Tough to put Stoke win into words, admits Beardsley
Written by Rory Mitchinson
Peter Beardsley was left to reflect on a Jekyll and Hyde performance as Newcastle United Under-23s got their Premier League 2 Division Two campaign up and running with an extraordinary win at Stoke City.
The Magpies trailed 3-2 with a quarter of an hour to go after letting a two-goal lead slip, but late efforts from Mo Sangare and Owen Gallacher – both substitutes – swung the pendulum back their way.
They had started promisingly at St. George’s Park, with Liam Smith opening the scoring early on and Luke Charman adding a second five minutes before the break.
However, they conceded with virtually the last kick of the first half – a moment which Beardsley identified as the catalyst for a remarkable second.
“Until two or three minutes before half-time – when we gave a goal away – we were very comfortable and playing really well,” he told nufc.co.uk. “The goal gave Stoke a lift going into the dressing room. You’ve seen it at every level of football – it makes a difference.
“For the next 20 to 25 minutes, we were all over the place. We didn’t defend well, we didn’t put them under enough pressure, and they took advantage of it. They were dominating and they looked the more comfortable. We should have defended better, so I’m disappointed there.
“When you put two substitutes on and they both score, it is pleasing. That is what your bench is for – you expect your bench to make a difference, and tonight it did. Coming back from 3-2 down, I’d have settled for a 3-3 draw, I really would have.
“Fair play to them. They lost their way a bit early in the second half, but they came again and got the result that they probably deserved.”
The Magpies headed to St. George’s on the back of an unbeaten pre-season campaign, but Beardsley insists his troops are only looking forward as they aim to put last year’s near-miss to one side.
“When I played for Liverpool, all they used to say was that the first game is the only one that matters,” he said. “Pre-season is important, absolutely, but the only game that matters is the first one, and to win away on the first day – at any level – is really good.
“We’ll enjoy this over the weekend and start afresh on Monday. We’re going to West Bromwich Albion next Friday where the routine will be the same again, and we will look forward to that.”
"Until two or three minutes before half-time – when we gave a goal away – we were very comfortable and playing really well. The goal gave Stoke a lift going into the dressing room, and for the next 20 to 25 minutes, we were all over the place."