Doncaster 2 Newcastle 2
Written by Newcastle Utd
Ayoze Perez struck in the final minute as United fought back from two goals down to record a draw at Doncaster
By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At the Keepmoat Stadium
Doncaster Rovers 2 (Williams 19 pen, 45)
Newcastle United 2 (Hayden 51, Perez 90)
Ayoze Perez struck in the final minute as Newcastle United fought back from two goals down to record a 2-2 draw at Doncaster Rovers in a pre-season friendly.
The Magpies looked set for defeat against their League Two opponents but Perez had other ideas and, as the game ticked into stoppage time, he netted from ten yards in front of more than 2,000 travelling supporters.
Earlier, Andy Williams' first half double had put the hosts firmly in control at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The former Swindon and Hereford front man grabbed his first of the evening from the penalty spot, converting after Magpies keeper Matz Sels fouled John Marquis.
And his second came with almost the last action of the half, heading home at the far post as United failed to deal with a corner.
Shortly after the interval Isaac Hayden volleyed in via a deflection, and after Dwight Gayle, Perez and Florian Thauvin all threatened, Perez finally popped up with an equaliser.
Manager Rafa Benitez will be pleased with the response of his side and will be hoping for another positive result when they travel to Belgian side Lokeren on Saturday.
A disjointed opening spell saw both teams attempting to keep the ball but lacking a killer pass in the final third.
It took until the 15th minute for the first chance of any note, when Armstrong edged ahead of his marker at the near post to meet Matt Ritchie's cross with an instinctive shot.
However, the England under-19 international was denied by Rovers stopper Ross Etheridge, with Jamaal Lascelles heading the resulting corner off target.
The hosts launched an immediate response but ex-Magpie James Coppinger curled a 20-yard free-kick over the wall and well over the bar, too.
However, Doncaster broke the deadlock in the 19th minute from the penalty spot.
In attempting to punch clear a loose ball, Sels bundled over John Marquis and referee Ross Joyce had no hesitation in awarding a spot-kick, which Williams despatched low into the bottom corner.
Armstrong attempted to get Newcastle back on level terms but, with the half-hour mark approaching, sent an ambitious left-footed strike comfortably wide of the far upright.
Mitrovic then connected with Jack Colback's inswinging delivery but couldn't get enough power on his downward header to trouble Etheridge.
In the 35th minute Colback swivelled and found the target with a low strike, which was well held by Donny's keeper, while Etheridge then did well to beat away an Armstrong drive after the young forward had raced in behind the hosts' rearguard.
Etheridge saved his best for right on the stroke of half-time, as he got down well to his right to smother Mitrovic's shot which looked to be heading in.
And that was to prove crucial as, with seconds remaining, Doncaster doubled their advantage.
A deep corner was met by defender Andy Butler, completely unmarked, and as he headed back across goal, Williams was on hand at the far post to nod home.
United boss Rafa Benitez made seven changes at half-time and one of those - Hayden - almost gave the travelling fans something to cheer about in the 50th minute.
Picking up the ball 20 yards out, the summer signing sent a low drive arrowing towards the bottom corner, only for the fingertips of Donny substitute keeper Marko Marosi to brilliantly turn it round the post.
However, Hayden wasn't to be denied and from Gouffran's resulting corner the former Arsenal man hooked home a volley, with the aid of a deflection.
Newcastle suddenly had impetus and Armstrong out-muscled Craig Alcock before bearing down on goal, but Marosi stood his ground well.
With further changes from each side and a couple of nasty injuries for Rovers pair Harry Middleton and Craig Alcock - which saw both players stretchered off - the game became disjointed.
It took the Magpies a little time to get back into their stride. Dwight Gayle edged inches offside to meet Florian Thauvin's brilliant delivery, while Ayoze Perez dragged an effort against the foot of the post with Marosi wrong-footed.
On 78 minutes, Gayle met Jesus Gamez's cross with a first-time shot which was well saved by Marosi at his near post, shortly before the keeper raced off his line to thwart Thauvin.
There was still time for one final chance, however, and that fell Perez's way. In a crowded penalty area, the Spaniard kept his composure to cut back onto his favoured right foot and send a shot beyond the despairing grasp of Marosi.
Doncaster Rovers (3-5-2): Ross Etheridge (Marko Marosi 46); Craig Alcock (Joey McCormick 68), Joe Wright (Mitchell Lund 37), Andy Butler; Matty Blair (Riccardo Calder 46), Harry Middleton (Reece Fielding 62), James Coppinger (A Trialist 64), Tommy Rowe (Liam Mandeville 46), Cedric Evina (Tyler Garratt 46); John Marquis (Joe Pugh 64), Andy Williams (Will Longbottom 64)
Subs not used: None
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Matz Sels; Daryl Janmaat (Jamie Sterry 46), Chancel Mbemba (Henri Saivet 68), Jamaal Lascelles (c) (Paul Dummett 46), Vurnon Anita (Jesus Gamez 46); Jonjo Shelvey (Georginio Wijnaldum 79), Jack Colback (Isaac Hayden 46); Matt Ritchie (Yoan Gouffran 46), Adam Armstrong (Florian Thauvin 62), Rolando Aarons (Ayoze Perez 46); Aleksandar Mitrovic (Dwight Gayle 46)
Referee: Ross Joyce
Attendance: 5,698 (2,252)