Newcastle Men’s 2nd XI stormed to a 6-3 win against Leeds Trinity 1st XI on Wednesday night in a hard-fought game at Cochrane Park. Newcastle’s passing game and strong use of the wings was too much for a Leeds side who appeared to model their style of play on the famous 70’s “Dirty Leeds” team of Billy Bremmer et al.
Newcastle got off to a good start, creating several chances in the opening minutes and getting their breakthrough in the 9th as Harry Wood latched onto a cross from the left to put them 1-0 up.
Newcastle smelt blood when, in the 13th minute, a Leeds midfielder got sent to the sin bin for ten minutes for dissent. They took full advantage as the Leeds defence were laid under siege, trying in doomed desperation to withstand wave after wave of attacks as Newcastle scored three in six minutes; a lovely cross-cum-shot into the far corner by Will Corner and two for Tom Romano to put Newcastle in a commanding 4-0 lead.
But the tables turned as Leeds pulled one back in the 28th minute, winning the ball off the Newcastle keeper as he played out from the back and slotting home. Newcastle’s grip on the game faded further when two minutes later Wood was sent to the sin bin for kicking the ball away, despite the fact that, to most spectators’ eyes, he looked to have been pushed by the Leeds defender, knocking the ball away as he attempted to keep his balance.
Leeds took control and a 31st minute long range goal, put right into the top bin, brought them back into the game. Leeds continued to dominate for the rest of the half, with Newcastle’s few attempts at breakaways thwarted by questionable offside calls made by the linesman Leeds provided. As the first half drew to an end Leeds’ questionable sportsmanship was shown to be shared by their management as an over-enthusiastic Leeds coach was given a talking to by the ref, booked, and told to calm down or risk being sent back to the dressing rooms.
The second half started frenetically as the game verged on becoming bad-tempered. Leeds, 4-2 down at the break, clearly felt they needed to make their presence felt to put Newcastle off their game. This seemed to be succeeding as between blatant acts of foul play they appeared to be taking control of the game. The pressure paid off 12 minutes into the second half as they scored, putting themselves only 1 goal behind Newcastle and injecting nerves into a Newcastle dugout that’d been flying high only half an hour earlier.
Newcastle responded by introducing fresh legs, with both wingers replaced in a 65th minute double substitution. It seemed to help as Newcastle got a foothold on the game once more and 10 minutes later paid off spectacularly as Regan Cooper latched onto a cross from the right to give Newcastle some breathing room. Two minutes later Romano put the game to bed, latching onto a nice ball in behind the Leeds defence and stroking home past the keeper to complete his hat-trick. A demoralised Leeds struggled for chances in the last 15 minutes and Newcastle cruised home to a 6-3 victory.
The result brings Newcastle’s points tally up to 4 from the 2 games they’ve played in the Men’s Northern Tier 2B this season and the dominance they showed for large periods of the game should give them encouragement for the season ahead.