NEWCASTLE United continued their pre-season program with a trip west to take on League One team Carlisle United but narrowly escaped defeat after Carlisle had surprisingly taken the lead with a poorly defended goal from Danny Livesey.
In a constantly interrupted second half Newcastle pushed for the equalizer and were rather fortunate to get it in injury time through Nobby Solano.
The equalizer saved the blushes for Newcastle’s 3,000 traveling fans.
Goalscorer Nobby Solano
The goal scorers from the 3-1 win over Hartlepool United, Michael Owen and Shola Ameobi, were both absent, and goalkeeper Shay Given was also omitted from the squad. But Geremi and James Milner – who both missed the first game – were scheduled to get an outing and they were both named among the substitutes.
Joey Barton was named captain for the day and it seemed strange that Charles N’Zogbia started at left back. Rozehnal and Ramage were paired in central defense. The game started with rain pouring down.
Newcastle started the game well and on six minutes Obafemi Martins had a good shot that was tipped wide by keeper Kieran Westwood. Newcastle pressed forward again on 22 minutes and Nicky Butt crossed to Barton who aimed a powerful header towards goal – but keeper Westwood was again equal to the test.
Two minutes later Martins dribbled his way nicely through – but his left-footed shot hit side netting. Five minutes before the break and 6’3″ Gateshead-born striker Andy Carroll hit a good shot just wide of the post – and the break arrived with the score still at 0-0.
Just 11 minutes had elapsed into the second half when a Michael Bridge-Wilkinson cross was headed firmly home by Danny Livesey – with Harper rooted to the spot. This gave Carlisle a surprising lead and the defending was not good by Newcastle.
The second half was constantly interrupted by substitutions on both sides – and this prevented either team from being able to get going – but Carlisle were playing well.
On 64 minutes Newcastle’s Geremi – who is an expert at free kicks – fired one in from 30 yards and it flashed just wide of the post. On 68 minutes there was an attempted pitch invasion by a couple of supporters – and this caused another delay in the game.
Newcastle struggled to get on even terms and they needed an injury-time goal from Nolberto Solano to salvage a draw. It was a momentary lapse at the back by Carlisle that allowed Solano to latch onto an Andy Carroll flick – and finish nicely with a neat right footed shot past keeper Kieran Westwood.
This saved some embarrassment for Newcastle and their 3,000 traveling fans.
Everybody got a game except James Milner who was not brought on – but this will give him a little extra rest before the next pre-season friendly against Celtic on Thursday evening. Solano, N’Zogbia and Carroll played the full game for Newcastle.
It was interesting that at the end of the game Newcastle had no fewer than eight youth team members from the last two seasons playing – Krul, Bertram, Francis, Troisi, Lough, Lua Lua, Huntington and Carroll. There was a good attendance of over 12,000 for the game.
While Newcastle fans will not be happy with the result – these games are exercises in giving players match practice and trying various combinations and set plays. As Sam stressed a week or two ago – he didn’t mind if he lost all the pre-season friendlies – the real test starts on August 11th at Bolton Wanderers.
Newcastle United: Harper (Krul), Carr (Bertram), Rozehnal (Huntington), Ramage (Francis), Nâ€™Zogbia, Dyer (Troisi), Barton (Lough), Solano, Butt (Geremi), Carroll, Martins (LuaLua).
Subs (not used): Milner, Forster.
Referee: Mike Pike