Newcastle got the game underway defending the end where the Toon Army was housed, 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 Hartelpool 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 has 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 are providing most of the entertainment with their songs, are chanting “46, give us a wave” and that echoes around the Keepmoat Stadium.
They have obviously taken an immediate liking to Bassong, the French defender playing at center-back, who is wearing number 46.
On 35 minutes Doncaster come close to scoring, following a good corner from Woods. It’s met by the head of Gareth Taylor, who looks to have scored but Harper claws the ball away from his top corner, and somehow stops the ball from entering the net.
The ball is still loose and falls to the unmarked Guy on the corner of the six-yard area, but he badly slices 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 seems to be following the pattern of last week’s game at Hartlepool, and Newcastle are starting to get on top in the sweltering heat.
As half time approaches, Newcastle almost score when Geremi’s beautiful delivery is turned on to his own crossbar by a Doncaster defender from inside the six-yard box.
Luckily for Doncaster it bounces behind for a corner, which Geremi takes but former Wimbledon and Scottish International goalkeeper, Neil Sullivan, who is now 38, dashes 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, who has looked impressive in the first 45 minutes.
The half time whistle finally blows, and the best entertainment has come from the Toon Army – and Sebastien Bassong, who has done himself a lot of good in the first 45 minutes.
Impressive for Newcastle has 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.
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