After last week’s commanding victory over Manchester that got Newcastle off to the desired start for this year’s BUCS campaign, this Wednesday saw them travel to West Yorkshire as they faced newly promoted Leeds Beckett who were coming off the back of a 5-4 victory in their first outing.
The Headingley campus is a traditionally tricky venue for the Newcastle side whose task was made that little bit harder by some important absentees due to injury and academic commitments.
However, such is the strength of this year’s squad that Newcastle were able to bring in Theo Pizzarro and Yiannis Poullis who have represented the youth teams of Gibraltar and Cyprus respectively.
Not to be outdone by Newcastle’s international pedigree, the hosts had Premier League referee John Moss on hand to officiate the afternoon's proceedings. And following Mr Moss’ whistle to get the game underway it was Newcastle who started the better, as they threatened with their attractive combination of patient build-up play and penetrative forward passes.
It took until the stroke of half-time for the Newcastle defence to be troubled.
It didn’t take long for Newcastle to start creating chances as the quick switch out wide to Walden that was so effective last week was employed again and he floated across a ball that arrived upon the unmarked head of Thomas on the six-yard line but unfortunately he wasn’t able to get the desired connection and the Beckett defence went unpunished.
Newcastle were in control of the game and starting to create chances with referee Moss waving away claims for a penalty after what looked like a foul on Yiadom, as the Beckett defence struggled to cope with the physical prowess of the striker. The final big chance of Newcastle’s dominance fell to Woodier as his left foot shot trickled wide after good play to find himself in space in the Beckett box.
The home side then grew into the game as the Royals began to find it difficult to find their rhythm on what was a lively pitch that seemed to hamper the footballing exploits of Newcastle. It took until the stroke of half-time for the Newcastle defence to be troubled as Hesketh blocked a shot in his own 6-yard box. Apart from that, it was comfortable as Mairs and debutant Yiannis marshalled the right-hand side of the defence, which the hosts seemed to favour attacking.
Newcastle threw everything at the game to get the winner.
The second half started in the same manner as the first ended. Beckett continued to put pressure on Newcastle without troubling Patterson in goal as the visitors struggled to find the free-flowing football that the Royals faithful have grown to expect. Both sides were looking threatening until they reached the opposition box.
That changed midway through the second half as Newcastle started to ramp up the pressure as they searched for the goal. And Yiadom provided as he converted from close range after a good drive from the dynamic Zylko who saw his looping effort pushed onto the bar and down into the goalmouth as the striker tapped in to claim his third BUCS goal in two games.
Newcastle would have been confident in defending their lead and escaping with all three points but some lackadaisical defending from a deep Beckett free kick presented the ball to the opposition winger who somehow found the bottom corner with the outside of his boot in what looked like a fortunate result from a mishit cross.
Newcastle threw everything at the game to get the winner with the best chance of the final period falling to Yiadom who blazed over from inside the box at the death, which meant the Royals had to settle for a draw. A decent result against a team who will take points off Newcastle’s rivals, as attention turns to next week’s hosting of title contenders Liverpool John Moore’s.