Yoan Gouffran

 

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor

At the Westpac Stadium

 

Wellington Phoenix 0

Newcastle United 1 (Gouffran 41)

 

Newcastle United have won the Football United Tour 2014 after Yoan Gouffran's first half header was enough to see off Wellington Phoenix on Saturday.

The Frenchman nodded home Vurnon Anita's cross in the 42nd-minute and that proved to be the difference between the sides at the Westpac Satdium.

The result was harsh on the Phoenix, however, who looked bright throughout and created numerous openings. But they were let down by a combination of poor finishing and two superb saves from goalkeeper Rob Elliot.

It was a second victory from as many games for the Magpies, who defeated Sydney FC 4-0 on Tuesday, and Alan Pardew's men were the only side in the tournament to win both of their matches.

United lined up in a 3-5-2 formation, but with just one change to their personnel from Tuesday's comfortable victory over Sydney FC - Mehdi Abeid replacing Rolando Aarons.

Wellington almost took a surprise lead on five minutes, with only a last-ditch tackle from captain Fabricio Coloccini denying Nathan Burns as the ball broke to the forward at the far post.

But that scare seemed to spark Newcastle into life - albeit only briefly.

Alan Pardew's side raced straight up the other end, with Siem de Jong dipping a 20-yard strike inches over the top, before Massadio Haidara flashed a cross through the six-yard box, and Riviere poked an angled effort into the arms of goalkeeper Glen Moss.

Phoenix had beaten West Ham earlier in the week, however, and showed they were more than capable of causing another upset in the tenth minute - Tyler Boyd having a close-range effort blocked by Steven Taylor before screwing the loose ball well wide.

The hosts were growing in stature at the half progressed and got into a number of threatening positions, the best being Alex Gorrin's off-target strike from eight yards following a rapid break down the left.

Just past the half-hour mark, Wellington captain Andrew Durante rose highest to meet Gorrin's free-kick from the right, but could only thump a powerful header narrowly over.

With half-time approaching, Gouffran almost put the Magpies ahead against the run of play. With the Phoenix struggling to clear their lines, he found the ball at his feet on the edge of the area and forced Moss into a fine fingertip save to divert the ball behind.

But the French forward was not to be denied for a second time and broke through three minutes before the break.

A well-worked short corner saw Jack Colback feed Anita, and when the Dutchman clipped a delivery into the heart of the penalty area, Gouffran was on hand to loop a header home via the inside of the post.

That was harsh on Wellington, and ten minutes into the second half, only a brilliant save from Elliot prevented them from getting back on level terms.

When the ball was worked out to Brockie on the left-hand side of the area, the front man took a touch before firing a low drive towards the far corner. It looked a certain equaliser but Elliot somehow got the slightest of touches, tipping the ball out for a corner.

If that save was good, then Elliot's next stop wads even better. A defence-splitting pass but Brockie through one-on-one, his strike was good but Elliot superbly prung off his line to block with his outstretched arm.

United had offered precious little going forward in the second period but suddenly created a couple of openings.

First, Anita drove a 25-yard effort just over, before substitute Ayoze Perez blazed well off target following an eye-catching run from fellow replacement Rolando Aarons.

Both teams made a raft of substitutions which affected the flow of the match but United held firm to record another win and another clean sheet.

 

Wellington Phoenix (4-3-3): Glen Moss; Manny Muscat (Josh Brindell-South 86), Ben Sigmund, Andrew Durante (c), Thomas Doyle; Tyler Boyd (Jason Hicks 72), Albert Riera, Alex Gorrin (Michael Boxall 76); Louis Fenton (Matthew Ridenton 62), Jeremy Brockie (Alex Rufer 84), Nathan Burns (Kenny Cunningham 72)

Subs not used: Lewis Italiano, Roy Krishna, Andrew Blake

 

Newcastle United (3-5-2): Rob Elliot; Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c) (Haris Vuckic 78), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Lubo Satka 65); Vurnon Anita, Yoan Gouffran (Adam Campbell 85), Mehdi Abeid (Rolando Aarons 46), Jack Colback, Massadio Haidara (Paul Dummett 76); Siem de Jong (Ayoze Perez 33), Emmanuel Riviere (Adam Armstrong 65)

Subs not used: Jak Alnwick, Freddie Woodman

 

Referee: Matthew Conger

Bookings: Wellington - none; Newcastle - Yanga-Mbiwa (50)

 

Attendance: 30,968