Wigan Cosmos and Goose Green FC

The two amateur football teams affected by anti-social behaviour prior to Newcastle United's Barclays Premier League fixture at Wigan Athletic in March have taken to the St. James' Park pitch as special guests of the Club.

Wigan Cosmos and Goose Green FC had their respective South Lancashire Counties Premier Division games abandoned and equipment including corner flags, nets and balls damaged or stolen by travelling supporters who encroached onto their pitches after alighting from unofficial fans' coaches close to the DW Stadium.

After being made aware of the incident, Newcastle United officials not only stepped in to ensure both clubs were not out of pocket, but also invited the sides to the North East to play against one another on the St. James' Park pitch less than 24 hours after the Magpies' final game of the season against Arsenal.

In a closely-fought contest on Tyneside, Wigan Cosmos edged the game 2-0 with goals either side of half time from Liam Dainty and Chris Needham.

John Pendlebury, manager of Wigan Cosmos, said: "You would never want what happened to happen to your club but there couldn't have been a better outcome. For me and the players to be here is mind-blowing.

"The support we have had from the Geordie public is phenomenal. I don't think any other club in the country would've responded the way Newcastle United and its fans have."

Colin Clark, manager of Goose Green FC, said: "To bring my team here is just fantastic. Some people never get the chance to come to a ground like this.

"The way Newcastle United have dealt with us has been absolutely first class. Everything that's been done for us and that has been arranged has been brilliant."

A Newcastle United spokesperson said: "It was extremely disappointing to hear about the incidents which affected both clubs prior to our fixture at the DW Stadium in March. These are clubs which exist because of the hard work and dedication of volunteers and they deserve the same respect as any other club, whether professional or at grassroots level.

"We are delighted that the clubs accepted our invitation to visit us and play at St. James' Park and we wish them every success for next season and beyond."