The Newcastle second team welcomed York St John's first team to Cochrane Park as they looked to get their BUCS campaign off to a positive start following their promotion last year. St John's brought with them a physically imposing team that looked far more experienced than their hosts' side that saw five newcomers named in the starting lineup.
Newcastle started well as the visitors seemed content with allowing Newcastle to dominate the ball as they moved it from side to side with ease, without really creating anything of note.
15 minutes in, however, and St John’s were in dreamland. Loose play in Newcastle’s final third presented the visiting side with a golden opportunity and they finished their chance with conviction as their number 10 slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
Newcastle however were unfazed by this setback and the game reverted to the previous rhetoric of Newcastle dominance, although this time they were starting to threaten the visitors' goal.
Newcastle’s attacking options were creating great opportunities and the pressure finally told as good work out wide found Olly Schofield who drove the ball home with his weaker left foot from just inside the 18-yard box.
But parity was not to last too long in the game as, with what was their first passing move of the game, St John’s worked it well from left to right and the visiting number 7 found himself in space inside the Newcastle area and he converted his rebound following a good save from his initial effort. At half time St John's were leading their hosts 2-1.
"Newcastle were the dominant side but found themselves under constant threat as the game gathered pace"
Following what was a relatively cagey affair in the first half, both sides came out after the interval with the intent of scoring goals.
St John’s started the half well and were not going to rest on their one goal advantage as they took the game to Newcastle, which suited the hosts as they would look to take advantage of a more expansive approach from the visitors that would leave holes in their defence.
Again, Newcastle were the dominant side but found themselves under constant threat as the game gathered pace and developed into a thoroughly enjoyable affair.
The good work of Newcastle came unstuck by the same frailties that cost them in the first half. Another wayward pass saw the number 10 played one-on-one with the keeper and again he finished well to make the game 3-1.
"Newcastle new boy Niza, who converted at the back post to send Newcastle faithful delirious"
Newcastle still had around 20 minutes of football to play so the result was far from beyond them and coach Swinyard made full use of his substitutes as he completely changed the look of Newcastle’s attack. And boy did it pay off. Veteran substitute Rob Winrow came on and caused havoc in the St John defence as his physical prowess gave Newcastle a focal point in their attacks.
It was good play from Winrow that enabled fellow substitute Blackburn to be set free down the right and he drove the ball expertly across the keeper. 3-2 with 10 to play.
It was at this point that both teams seemingly abandoned any defensive responsibility as Newcastle swarmed forward and created chances at will. Only for York to reciprocate the favour in the next attack. With the goals of both teams gaping, neither team could produce the killer blow.
That was until Blackburn was again set free down the right and he unleashed a venomous drive that the keeper could only parry to Newcastle new boy Niza, who converted at the back post to send Newcastle faithful delirious.
Not content with the point, Newcastle continued to pile forward in search of the logic-defying winner. And they were so nearly rewarded for their brave efforts as a goalmouth scramble presented the ball at the feet of Strang who got his shot off, only to be pushed onto the post by the keeper and agonizingly trickle across the goal line and hit the other post with nobody in royal blue there to pounce and keep all three points in Newcastle.
Full time 3-3.