Sheffield United 2 Newcastle United 2
Goals: Newcastle Wijnaldum 40 De Jong 79 Sheffield United McNulty 49 Freeman 86
Goals for Georginio Wijnaldum and Siem de Jong weren’t enough to give Newcastle victory at Bramall Lane today.
Twice United led, only for the usual defensive frailties to show throughout the match.
An entertaining open game saw plenty chances at both ends, with the scoring set in motion by Georginio Wijnaldum adding to his goal against Portland Timbers, Cisse’s effort saved before the summer signing finished coolly in the 40th minute.
However, only a few minutes into the second half and the Blades sliced through the Newcastle defence, McNulty sending the ball past Tim Krul. The Dutch keeper less than impressed with those in front of him.
Siem de Jong was given the last 17 minutes when he replaced Wijnaldum and looked to have won it when he scored with only 11 minutes remaining. Kack Colback’s left wing corner(!!) getting a flick before de Jong put it in the back of the net.
Krul though was beaten for a second time, Freeman’s thirty yarder seeing the United keeper doing well to get a touch on the excellent strike but unable to prevent it going in.
A good workouut for Steve McClaren’s team but with time running out, he will be wondering how to deal with United’s shortcomings, particularly in the centre of defence.
Two faces we haven’t seen for a while were in attendance, John Carver and Steve Stone watching proceedings from the stands.
Coloccini was nowhere to be seen today, which will no doubt further fuel the reports yesterday that he is one of seven the club are looking to sell, though on top of that he has had an Achilles problem which has prevented him playing in the previous four – though he was said to be training ok in the lead up to this match.
Aleksandar Mitrovic is reportedly still waiting for his work visa to be sorted, which doesn’t do Steve McClaren any favours with his preparations for only 14 days time and the visit of Southampton.
As for Chancel Mbemba, Newcastle confirmed earlier today that the transfer fee and personal demands were all agreed but that an FA panel would meet on Thursday to decide if they’d back the work visa application for the defender.
The team today did have the look of being pretty much what could be Steve McClaren’s first team, from those players who are currently available.
Daryl Janmaat was named Captain, though Steve McClaren had previously said he would be picking different players in different games to have the honour pre season – the likes of Sissoko, Colback and Gouffran(!) already having worn the armband.
Newcastle United: Krul, Janmaat, Williamson, Taylor (Lascelles 69), Haïdara, Anita (Obertan 59), Colback, Sissoko (Abeid 80), Wijnaldum (de Jong 73), Perez (Aarons 46), Cissé (Armstrong 80)
Unused Subs: Darlow, Satka, Gouffran
Ref: Andrew Madley
Crowd: 12,002 (NUFC 2,000)