Southend 0 Newcastle 2
Written by Newcastle Utd
Second half goals from Vurnon Anita and Yoan Gouffran earned United a friendly victory at Southend on Tuesday
By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At Roots Hall
Southend United 0
Newcastle United 2 (Anita 48, Gouffran 78)
Newcastle United continued their fine pre-season form with a 2-0 friendly victory at Southend United on Tuesday night.
Second half goals from Vurnon Anita and Yoan Gouffran proved to be the difference at Roots Hall, and it was no less than the Magpies deserved for a performance in which they were comfortable throughout.
A frustrating first period saw Jonjo Shelvey, Ayoze Perez and Dwight Gayle all spurn decent chances against their League One opponents. But Anita made no mistake three minutes after the break, firing home a glorious strike from distance.
Further chances came and went before Gouffran put the result beyond any doubt with a fine, individual goal that nestled in the bottom corner.
And manager Rafa Benitez will be hoping his side can finish their warm-up games unbeaten as they entertain Dutch side Vitesse on Saturday.
Southend applied some heavy early pressure but United weathered the Shrimpers' storm and created the first chance of the evening in the 12th minute through Shelvey.
A defensive clearance found its way to the midfielder 20 yards out and Shelvey struck a brilliant volley which was heading for the top corner until the intervention of Mark Oxley's fingertips.
Gayle then headed an Perez corner over the bar and Daryl Janmaat fired a low, long-range effort wide as the Magpies finally began to settle into the contest.
Perez had scored three goals in his previous two outings and almost broke the deadlock on 25 minutes, brilliantly taking down Janmaat's chipped pass but seeing his subsequent shot plucked out of the top corner by Oxley.
At the other end, Karl Darlow had to be alert to save a looping header from Trialist A after Ben Coker had sent a free-kick deep into the penalty area.
Back Newcastle were soon back on the front foot Gayle was inches away from giving the visitors the lead when he slid in at the near post to meet Janmaat's delivery but rippled the side netting rather than the back of it.
And with half-time approaching Perez threatened again. Having eased his way past two defenders wide on the left, the Spaniard raced towards the area and tried to bend one in the top corner but couldn't get his strike on target.
Less than three minutes of the second half had elapsed when United finally broke through and it came from an unlikely source.
Winning possession around 35 yards out, the midfielder was given time and space to stride forward before unleashing a rocket that flew past the helpless Oxley.
Around the hour mark a raft of substitutions arrived from both sides, including the introduction of Grant Hanley for his first appearance since his switch from Blackburn Rovers.
Another of those, Gouffran, blazed an acrobatic volley wildly over the bar, while Shelvey was much closer with a curling long-ranger that Oxley had to beat away to safety.
And in the 78th minute the lead was doubled, as Gouffran dribbled his way into the area before driving a low, angled strike into the bottom corner.
With time ticking away, Darlow preserved the Magpies' clean sheet with an outstanding save - somehow turning David Mooney's volley over the bar after the forward had connected unmarked from six yards.
Southend United (4-2-3-1): Mark Oxley; John White (c) (Jason Demetriou 75), Trialist A (Trialist C 46), Adam Barrett (Adam Thompson 46), Ben Coker (Renei Batlokwa 78); Ryan Leonard (Joe Bedford 84), Will Atkinson (Harry Kyprianou 78); Jack Bridge (Stephen McLaughlin 68), Trialist B (Simon Cox 62), Jermaine McGlashan (Luke O'Neill 75); Jason Williams (David Mooney 62)
Subs not used: Ted Smith, Norman Wabo
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Karl Darlow; Daryl Janmaat (Jamie Sterry 63), Chancel Mbemba (Grant Hanley 63), Jamaal Lascelles (c), Paul Dummett; Jonjo Shelvey (Henri Saivet 73), Isaac Hayden (Jack Colback 63); Vurnon Anita (Florian Thauvin 78), Ayoze Perez (Aleksandar Mitrovic 73), Rolando Aarons (Yoan Gouffran 63); Dwight Gayle (Adam Armstrong 63)
Subs not used: Matz Sels
Referee: Keith Stroud