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Gateshead 0 Newcastle United Under-23s 3

Written by Rory Mitchinson

Newcastle United Under-23s’ encouraging start to pre-season continued as goals from Yasin Ben El-Mhanni, Victor Fernandez and Dan Ward saw off Gateshead.

Having won 2-1 at Darlington in their opening friendly earlier this week, Peter Beardsley’s side never looked back after taking an early lead through El-Mhanni.

By that point, they already should have been a goal to the good. Liam Smith took the ball beyond Gateshead ‘keeper James Montgomery and squared for Ivan Toney, but the frontman failed to connect properly and Neill Byrne managed to clear.

Five minutes later, though, the Magpies broke the deadlock. Fernandez outpaced Theo Vassell on the left flank and cut the ball back for El-Mhanni, who picked out the far corner from just inside the area.

The Heed took their time to get going but, just shy of the half-hour mark, Danny Johnson forced Nathan Harker into a low stop after connecting with Jamal Fyfield’s cross.

Jordan Preston then fired wide of the far post after surging into the area, but the National League side found themselves further behind at the break.

Fernandez – having just returned from the first team’s training camp in Ireland – cut inside from the left flank and curled the ball beyond Montgomery in stylish fashion.

United continued to look the more threatening as the second half got underway, and it wasn’t long before they netted again.

Ward – a half-time replacement for Fernandez – held his line deep on the left and squeezed the ball beyond Dan Hanford – the Heed’s substitute ‘keeper.

Like his counterpart Neil Aspin, Beardsley shuffled his pack in the following exchanges, with the likes of Owen Bailey, Lewis McNall and Craig Spooner – all regulars for the Magpies’ Under-18 side last season – among those to enter the fray.

Newcastle’s back four started to come under a little more pressure, with Jordan Burrow and Richard Peniket both heading off-target for the home side.

Peniket then found a pocket of space just inside the area, but could only fire straight at Otto Huuhtanen, who had just come on for Harker.

Burrow almost pulled one back for the Heed with five minutes remaining, but glanced the ball narrowly wide of the near post after meeting Wes York’s low cross.

Newcastle United Under-23s: Nathan Harker (Otto Huuhtanen 70), Callum Williams (Michael Newberry 57), Macaulay Gillesphey (Kyle Cameron 57), Jack Hunter (Owen Bailey 67), Curtis Good (Stefan O'Connor 46), Stuart Findlay (Josef Yarney 57), Yasin Ben El-Mhanni (Craig Spooner 67), Dan Barlaser (Mo Sangare 67), Ivan Toney (Lewis McNall 67), Liam Smith (Luke Charman 57), Victor Fernandez (Dan Ward 46).

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