Adam Campbell scores at Berwick

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Berwick Rangers 1 (McLaren pen, Currie)
Newcastle United Reserves 1 (Campbell)

A few yards away from Berwick's Shielfield Park ground, a funfair is taking place this weekend - but Newcastle United were the big show in town on Friday night.

Adam Campbell was the main attraction - the 17-year-old was the only Magpies player with first-team experience and netted once again to continue his fine start to the season - while a sideshow was offered by forward Dan Rickard, who was handed a trial. And children of all ages were invited as Adam Armstrong made a second-string debut at the age of just 15.

But it proved to be something of a rollercoaster for Willie Donachie and Peter Beardsley's young side, who took the lead through Campbell before Fraser McLaren and Lee Currie helped the hosts come from behind in an entertaining friendly in front of 309 spectators.

McLaren - scorer of a famous goal in the hosts' 1-1 draw with Rangers earlier in the season - had the first chance of the game as he tested Jak Alnwick after four minutes, but the Magpies keeper got down to save comfortably.

But as the visitors started to settle, Bradden Inman placed a shot just wide as he looked to carry on where he left off following his hat-trick against Stoke on Monday before captain Conor Newton's crossfield ball allowed Steven Logan to deliver from the right and Rickard headed narrowly over the bar.

Then on 11 minutes, Dennis Knight intercepted a loose pass from McLaren on the halfway line, held off a challenge and slipped a ball through for Campbell. The flame-haired forward's pace took him clear and he side-footed clinically past Berwick keeper Youssef Bejaoui.

McLaren almost atoned when he teed up Phil Addison for a shot but Alnwick was again well-positioned to hold onto the powerfully-hit strike before Damien Gielty blazed over for the Scottish Third Division side.

And as Berwick got up a head of steam, Devon Jacobs fired a free-kick over before McLaren slipped in Kevin McDonald, whose shot was parried by Alnwick at his near post.

Knight curled a free-kick way over the bar after Inman had been fouled before Lubo Satka was adjudged to have fouled John Ferguson in the box and McLaren blasted the ball down the middle to equalise.

Logan sent a 20-yard shot straight at Bejaoui and then, after Inman's clever chipped pass, Campbell misjudged his attempted volley and connected with nothing but fresh air. Finally, just before the break Alnwick had to make a good stop to deny the dangerous McLaren as the teams went in level at the interval.

Armstrong came on for his second-string debut at half-time and shortly after the restart, Michael Riley combined with Inman before crossing for Rickard, whose attempt for force the ball home from close range was somehow thwarted by Bejaoui.

Then from Knight's left-wing corner, Curtis Good's header was cleared off the line. At the other end, McDonald's cross-cum-shot crept just wide for Berwick before Addison's attempted lob failed to catch out Alnwick.

On 65 minutes, Rickard played in Campbell who cut the ball back for Inman. The Aussie's first touch was superb and his second, a shot from ten yards, was superbly saved by Bejaoui, who then denied the same player again six minutes later as he blocked a low effort from the edge of the box.

But Berwick took the lead on 77 minutes as Lee Currie stole in on the left-hand side of the box to dink the ball over Alnwick.

Inman, so clinical at the Britannia Stadium four days previously, then had four opportunities to score. First, he saw a shot hacked off the line after Campbell's cut-back, then he struck across the face off goal twice in quick succession.

And when his goalbound shot was somehow diverted over by a defender, it was clear that it wasn't going to be his - or Newcastle's - evening.

In stoppage time, Campbell made room for a shot from just inside the box only for his curling effort to be pushed away before Knight was narrowly off-target with the final opportunity of the match.

Newcastle United Reserves: Jak Alnwick, Steven Logan (Adam Armstrong 46), Lubo Satka, Curtis Good, Michael Riley, Conor Newton (c), Bradden Inman, Michael Richardson, Dennis Knight, Dan Rickard (Alex Gilliead 76), Adam Campbell

Subs not used: Jonathan Mitchell, Ryan McKinnon, Jonathyn Quinn