Strange day in Hartlepool has happy ending

By Lee Ryder on Jul 19, 08 06:57 PM

Kevin Keegan's side were expected to win comfortably at Victoria Park but in the way that only Newcastle United can manage, they still made hard work of their friendly win over Pools.

The League One side ran rings around Newcastle in the opening 40 minutes and but for some hard graft from James Milner in the middle and some dogged defending by Steven Taylor at the back, they could have been further behind than 1-0 after Matty Robson opened the scores.

Untypically for a pre-season friendly, the rain lashed down at the Vic and a pre-game storm raised doubts whether the game was actually in danger of being called off

Yet it was all fine by the end and after Damien Duff levelled before the break, Hartlepool's confidence seemed to evaporate.

The second half resulted in Danny Guthrie pulling on a Toon top - purple for those who weren't there - for the first time and a surprise introduction for Shola Ameobi.

Guthrie showed some good touches and within eight minutes he'd set up Duff for number two and bagged his first Toon goal - not a bad start for the former Liverpool man.

Duff bagged a hat-trick by the end but notably Shola showed some decent touches and was afforded a warm reception by United fans.

Yet he somehow missed an easy chance when it was easier to score in the second period.

Toon fans best chant of the day had to be: "If Shola scored we're on the pitch."

Remember the Geordie supporters belted this one out at Cheltenham in the FA Cup a couple of years ago, with Shearer close to beating Wor Jackie's record.

And with Shola's days numbered at Newcastle, unusually, Toon fans may get to cheer a farewell goal before the season is out.



hadrian . said:

milner in the niddle you say ?
great stuff, his stamina and both feet should lead him to becomming a great bos to box midfielder under keegan .

hadrian said:

ohh, the press would have us belive we have burned our bridges with duff , after his house on the market and being supposedly pimped around the premiership .
really hope that if keegan wants him to say we hold onot him for at least another season .

ourman said:

I travelled down and it was a decent runout but how bad is Alan Smith. He's a striker but have you ever seen him try to get on the end of anything? Absolutely awful.

Carl said:

Nice to finally see some football, and a decent win to try and build on. A surprising display from duff and nice to see Guthrie contribute something to the team on his first game, all in all a usefull game in terms of building confidence and fitness. But I cant help worrying about next season, our squad is wafer thin and with Mr Billionaire tightening the purse strings i cant really see us signing the 5 players we need, never mind the quality we need. Losing out to Aimar to Benfica of all clubs last week was a kick in the teeth. Im all for building for the future and trying to control the wage bill, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere, if you offer low wages your gunna get low quality players, doesnt Ashley realise this??? Last i heard he had 1.9 Billion in the bank, failing to spend at least 50 million of that on transfers is just greed im afraid, how much money does one man need, wearing your black and white shirt in the stands may fool some but im quite sure most people see him for what he really is, a business man who doesnt really care too much about football.

STEVE said:

WEVE got to be happy with a tidy win against low opposition,surprising display from DD and a good outing from the boy Guthrie.BUT....Its great to see KK speaking out on transfers,and,how right he is.I think the man isnt in the driving seat as regards transfers. To CARL,mate,we all think the same with the ashley thing......we think football,he thinks£££££££££££.we all gonna be here long after him.... howay the toon.

bigas9 said:

in a week or 10 days Mr Ashley will surprise us all watch this space .........

M. Sebastian T. said:

I'm starting to wonder what the chances are that Newcastle and Pools will be in the same division after the coming season. Truth is that Toon are making heavy weather of everything these days and perhaps soon there will be a lot less people who think KK still has GOT IT.

ron lambert said:

A win's a win, and they become a habit if continued, well done lads. I've always maintained that ANY player under the influence of KK can only get better. Now it appears that all of last season's deadwood bar Smudger have taken up Kevs challenge. Duff at last looking like the player we thought we'd bought, Zog hopefully realising that this place could take off big under Kev and Milner given the respect he should've had. Pity Kev hadn't arrived before Nobby left, he might even have gotten him to stay in with his missus more nights. But all in all, KK's said that there'll be 4 or 5 more signings before the season starts, what were we worried about?

scotty said:

i hope so mr bigas9 i really do.we keep hearing "if the right player comes along " M.A will put his hands in his pocket, lets just hope its deep!!! modric wasnt cheap and we nearly had him. i dont think money is the problem.Haway the lads!!!

phil matues said:

I think alan smith is a good player ...or was!...but is totally lacking in confidence,lets all give him a break and hopefully he regains that confidence and then we can move him on in january.Sadly he is more a sunderland type of player than a toon one!

Anonymous said:

Ashley is a waste of time. He's reducing the wage bill to make the balance sheet look better than it is. He's trying to reduce his current liabilities by reducing wages payable. This is so he can sell the club, despite his protests.

The man is a fool because he doesn't realise that everyone who buys into a football club knows the score. Reducing wages of star players demotivates and causes them to seek transfers. Ashley is successfully putting us back several years by his stupid policy of transfer target by committee. Keegan very rarely bought a bad player. Dennis Wise isn't exactly known for his management expertise nor transfer successes. What qualifies him to select players over a man who has had his team challenge for the PL?

Ashley needs to either stump up the cash or get out of town (OK he's based in London, but you know what I mean!) People moaned about Freddy, but at least he backed the manager because he was a fan. All you who bemoaned him should now realise he had his own interests at heart and one of those was Newcastle United.

Brad said:

i trust kev to bring in the right players i think the signing of guthrie is a good choice, young, english and a passionate lad. i watched jonas for mallorca when they played madrid and he looked a real good player. Although not big names were not at the level we once were and these players are the start to building us to the team we once were. An anton ferdinand and stephen warnock would be fantastic and a creative midfielder perhaps somebody like arda turan although the links on him have gone cold. We need no more strikers oba says hes staying, mo's close to agreeing a new deal and dukes isnt to far away from a return. As with mike ashley i think he will back kk as the previous writer has writen we were close to signing modric wich was a deal estimated of around 16.5m so i think there are no worrys over that. Also, im fed up of people saying keegan isnt in control over the transfers unless your working for the nufc then how does anyone possibly know? i havnt heard kev come out and say 'i didnt want him' or 'not my choice'. The national newspapers are just trying to make us look like a club going down when infact i strongly beleive we are on the up. I dont think top 6 is out of are reach and is a very real possibility.

Gerry Hagon said:

Strange day indeed. Who would have put money on a DD hatrick against any opposition? He was like a new signing, running off the ball, taking shots, workrate excellent, encouraging other players, I could go on. I hope that the chat I had after the match with a few supporters is not typical and does not produce that awful SJP disease (booing our own players), I heard a lot last year.

All the talk about KK's involvement in transfers is pure waffle - we do not know - and we can only say that at least the set up looks professional and buying young for the future is absolutely sensible. In fact if Guthrie continues as he has started he looks a bargain.

Leave it to Ashley and KK. For the first time since the FS/DH days we have expectations of better things.


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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