Match Report: St. Patrick’s Athletic 0-2 Newcastle United
Newcastle United kickstarted their pre-season campaign with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over St. Patrick’s Athletic in Dublin on Tuesday night.
Manager Rafael Benitez named a starting line-up that had an equal blend of young players and regular first-team members, with Sean Longstaff making his senior debut for the club. Rolando Aarons got the nod on the left-wing and Matt Ritchie, despite being linked with a move away from the Magpies, started on the right flank.
As expected, the visitors started off strongly, with Longstaff and Ritchie looking to impose themselves on the game. The latter set up a chance for striker Joselu in the 5th minute but his effort curled wide. In the 15th minute, Mo Diame hammered a shot high and wide of the target as Newcastle continued to dominate.
Joselu had another chance to open the scoring three minutes later but he failed to divert Ritchie’s inviting free-kick delivery towards the goal.
Newcastle had to wait until the 42nd minute to finally break the deadlock after Joselu’s ball into the box was half-cleared. Longstaff’s driven effort clipped the post and beat Brendan Clarke in the St. Pats’ goal.
Benitez rung in the changes at half-time, sending in nine new players, with only Josef Yarney and Longstaff retained from the starting XI, with the likes of Christian Atsu, Adam Armstrong and new signing Kenedy all getting an opportunity.
It was Atsu who had the first sniff at goal but his effort was deflected over the bar after he was played in by Jonjo Shelvey. Moments later, DeAndre Yedlin fired in from long range but put the ball wide.
The home team put up a better fight and made it tough for Newcastle in the second half but Benitez’s side soon adjusted to the changes. Dwight Gayle came close to doubling their advantage, with Shelvey once again being involved in the thick of things. Atsu continued to cause all sorts of problems with his pace and mazy running.
Amidst all this, Newcastle almost managed to shoot themselves in the foot when half-time substitute Ciaran Clark almost scored a spectacular own goal while attempting to pass the ball back to his goalkeeper Matz Sels.
With less than fifteen minutes left to be played, Gayle had another great opportunity to make it two for his team but his shot was blocked by the keeper and the rebound was blasted over by Yedlin when it seemed much easier to score.
New signing Kenedy then announced himself with a thumping 20-yard strike that bounced off the crossbar and was then denied by a fine save from the Saints’ goalkeeper. With five minutes left, Atsu played Gayle in but the English striker was brought down in the box, prompting the referee to point to the spot.
Atsu stepped up to take it and confidently sent it down the middle to double the lead with four minutes to go. Yedlin had an opportunity to make it 3-0 soon after but missed as the Magpies settled for a 2-0 victory.
And here’s how the fans reacted to the win on social media.
we’re going to win the league
— Leslie Davidson (@BigLez10) July 17, 2018
Get in the toon!! Let’s keep this up lads!!
— Robbie Stenhouse (@stenner2903) July 17, 2018
Just a game for fitness easy win vs a pub side. The transfer business is disgraceful fans need to stop lining Mike’s pockets. Rondon is awful another Joselu I would rather keep Mitro which won”t happen sadly.
— ToonArmy (@CaptainJLasc) July 17, 2018
Glad we got the win disappointed that the live stream kept cutting out which meant I missed the last few minutes of game and #NUFC’s second goal.
— Joe Ayton (@AmberAddict) July 17, 2018
Roberts and Longstaff were both fantastic tonight
— Louis McGivern (@Lmcg654) July 17, 2018
Sean Longstaff could be a Premier League baller like.
Said it for years that he was the one, if he beefed up, that could break in our first team.
And I believe it even more after last season and tonight.
Loves an edge of box drive.#NUFC
— Burnsie ⚽🏴 NUFC 🏳️⚽ (@BenArfaChance) July 17, 2018
Got high hopes for Sean Longstaff & Victor Fernandez.
Really looking forward to seeing how they get on tonight (presuming Rafa gives them a solid run out!)
— Black&WhiteBarmy (@BlackWhiteBarmy) July 17, 2018