Read the Match Report from Southend United's pre-season friendly v Newcastle UnitedMatch Sponsor: DeVines Accountants
Southend United fell to their first defeat of pre-season as they lost 2-0 to a strong Newcastle United side at Roots Hall.
A tight affair was settled by two second half goals from Vernon Anita and substitute Yoan Gouffran.
Blues lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with Adam Barrett captaining the side. In opposition Southend faced a strong Newcastle starting XI in a 4-2-3-1 set-up with new signing Grant Hanley on the bench.
Southend fashioned the game’s first chance – a delicious John White cross was nearly turned into his own net by Mbemba. The defender’s header looped over keeper Darlow, but was wide of the target on 6 minutes.
England international, Shelvey stung the palms of home debutant keeper Mark Oxley on 12’ – The midfielder hit a rasping shot on the half volley from 20-yards which was tipped over by the stopper.
Just past the 20-minute mark Daryl Janmaat went on the attack. The Full back cut inside on to his left and dragged his shot wide of the goal.
Newcastle were controlling possession midway through the first period. Perez found a yard in the box on 24’ but saw his shot deflected into the grasp of Oxley.
Newcastle fans behind the goal thought they had scored on 31’, but Gayle's close range effort was inches wide.
Blues then went close three minutes later. Trialist almost met the corner but had a second attempt from long range which went over the bar.
Back came Newcastle with Perez who ran at the defence on 41’. The Spaniard angled a shot on the right hand side of box which sailed just past Oxley’s left post.
That was the final chance of the half as neither side could break the deadlock thus far.
Half Time: Southend United 0-0 Newcastle United
There were two subs for Blues at the start of the second half - Barrett and Trialist off for Thompson and Trialist.
Blues were behind inside three minutes of the restart. Atkinson was robbed off possession by Anita just outside the box, who then went on to a smash a terrific strike past Oxley and into the left-hand corner.
That spurred the visitors on to go in search of more - White stopped the ball dropping to Shelvey inside the box on 51’ - putting it out for a corner to the visitors which was defended well.
On came Simon Cox and David Mooney for Williams and Trialist just past the hour mark in an attempt to bring Blues an equaliser. Newcastle also making a host of changes as Hanley came on to make his Toon bow.
The game became very gritty with neither side controlling the game in the midfield. Stephen McLaughlin fresh from his brace at the weekend, replaced Jack Bridge on 68’.
The subs rang out for both sides as Newcastle enjoyed some good build-up play on 78’. The ball fell to Gouffran on the edge, who hit a low strike into the bottom right hand corner to double the Tynesider’s lead.
Blues attempted to respond. Mooney threaded the ball through to McLaughlin who failed to get a clear connection and saw his effort loop up into the arms of Darlow.
Then Cox tried his luck on 83’ hitting a low right-footed effort which Darlow got down well to his right to save.
Blues finished the game on top, Darlow producing a wonder save to prevent Mooney pulling a goal back in the last minute. O’Neill picked the striker out well in the box who hit a blistering volley which Darlow somehow managed to stop.
SOUTHEND XI | Oxley, White (Demetriou 74’), Trialist (Thompson, 45’) Barrett (Trialist 45’), Coker (Kyprianou 78’), Bridge (McLaughlin 68’), Atkinson (Batlokwa 78’), Leonard (Bedford 83’), McGlashan (O’Neill 74’), Williams (Cox 62’), Trialist (Mooney 62’).
SUBS | Smith, Demetriou, Thompson, Trialist, Kyprianou, O'Neill, McLaughlin, Batlokwa, Mooney, Cox, Wabo, Bedford.
Newcastle United | Darlow, Janmaat (Sterry, 62’) Mbemba (Hanley 62’), Lascelles (c), Dummett, Hayden (Armstrong 62’), Anita, Aarons (Colback 62’), Shelvey (Saivet 73’), Perez (Mitrovic 73’), Gayle (Gouffran 62’).
SUBS | Sels, Sterry, Hanley, Saivet, Colback, Gouffran, Thauvin, Armstrong, Mitrović.