Club Atlas 2 Newcastle United 1
It didn’t take long for the usual defensive frailties to show for United, two goals down after 17 minutes and it could got a lot worse as Club Atlas striker Gonzalo Ruben Bergessio, was only denied by the crossbar a few minutes after making it 2-0.
The first goal on 11 minutes saw a poor challenge from Lascelles gift a penalty which Bergessio slotted past Tim Krul, then poor defensive play saw the Argentine striker get the opportunity to make it two with a well taken lob.
The same 10 outfield players started the match as at Gateshead in the opening friendly of pre season, suggesting up to a point that this could be what Steve McClaren loosely sees as the first team out of the currently available players.
Krul and Darlow shared a half each on this occasion with then six further subs as the clock reached 73 minutes – only third keeper Freddie Woodman remained on the bench.
If you are wondering who was missing that could have made a difference, only Curtis Good, Fabricio Coloccini, Emmanuel Riviere and Steven Taylor failed to make the starting eleven or bench.
This is in addition to the likes of Cheick Tiote (couldn’t get a Visa), Paul Dummett (coming back from injury) and Remy Cabella (allegedly injured but speculation NUFC are trying to loan him out as part of deals to bring other player(s) in) who are back on Tyneside.
In a rare attack Newcastle pulled one back on half-time, as a break upfield saw Sissoko and Cisse combine before the Frenchman put a low shot into the back of the net.
Prior to that, the same two players were the only ones looking capable of influencing proceedings as de Jong looked way off the pace and the likes of Gouffran and Anita were totally ineffective.
A competitive friendly with proper tackles flying in from both sides, will at least have given Steve McClaren more valuable information as to the strengths and weaknesses of his squad, whereas if it had been a usual laidback low tempo friendly he may have remained more in the dark.
Aarons looked lively when he came on and Newcastle did finish the better team without looking like ever finding an equaliser.
You always add the rider that this is only a friendly but you would be foolish to ignore the fact that the usual concerns were shown up from last season, with Newcastle lacking invention and threaten up front, whilst looking likely to concede on a regular basis at the other end.
Georginio Wijnaldum will hopefully help with one of those but he can’t do it by himself – hopefully McClaren will have been straight on the batphone to Lee Charnley to ‘ask’ Mike Ashley to get the much needed striker(s) and centre-back(s) over the line.
Newcastle United: Krul (Darlow 46), Janmaat (Bigirimana 73), Williamson, Lascelles, Haidara (Ferguson 73), Anita, Colback, Sissoko (Obertan 73), de Jong (Perez 73), Gouffran (Aarons 73), Cisse (Armstrong 73)
Sub not used: Freddie Woodman