A LITTLE bit of Remy Cabella magic in the dying moments prevented a frustrating defeat to Championship opposition tonight for Newcastle United.
Cabella made the most of a late chance to dink a lovely chip over goalkeeper Joe Murphy to level things up when Huddersfield Town had threatened to end their pre-season preparations by defeating a Premier League side.
Newcastle had taken the lead when Emmanuel Riviere headed in his third for the club when the Magpies looked strong and full of decent ideas.
Huddersfield levelled with half-time on the horizon when debutant Radoslaw Majewski curled in a brilliant finish and then former Sunderland striker Jon Stead put the hosts in to the lead 25 minutes from the end. But then Cabella struck.
Another Riviere goal, this time playing in the hole behind lone striker Facundo Ferreyra, was one of the early bright spots of the night for Newcastle, while young substitutes Rolando Aarons and Ayoze Perez injected greater urgency going forward. While it was an opportunity for Daryl Janmaat to make his first appearance in a Newcastle shirt following his £5m move from Feyenoord a few weeks ago, his introduction also meant Alan Pardew could name his best line-up of pre-season so far.
With Riviere looking lively in his first few outings, he was asked to drop behind latest first team recruit Ferreyra at the John Smith’s Stadium to allow the Argentine to make his first start since joining on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk.
That did not prevent his attacking partner from adding to his pre-season tally of goals, however. Riviere stooped low inside the six yard box to nod in Yoann Gouffran’s cross following some effective work from Remy Cabella in the 17th minute.
Newcastle started positively, spraying passes around well from back to front, but then a moment of magic from Huddersfield’s Majewski levelled things up. He turned inside the area and curled perfectly in to Tim Krul’s top left corner eight minutes before the break.
Huddersfield, who start their Championship season against Bournemouth at home on Saturday, brought on a completely different line-up for the second half, with the much-travelled Stead getting a couple of half chances.
But Newcastle had greater control of possession, with Jack Colback and Moussa Sissoko linking well in centre midfield in the absence of the injured Cheik Tiote. There were occasional flashes of Cabella’s talent on the ball too, although Newcastle never looked at full throttle.
Janmaat had also been solid and willing to join in with attacks before he was withdrawn nine minutes after the restart, but Newcastle struggled to create clear cut chances. In fact Huddersfield would have gone ahead earlier had Krul not got down low to gather a drive from Duane Holmes.
Huddersfield did not have to wait too much longer. When Stead was sent clear, the chance appeared to have gone when he decided to side-step to his left. But his shot took a deflection off Fabricio Coloccini and lifted beyond the keeper 25 minutes from the end.
After that Aarons – who had a decent shout for a penalty waved away when he darted beyond his man and shot wide - and Perez made a couple of exciting runs in to the home box, but Huddersfield goalkeeper Joe Murphy rarely had anything to seriously test him.
But then Cabella was played in behind the defence with just Murphy to beat, he lifted it over him and the keeper’s touch could only help it in to the net with three minutes left.
Huddersfield (first half): Smithies; Smith, Lynch, Smith, Peltier, Dixon; Majewski, Hogg; Norwood, Scannell, Ward; Wells. (Sub used all at half-time): Murphy; Hammill, Stead, Wallace, St Ledger, Lolley, Holmes, Sinnott, Crooks, Carroll, Billing.
Newcastle: Krul; Janmaat (Yanga-Mbiwa 55), Williamson (Taylor 64), Coloccini, Haidara (Dummett 64); Colback (Abeid 64), Sissoko; Gouffran (Aarons 55), Riviere (Perez 71), Cabella; Ferrerya (Obertan 55). Subs: Elliot (gk).