Bradford City 0 Newcastle United 4
Newcastle United recorded their second victory of pre-season on Wednesday night, as a Jacob Murphy brace helped them earn an emphatic 4-0 win at Bradford City.
Despite having played some excellent football during the first half, it took until four minutes after the break for the Magpies to take the lead at the Northern Commercials Stadium, as Dwight Gayle turned home Christian Atsu’s cross.
Recent recruit Jacob Murphy then added a quickfire second for Rafa Benitez’s side, before Aleksandar Mitrovic added a third with quarter of an hour left and Murphy blasted home an eye-catching fourth to complete the rout.
The hosts – who handed Newcastle loanee Alex Gilliead a start against his parent club – had begun brightly, with former Middlesbrough full back Tony McMahon forcing a fine early stop from Rob Elliot with a speculative 30-yarder that looked to be looping in.
Matt Ritchie, in his first appearance of pre-season, and Jonjo Shelvey both shot straight at Colin Doyle soon after as United responded, and Gayle almost broke the deadlock after bringing down a long ball from Florian Lejeune superbly before firing just past the post.
And though the Magpies did eventually find the net midway through the half, they saw it ruled out. Shevey, authoritative in the centre of the park, beat his man on the right and fired goalwards with the outside of his foot, but referee Geoff Eltringham ruled that the shot had brushed the arm of Ayoze Perez on its way into the bottom corner.
A Ritchie cross from the right then brushed the crossbar and Gayle’s curling effort flew just over, but with the deadlock still intact at the break, Benitez made three changes. DeAndre Yedlin, Matt Ritchie and Perez were withdrawn, with Javier Manquillo, Mohamed Diame and Murphy introduced.
And although the Bantams came out fighting after the restart, with Jake Reeves finding the sidenetting, it was United who finally seized the advantage just under five minutes into the second period. Atsu’s low cross from the right was turned goalwards by Gayle, and the ball just crossed the line before Doyle could scoop it back out.
And barely a minute later, the visitors made it two. Gayle played a part, threading a pass through the City defence which allowed Murphy to calmly round goalkeeper Doyle and roll home his first goal in black and white.
Further changes were made on the hour, with Freddie Woodman, Jesus Gamez, Chancel Mbemba, Rolando Aarons, Siem de Jong and Mitrovic entering the fray. A clever free kick from de Jong gave Ciaran Clark a sight of goal, but the centre back’s instinctive effort cleared the crossbar.
The game’s pace slowed in the final quarter but Benitez’s men retained the upper hand with ease, and added a third when Aarons’ pace and persistence saw him get on the end of Clark’s hopeful long ball and square for Mitrovic to tap home into an unguarded net.
And with just over ten minutes left, Murphy added extra gloss to the victory, smashing home a fourth after some more fine play from Aarons down the left had opened up the Bradford backline.