New era and a new hip
After the turmoil, trials and tribulations of the past few months it was nice to see the lads finally back in action and doing their talking on the pitch. Big Sam sent out a total mixed bag of a team, switching in both halves, and gave debuts to Joey Barton and David Rozenhal. Up front for the first half Andy Carroll and Oba played the 'big man-little man` combo we can expect to see next season, whilst the right and left sides of midfield were packed with pace with Dyer and N`Zogbia.
Whilst the first half ended goalless it can`t be said it wasn`t entertaining. Carroll went close a couple of times and Joey showed he is going to be an all action player by bursting into the box and missing with a diving header.
The second half began with a raft of substitutions, as the front two were switched as Shola and Owen came on with Given and Rozenhal also being withdrawn for Harper and Solano. Harps quickly picked the ball out the back of the net however as James Brown definitely felt good by leathering the ball in on the volley.
However after that the Pools got a bit of a battering, as Shola netted twice and Owen scored his first goal in Newcastle colours for about a year and a half. Barton again showed a tremendous amount of energy before being given a rest in the 74th minute.
As Sam said however, he doesn`t care about the friendlies. Whilst happy at Shola and Owen warming up it was only a little more strenuous than what they normally do up at Benton. Still a promising start and some good bows for Barton and Rozy and some blooding of the young guns. Let`s hope for more of the same at Brunton Park on Saturday.