St Patrick’s Athletic 0 Newcastle United 2 – Tuesday 17 July 7.45pm
Rafa Benitez ended up using 20 players in total in the first pre-season friendly.
The United boss having said in advance that he would be giving as many players as possible time on the pitch, over the course of the 90 minutes.
Last night was the first of five friendlies, with the Premier League season kicking off in only 24 days time now.
Rafa named the following eleven to start:
Karl Darlow, Josef Yarney, Florian Lejeune, Javier Manquillo, Rolando Aarons, Matt Ritchie, Mohamed Diamé, Sean Longstaff, Víctor Fernández, Ayoze Pérez, Joselu
Rather than the usual succession of substitutions that tends to disrupt these games, the home side made most of their changes at half-time, whilst Newcastle made all of theirs.
Only Sean Longstaff and Josef Varney played the full 90 minutes, having been joined at the break by:
Matz Sels, DeAndre Yedlin, Ciaran Clark, Kenedy, Jonjo Shelvey, Callum Roberts, Christian Atsu, Adam Armstrong and Dwight Gayle.
Newcastle scored a goal in each half but were better after the break in this kickabout, probably a combination of a stronger second-half line-up and the lower level opposition tiring.
Christian Atsu scored an 86th minute penalty to seal the 2-0 win but on 42 minutes it was a special moment for young midfielder Sean Longstaff as he capped this debut first team performance with a well taken goal – watch it below.
Also earlier yesterday, the club confirmed that the Magpies would be playing in their new 2018/19 home kit for the first time.
Jacob Murphy and Paul Dummett watched on after they picked up knocks, whilst Jamaal Lascelles and Jamie Sterry also weren’t involved, with no prior reason given.
Amongst those back home on Tyneside are Achraf Lazaar, Henri Saivet, Jack Colback and Isaac Hayden (after asking for a transfer), whilst Chancel Mbemba had been told not to bother reporting for pre-season and instead concentrate on getting a move elsewhere sorted.
Meanwhile, Ki Sung-yueng and Mitro are on extended leave due to their World Cup involvement.
***Some Newcastle fans weren’t happy after paying Newcastle United to watch a stream of the match live, only to then find out that St Patrick’s Athletic were also streaming the friendly live…but for nothing on YouTube.