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Newcastle Res 1 LIVERPOOL RES 1

Report by Dave Usher



Scorer(s) - Vincent Weijl

Half Time – 0-1

Venue – Whitley Park

Date - Mon Nov 24 2008

Star Man – Mikel San Jose













Krisztian Nemeth returned to action to give Gary Ablett’s side a huge boost, but a stoppage time equalizer from Newcastle’s Andy Carroll then provided them with a massive kick in the teeth. Dutch winger Vincent Weijl had given the reds the lead just before half time, and several gilt edged chances were spurned before Newcastle’s last gasp leveler.


The result was harsh on Ablett’s lads as they certainly deserved the three points, but as the first team have found out to their cost on a couple of occasions this season, if you don’t take your chances you will often pay a heavy price. Despite the disappointment, there were things to take heart from the game, not least the first half display of Weijl and the overall performances of the excellent Mikel San Jose and Steve Irwin.


Right back Emanuel Mendy can also be happy with the shift he put in on his reserve team debut, and of course there is the return of Nemeth. Nevertheless, to concede a goal so late on is clearly a bit of a heartbreaker and the side will be anxious for the next game to come around so they can get this out of their systems.


The teamsheet had a somewhat unfamiliar look to it with captain and vice captain both absent. Stephen Darby was ruled out by injury, and Jay Spearing was training with the first team and may well make the subs bench for the game with Marseille this week. Martin Kelly is another in contention for that game, whilst Jordy Brouwer joined them both in training with the seniors, even though he is ineligible for the Champions League clash.


Quite why Brouwer was called up to train with the first team is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps Rafa feels the players spirits need lifting after the disappointment of the Fulham game, and that seeing Jordy at close quarters will give them a good laugh? Actually that’s cruel and I shouldn’t have written it. I actually like Jordy, largely because I see a lot of my own game in his. I’m a lazy goalhanger with no pace and a cool as fuck hairband too.


So with those four regulars missing, and Ronald Huth also absent due to an international call up, Ablett had to delve into his large squad for replacements. Ayala was drafted in at centre back in place of Kelly, with Mendy replacing Darby and Irwin coming into the middle of the park for Spearing. Hungarian Andras Simon was given a rare start up front in place of Browuer.


On the plus side, Ablett was able to call on El Zhar, Plessis and Insua though, as the UEFA homegrown rule meant none of those could be included in the Champions League squad.


Newcastle didn’t have any household names in their line up, other than experienced back up keeper Steve Harper. Centre half David Edgar and striker Carroll both have some first team experience, but aside from those it was an inexperienced Geordie line up.


The early stages were dominated by the home side. Seven minutes in they should have taken the lead, when Zamblera picked out Carroll with a long pass, and the striker quickly shifted the ball on to left winger Sammy Ameobi – brother of Shola. His left foot shot was poor however and rolled harmlessly across the face of Peter Gulacsi’s goal.


Eight minutes later Newcastle were in again, but Carroll refused to shoot on his right foot and ended up trying to play a pass to a team-mate and Liverpool managed to smother the danger.


Carroll is a very good player, and he gave us a lot of trouble in the youth cup a couple of years ago. I thought he’d have progressed more than he has, but he’s still got time on his side I guess.


It took a while for Liverpool to get going, and they didn’t threaten the Newcastle goal until the 28th minute, when a delightful flick pass from Pacheco found Irwin on the edge of the box, and his low drive almost caught Harper out when it bounced up off a divot. The keeper just did enough though.


Carroll continued to cause the reds defence problems, most notably Daniel Ayala who had a torrid first half (he was much better after the break however). On 33 minutes Carroll got in again, and cut the ball back to Inman, but his first touch wasn’t assured on the bobbly pitch, and San Jose managed to get out and make a crucial block.


The reds weren’t creating much in forward areas, and although Simon ran around a lot he contributed little in the way of quality. His best – and worst – moment came ten minutes before the break, when he did well to get away from his marker and run towards goal. He had two players who had bust a gut to get up and support him, but he sliced a shot with his left foot that almost went out for a throw in.


The game looked to be headed for the half time break goalless, then out of nothing Liverpool went in front. Pacheco took a quick free kick and played the ball left to Weijl. His first touch was to knock the ball past his man, and he had the pace to then latch onto it and surge into the box before drilling a low shot past Harper into the bottom corner. A great goal, and once again Weijl had been his side’s most dangerous looking forward player.


The goal must have lifted the boys’ confidence, as they had an extra spring in their step in the second half, and Newcastle were reduced to hitting long balls and only threatened from set pieces, mainly due to the aerial prowess of Carroll.


Seven minutes after the break a long throw was flicked on by Carroll into the path of Doninger, but he couldn’t keep his shot down. Liverpool responded immediately, and Weijl beat his man before delivering a great cross to Pacheco, but his header was poor.


The little Spaniard then turned provider, when he controlled a high ball and then lobbed a perfect pass into the path of El Zhar. His first touch was superb, his second was just as good as he went round the keeper, but he failed to take the shot when it was on and eventually cut the ball back into the arms of the backtracking Harper.


Newcastle immediately broke upfield and Carroll went through again. San Jose did really well to get back at him and just did enough to take the sting off his shot and avert the danger.


Ablett then introduced Duran for the injured Mendy, meaning Irwin reverted to right back, a role that he has played very well for the u18s in the past.


Duran almost created a goal immediately, carrying the ball forward and then sliding a pass into the feet of Pacheco. He should have used his left foot, but instead tried to take the shot really early and casually poked it with his right foot. Pacheco has some fine attributes, but a clinical finisher he is not.


Nemeth came on to replace Simon, and looked pretty sharp. His movement was very good, and he showed some nice touches. The one opportunity he had saw him drag a shot well wide. It wasn’t a sitter by any means, but usually he finds the bottom corner with those, so clearly he’s still understandably a bit rusty.


Plessis then saw a header cleared off the line following an El Zhar corner, as Liverpool remained in control and seemed in little danger. However, as the game went into stoppage time, Newcastle forced a free-kick on the right wing. It was sent in towards Carroll, but the striker headed wide when he should have done better.


Then with seconds remaining the home side were awarded another free-kick in a similar area. Once more Carroll was the target, and this time he got the better of San Jose and made no mistake with his header.


It was gut wrenching for Ablett and his side, but if El Zhar or Pacheco had taken the glorious chances they had, the game would have been safe. That’s the lesson that has to be learned, but aside from that the lads didn’t do much wrong.


Star man was a toss up between Irwin and San Jose. Weijl would have been in the mix too had he not faded badly, as for an hour he was a real threat to the Newcastle defence.


Irwin battled really well in midfield, and ended up playing the last ten minutes carrying a bad knock. He stayed on, as that’s the kind of lad he is, and it was great to see him finally get a chance to play as so far this season he’s only had about ten minutes of reserve team football, and one (maybe two?) under 18 game. If he is to develop his game he has to play more football than he has been.


As impressed as I was with Irwin though, I think San Jose just shaded it as far as the star man award goes. The only blemish was losing out on that header to Carroll in stoppage time.




Team: Gulacsi; Mendy (Duran), Ayala, San Jose, Insua; El Zhar, Irwin, Plessis, Weijl; Pacheco (Bruna), Simon (Nemeth):

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