest in the free role – although suffered from the lack of creativity in midfield at times, reminding us all how vital it is we re-sign Joe Willock and add some much needed dynamism to our one-paced engine room.
Here’s both goals, starting with Murphy’s opener – which fell just nicely to our most improved player after Isaac Hayden made a mess of Joelinton’s clever cut-back:
A few anti-Bruce chants came out of the away end – which was brilliant for a pre-season friendly half way down the country – with “three-year deal, you’re having a laugh” also being sung at one stage early on.
We had chances to make it 3-0 in the end – Gayle flashed wide after being put in behind by Schar and Hayden had a goal-bound effort well blocked following White’s brilliant half-volley was parried out – but it was a good run out.
Despite creating very little and failing to trouble Woodman (1st half) or Gillespie (2nd half), Burton competed well, got in our faces and weren’t shy in the tackle, being another League One side who arrived with the right approach as we edge closer to the start of the 2021/22 season in just two weeks time.
It was a shame to see Callum Wilson miss out with a ‘slight knock’ to his hamstring and Allan Saint-Maximin stay at home through ‘illness’, however it seems both issues are minor and the pair could feature in Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Norwich at St James’ Park.
STARTING 11: (5-3-2) – Woodman – Murphy, Krafth , Fernandez, Schar, Ritchie – Hendrick, Hayden, S Longstaff – Fraser, Joelinton.
SUBS: Gillespie, Langley, Clark, Lascelles, Watts, Lewis, M Longstaff, Young, White, Allan, Gayle.
The following players were not involved in the game:
- Allan Saint-Maximin (illness)
- Callum Wilson (‘slight knock’)
- Martin Dubravka (injury)
- Elliot Anderson (injury)
- Jonjo Shelvey (injury)
- Javier Manquillo (injury)
- Karl Darlow (COVID-19)
- Miguel Almiron (extended break after Copa America)
- Yoshinori Muto (unknown)
Up next, a meeting with newly promoted Norwich at St James’ Park next Saturday!