Mehdi Abeid scores against Gateshead

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Gateshead 1 (Cummins 28)
Newcastle United Reserves 4 (Abeid 6, Amalfitano 23, Newton 71, Maddison 72)

It was a Good night all round for Newcastle's second-string as they registered a convincing pre-season friendly win over Gateshead.

Australian defender Curtis Good made his Magpies bow a day after completing his move from Melbourne Heart and slotted in effortlessly, but it was fellow new boy Romain Amalfitano who grabbed the headlines with a glorious first goal in black and white.

The Frenchman - part of a strong second string which also included Gael Bigirimana, Rob Elliot and James Tavernier -  netted United's second after running from inside his own half.

Mehdi Abeid had put the visitors a goal up after six minutes with an equally impressive strike, but Micky Cummins pulled one back to set up an exciting second half. However, Conor Newton and Marcus Maddison netted after the break to give Willie Donachie and Peter Beardsley's side the win.

Elliot made a smart early save at his near post to deny Liam Hatch, but after that it was virtually all Newcastle and Abeid gave them the advantage when, after his initial pass towards JJ Hooper was cut out by James Curtis, the ball fell perfectly for him to lash home a strike from the edge of the area which almost upended the goal posts.

The Algerian ace then shot tamely at former United junior Adam Bartlett after Bradden Inman's clever pass before Amalfitano brought a comfortable save out of the Heed keeper.

Amalfitano's yellow boots may have matched the shirts of the opposition but everything he touched was finding a black and white team-mate as the Frenchman showed some wonderful vision and deft touches.

And in the 23rd minute, he capped his first-half showing with a goal. Abeid's pass found him inside the centre-circle and he showed great skill to flummox two defenders and race in on goal before scoring with a powerful finish.

But five minutes later, and somewhat out of the blue, the hosts replied through former Darlington midfielder Cummins, who rifled home from ten yards after Glen Wilson's long throw-in wasn't cleared.

And on the stroke of half-time, Hatch headed wide from another long throw, this time from Paddy Boyle.

Four minutes into the second half, it took a superb block from skipper Paul Dummett to preserve United's lead as James Curtis stole onto Boyle's free-kick only to see the Newcastle defender on the line.

That sparked a spell of Heed pressure, with sub Yemi Odubade shooting just wide of the far post after dispossessing Bigirimana, Ryan McGorrigan sending a Boyle cross over the bar and then Boyle heading over from a Odubade centre.

But on 70 minutes Maddison - a half-time replacement for Amalfitano - saw a shot deflected over before planting the resulting corner onto the head of Newton, who powered home.

And seconds later, Maddison made it 4-1 as he lobbed the ball over Bartlett. There was still time for another run-out for comeback kid Liam Henderson and the Heed kept on going until the very end, but it was a commanding performance and a deserved win for Newcastle.

Gateshead: Adam Bartlett, Paddy Boyle, James Curtis, Ben Clark (c), Glen Wilson (Carl Magnay 46), Nathan Fisher (Ryan McGorrigan 46), Jamie Chandler (James Marwood 60), Micky Cummins (Chris Bush 46), Phil Turnbull, James Brown (Josh Gillies 46), Liam Hatch (Yemi Odubade 46)

Subs not used: Jordan Nixon, Lewis Galpin, Luke Carr, Lance McGlen

Newcastle United Reserves: Rob Elliot, Michael Richardson, James Tavernier, Curtis Good (Michael Riley 78), Paul Dummett (c), Romain Amalfitano (Alex Nicholson 46), Gael Bigirimana, Conor Newton (Dennis Knight 78), Bradden Inman, Mehdi Abeid (Liam Henderson 84), JJ Hooper (Marcus Maddison 46)

Subs not used: Jak Alnwick, Steven Logan, Brandon Miele

Referee: Scott Duncan

Attendance: 1,274