Newcastle got the game underway defending the end where the Toon Army was gathered, and the game started slowly with the temperature around 76 degrees F.
Newcastle’s French Trialist Sebastien Bassong made two good clearances in the first few minutes, and gets his game off to a good start.
Smith then passed the ball wide to Geremi out on the right wing with stacks of space and the Newcastle captain controlled well with his chest, before delivering one of his excellent crosses which Smith just didn’t get close enough to.
The game is evenly matched, much like the game last week at Hartlepool in the first half, and after 25 minutes Bassong again does well, and even gets a pat on the back from goalkeeper Steve Harper, for his beautifully timed clearance inside the six-yard area from a testing Woods’ ball.
The young Frenchman had started very well, and is certainly looking the part in the early stages of the game.
Well it doesn’t surprise us as the Toon Army, who were providing most of the entertainment with their songs, started chanting “46, give us a wave” and that echoes around the Keepmoat Stadium.
They had obviously taken an immediate liking to Bassong, the French defender playing at center-back, and was wearing number 46.
On 35 minutes Doncaster came close to scoring, following a good corner from Woods. It was met by the head of Gareth Taylor, who looked to have scored but Harper clawed the ball away brilliantly from his top corner, and somehow stopped the ball from entering the net.
The ball was still loose and fell to the unmarked Guy on the corner of the six-yard area, but he badly sliced his shot into the Newcastle crowd behind the goal, much to their delight.
But it was a good chance for Doncaster, and Guy should have done a lot better with the opportunity.
The game seemed to be following the pattern of last week’s game at Hartlepool, and Newcastle were starting to get on top in the sweltering heat.
As half time approached, Newcastle almost scored when Geremi’s beautiful delivery was turned on to his own crossbar by a Doncaster defender from inside the six-yard box.
Luckily for Doncaster it bounced behind for a corner, which Geremi took but former Wimbledon and Scottish International goalkeeper, Neil Sullivan, who is now 38, dashed from his line to collect the ball nicely.
Most of the entertainment has been the singing of the Toon Army, and their latest chant before half time was “If 46 scores we’re on the pitch” and they are obviously impressed with the young Frenchman, on trial at Newcastle, whoÂ looked impressive in the first 45 minutes.
The half time whistle finally blew, and the best entertainment had come from the Toon Army – and Sebastien Bassong, who has done himself a lot of good, at least in the first 45 minutes.
Impressive for Newcastle had also been Danny Guthrie, who has hardly wasted a ball in the first half, and looks more than good in the middle of the park. This boy looks like a winner.
We look for Newcastle to increase the tempo of the game in the second half.
Shola Ameobi’s brother Tomi, started the second half for Doncaster.
After 51 minutes N’Zogbia went on one of his mazy runs from inside his own half, and went past at least 3 Doncaster players, but once inside the penalty area, he badly miscued on his final shot, which went well wide.
But it was a good run from the young Frenchman.
On 57 minutes Dutchman Tim Krul was brought on for goalkeeper Steve Harper.
And Krul was immediately brought into action as he dived full-stretch across his goal to divert Stuart Elliott’s 25-yard effort around the upright. It was a great save from the flying Dutchman, so soon after coming on.
On 64 minutes Claudio Cacapa made way for David Edgar.
A minute later Krul had to be on his toes again as he rushed out from his line to get to the ball before the onrushing Tomi Ameobi, after the young striker had been played in by John Spicer’s nice chip.
On 66 minutes Geremi put in another good cross and ball seemed to bounce off Ameobi and onto the post, with Neil Sullivan beaten.
But the Rovers’ keeper was able to collect the ball directly off the post, and it was a lucky escape by Doncaster.
Ameobi should have put Newcastle in the lead after 73 minutes when he cut inside a Rover’s defender, and had just Sullivan to beat.
But Shola elected to shoot too early, and couldn’t direct his effort around the former Wimbledon goalkeeper. That was a good chance for Shola and he should really have done better.
N’Zogbia was doing his best to get Newcastle a goal, and he made two good runs into the box, but couldn’t direct the ball into the net.
Charles on 76 minutes drifted easily by two Rovers players, midway inside the opposition half, but his 20-yard effort was wild and spun away for a goal-kick.
And then after 78 minutes his run and shot saw his bullet left-footer crash into the side-netting from a narrow angle. It was nevertheless a good effort by the youngster, who was looking menacing again.
On 79 minutes 18 year-old Ben Tozer replaced captain-for-the-day Geremi, who had a good work out and put in some excellent crosses.
Guthrie was playing well for Newcastle and after 84 minutes he put in a great cross but Ameobi’s header went well wide of the Doncaster goal.
And then it happened, and it was a poor mistake from Spaniard Jose Enrique that gave Doncaster the victory.
It was a hopeful punt forward that should have been easily cleared by Enrique but he hesitated, as he seems to do on occasion, and Stuart Elliott was able to steal the ball before curling it around goalkeeper Tim Krul, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
To give away a poor goal late in the game is almost always fateful.
And so it was, when after 2 minutes of added time, the referee blew the whistle and Newcastle tasted their first defeat in pre-season.
Newcastle were nowhere near as good as last week, but Kevin Keegan will have leaned more about his players after this performance.
Doncaster Rovers: Neil Sullivan; Robbie Hall, Trialist, Trialist, Gareth Roberts; James Coppinger, Richie Wellens, James Hayter, Martin Woods; Gareth Taylor, Lewis Guy,
Subs: James O’Connor, Adam Lockwood, Mark Wilson, Stuart Elliott, Paul Heffernan, Craig Nelthorpe,John Spicer;
Newcastle United: Steve Harper, Steven Taylor, Claudio Cacapa, Sebastien Bassong, Jose Enrique, Damien Duff, Danny Guthrie, Geremi (c), Charles N’Zogbia, Shola Ameobi, Alan Smith
Subs: David Edgar, Frank Wiafe Danquah, Ben Tozer, Callum Morris, Tim Krul, Mark Doninger, Ryan Donaldson, Jonny Godsmark