Newcastle 3 Vitesse 2
Written by Newcastle Utd
Newcastle United ended their pre-season campaign with a 3-2 victory over Vitesse at St. James' Park
By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 3 (Leerdam og 22, Gayle 36, Colback 41)
Vitesse 2 (Nathan 53, Kashia 61)
Newcastle United ended their pre-season campaign with a 3-2 friendly victory over Vitesse at St. James' Park.
Dwight Gayle and Jack Colback were both on target, to add to a Kelvin Leerdam own goal, as the Magpies took control against their Eredivisie opponents.
And although Vitesse gave them a scare in the second period with two goals in eight minutes from Nathan and Guram Kashia, United held on for the win.
The deadlock was broken midway through the half when Matt Ritchie's angled drive was turned past his own goalkeeper by the unfortunate Leerdam.
And that opened the floodgates somewhat, with Gayle pouncing on a loose ball inside the area to clamly finish, before Colback headed home Ayoze Perez's cross.
While the first half performance was patient, assured and clinical, Newcastle took their foot off the gas in the second and were almost made to pay.
First, Nathan tapped in from close range after a corner made its way through to the Chelsea loanee at the far post, and then, as the Magpies failed to deal with another set-piece, Vitesse captain Kashia volleyed in.
But the hosts were resolute in the closing stages and complete their warm-up games unbeaten, with four wins and a draw.
Five of United's six summer signings were named in the starting line-up and Belgian arrival Matz Sels was called into action in the sixth minute as the visitors conjured up the first chance of the afternoon.
Chelsea loanee Lewis Baker sent a 20-yard free-kick heading into the top corner but goalkeeper Sels had other ideas, flying to his left to acrobatically turn the ball over the bar.
Newcastle responded immediately, racing up the other end to win a free-kick of their own in an almost identical position.
However, it had the same outcome too, as Ritchie bent a low shot around the wall which sneaking in until the intervention of Elroy Room's fingertips.
Paul Dummett then glanced Perez's corner across goal and narrowly wide of the far upright, shortly before the Spaniard went close himself, rising well under pressure but heading straight at Room.
And the Magpies finally broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute when a deep cross found its way through to Ritchie at the far post.
The winger struck a half-volley across the face of goal which clipped the shins of full-back Kelvin Leerdam, steering it into his own net.
That settled Newcastle into their stride and as Vitesse struggled to cope with the movement and threat of Perez, Ritchie and Gayle, the latter doubled the advantage.
A swift, attacking move saw Daryl Janmaat feed Perez just inside the area, and although the forward was halted in his tracks by Leerdam, the loose ball fell kindly at the feet of Gayle, who steadied himself before lifting a shot over the onrushing Room.
And with four minutes of the half remaining it was three.
Perez was given time and space to drive into the area but, instead of attempting to curl an effort into the far corner, he intelligently - and unselfishly - picked out Colback unmarked at the back post, who headed home.
That was it for the first half, but five minutes into the second period United almost bagged a fourth - and what an outstanding team goal it could have been.
It all started with Grant Hanley way back on the byline, and the Magpies proceeded to play out from there with short, sharp passing involving Vurnon Anita, Janmaat and Perez cutting the visitors open.
The ball eventually found its way to Ritchie six yards out but his first-time shot was well blocked by a Vitesse defender.
On 53 minutes the Dutch side gave themselves a lifeline. Kosuke Ota's corner was helped on and Chelsea loanee Nathan arrived unmarked at the far post to apply a simple finish.
And they grabbed a second just past the hour mark when the hosts failed to deal with a free-kick delivered into the box and captain Kashia swivelled to volley home.
Newcastle were in serious danger of completely throwing away a three-goal lead and only some last-ditch defending prevented that.
First, Janmaat blocked a half-volley from Navarone Foor that was heading for the back of the net, and then - from the loose ball - Jonjo Shelvey got a vital deflection on Marvelous Nakamba's follow-up.
That, along with a raft of substitutions, seemed to spark the Magpies back into life.
They almost forced another own goal when Room saved brilliantly from his own player, Ricky van Wolfswinkel, and from the resulting corner the goalkeeper did well to smother Aleksandar Mitrovic's powerful downward header.
But there were to be no more goals at either end as Newcastle recorded their fourth win from five pre-season fixtures - the other ending in a draw.
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Matz Sels; Daryl Janmaat (Jamie Sterry 74), Grant Hanley (Jesus Gamez 62), Jamaal Lascelles (c), Paul Dummett; Isaac Hayden (Henri Saivet 74), Jack Colback (Jonjo Shelvey 62); Vurnon Anita (Yoan Gouffran 74), Ayoze Perez (Adam Armstrong 62), Matt Ritchie (Rolando Aarons 62); Dwight Gayle (Aleksandar Mitrovic 74)
Vitesse (4-3-3): Elroy Room; Kelvin Leerdam (Julian Lelieveld 72), Guram Kashia, Arnold Kruiswijk, Kosuke Ota; Marvelous Nakamba, Lewis Baker, Valeri Qazaishvili (Navarone Foor 46); Milot Rashica, Yuning Zhang (Ricky van Wolfswinkel 62), Nathan (Mitchell van Bergen 72)
Subs not used: Jeroen Houwen, Michael Tornes, Lassan Faye, Maikel van der Werff, Thomas Oude Kotte, Mo Osman, Arshak Koryan, Abiola Dauda
Referee: Sebastien Stockbridge
Bookings: Newcastle - none; Vitesse - none