Rotherham 1 Newcastle 1 – Late Hendrick equaliser doesn’t prevent boos for Steve Bruce
Rotherham 1 Newcastle 1 – Tuesday 27 July 7pm
There was little doubt who the happiest man was inside the New York Stadium on Tuesday night.
A lifelong Newcastle United fan living the dream.
No, we aren’t talking about the woeful Steve Bruce, instead it was boyhood Newcastle supporter from Wallsend, Michael Smith, with the widest smile.
His excellent ninth minute header giving Rotherham the lead with poor defending from Newcastle and it looked for most of the match that the 31 year old Geordie had set the home side on their way to victory.
It wasn’t to be though, as Jeff Hendrick produced a smart header from a Jacob Murphy corner to equalise with six minutes left on the clock.
However, that wasn’t enough to prevent the boos for Steve Bruce at the final whistle.
Newcastle fans sick of no takeover, sick of Mike Ashley and sick of Steve Bruce’s shameless covering for Ashley, as well as his obvious shortcomings as a Head Coach, never mind as a Manager.
It was the first time that Rotherham fans had been inside the New York Stadium since February 2020 and their players looked determined to give them something to celebrate with a dominant first half, when they should have gone two or three up and had the match won.
After Michael Smith had given Rotherham that ninth minute lead with Freddie Woodman left with no chance, the opportunities continued to flow for the home side.
Rotherham captain Richard Wood almost doubled the lead when putting his header just wide, then Ladapo looked certain to score from close in but somehow failed to hit the ball cleanly, Jamaal Lascelles getting the chance to clear from close to the Newcastle goalline.
A couple more Rotherham efforts went close before former NUFC midfielder Dan Barlaser put Miller in with a brilliant ball and when he crossed, the unmarked Wiles looked set to score but the moment escaped him.
Sean Longstaff had hit one effort well over the bar but Newcastle at last had a decent chance just before the half-time whistle, a long hopeful ball from the back saw Callum Wilson strong enough to hold off his marker and after getting himself into a good shooting position, sent a curling effort just wide of the target.
Some boos met the half-time whistle, no doubt aimed at Steve Bruce, though the players had shown little to deserve any cheers.
I know it was only a friendly but you do look at our players and start to worry, giving the same players new contracts and signing nobody, hasn’t been the most encouraging plan in recent months. Steve Bruce started the game playing Matt Ritchie at right wing back, not the most obvious of selections…
Newcastle at last showed some signs of life after half-time, as substitute Murphy put a great ball in for Dwight Gayle but the home keeper did well to save, then produced an even better stop to prevent Federico Fernandez equalising with an excellent header from Ritchie’s free-kick.
Gayle put an effort wide and Sean Longstaff hit one effort straight at the keeper but Newcastle’s mini spell of pressure against the League One side quickly faded.
With 15 minutes left, Josh Kayode should have doubled the Rotherham lead, however, Newcastle fortunate to see his effort go just wide.
The second-half punctuated by the travelling Newcastle fans chanting against Steve Bruce.
Another excellent showing, after 3,145 on Friday night at Doncaster, there were another 1,488 Newcastle supporters here at the New York Stadium on a Tuesday night. A total of 4,633 NUFC fans travelling for night time friendlies only four days apart.
Credit to Jacob Murphy for a decent corner and Jeff Hendrick for a cute header that prevented a second defeat in three games, Steve Bruce having already overseen a defeat at sixth tier York.
Friendly results aren’t greatly important but being second best for the majority of a match against a League One outfit doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
There were massive shortcomings in terms of creativity and goalscoring for most of last season and apart from Callum Wilson, you do wonder where goals will come from, unless via a set-piece like tonight.
Newcastle had the fifth worst defence last season with only two PL teams outside the bottom two conceding more goals.
If Mike Ashley is determined to persevere with Steve Bruce instead of getting a decent quality manager in, the club owner then has to allow the signing of some better quality players to make up for Bruce’s shortcomings, or else we are looking forward to what appears to be a very very long season stretching ahead…
Rotherham 1 Newcastle 1
Woodman (Gillespie 46), Hayden (Matty Longstaff 72), Fernandez (Krafth 64), Lascelles (Dummett 46), Clark (Watts 46), Lewis, Ritchie (Schar 64), Sean Longstaff (Jack Young 80), Fraser (Murphy 46), Gayle (Joe White 77), Wilson (Hendrick 72)
4,370 (Incl 1,488 NUFC)
Newcastle United pre-season friendlies:
Sunday 18 July – York City 1 Newcastle 0
Sunday 18 July Harrogate Town 2 Newcastle 1 (This was originally a first team fixture with some Under 23 added but it became solely a Under 23 NUFC players after Karl Darlow tested positive for Covid and first team and Under 23s had to be kept apart)
Friday 23 July – Doncaster 2 Newcastle 3
Tuesday 27 July – Rotherham United 1 Newcastle 1
Friday 30 July – Burton Albion away (7.45pm)
Saturday 7 August – Norwich home (2pm)
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