THE result in pre-season is always irrelevant but Newcastle United would have a right to feel frustrated with themselves after a 1-0 defeat to National League North York City.

The Magpies banged on the Minstermen’s door for large portions of the afternoon but Michael Duckworth’s header in the 87th minute meant they started pre-season with a defeat.

It was a sweltering hot afternoon in York with temperatures reaching 27 degrees.

Newcastle fielded a strong side, one you would say wouldn’t be far off the team they’d pick for their opening game of the Premier League season with the exception of Allan St Maximin, who started the game on the bench.

It was a big day for 6ft 7 inch young goalkeeper Dan Langley who was in between the sticks. He was the Magpies only senior goalkeeper in absence of four others in the Newcastle squad. Martin Dubravka is suffering with a foot injury while Karl Darlow, Freddie Woodman and Mark Gillespie are all self isolating after Darlow’s positive COVID-19 test.

Newcastle had the ball in the net in the first eight minutes when a looping corner created some head tennis in the box. The ball found Federico Fernandez who headed back across goal for Kell Watts who nodded home but Fernandez was adjudged to be offside.

The bad news for Newcastle in the first half was seeing Joelinton limp off on 17 minutes after receiving a knock.

His replacement Dwight Gayle was part of a bit of build-up play which carved out an opening for Ryan Fraser moments later. Jeff Hendrick’s through ball found Fraser in behind the York defence. The onrushing keeper Ryan Whitley was beaten by Fraser’s 30 yard dink but the outside of the post wasn’t. Unlucky from the Scotsman.

Langley was called into action minutes later and was on hand to prevent full-back Duckworth. His low strike inside the box was palmed wide by the youngster.

It’s fair to say that Newcastle were brushing off the cobwebs. Quite a number of their starting eleven hadn’t played a competitive match since May but there were further chances in the first period. Murphy’s back post header was denied by Whitley while Hendrick was released from a counter attack only to be denied by the Minstermen’s keeper. He was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the first half.

Allan St Maximin and Jamal Lewis were introduced for the second half and the Frenchman the Minstermen why he’s such a danger straight from the off. He jinked and jived his way passed three players through the heart of the pitch before being hacked down on the edge of the box. Ritchie’s resulting strike was blocked by the wall.

York City did cause problems and Clayton Donaldson had a great chance. A cut back from Paddy McLaughlin found the veteran striker on the edge of the box but his low effort was crucially blocked by Fernandez.

Newcastle struggled to break through the rigid York defence so they nearly had to resort to the Minstermen doing them a favour when Olly Dyson tried to head behind for a corner and forced keeper Whitley to tip over the bar.

Steve Bruce’s men had further chances when Gayle’s glancing header from a corner went just wide and Ritchie had another firm shot was blocked by the keeper. The Magpies just couldn’t find a way through.

St Maximin really should have scored after his driving run teed up a one-two with Gayle breaking free from the York defence. Or at least that’s what he thought as his low strike in the box was blocked by a last ditch sliding challenge.

Their frustration was compiled when Scott Barrow’s lovely curling cross was met by the head of former Hartlepool defender Duckworth. His terrific header rooted keeper Langley and flew into the top corner.

The result stayed how it was. The result may still be irrelevant but Steve Bruce will have plenty to ponder going into the remainder of their pre-season schedule.