Huddersfield Town 2 Newcastle United 2: Neil Cameron's match analysis

It may just have been a dress rehearsal, but there was plenty for Newcastle United to be positive about at Huddersfield

Paul Thomas/Getty Images Fabricio Coloccini in action for Newcastle against Huddersfield
Fabricio Coloccini in action for Newcastle against Huddersfield

This wasn’t quite a dress rehearsal for the new Premier League season. More like, well, a simple rehearsal.

The final go-through takes place this Sunday when Newcastle United face Real Sociedad, seven days before it all begins for real.

However, last night was as strong an XI as Alan Pardew could have put out, with only Siem de Jong and Cheick Tiote missing of those you would think are in for a shout of being in the XI a week on Sunday. Both have knocks.

Maybe as many as 10 who began at the John Smith’s Stadium will begin against Manchester City. So this was a chance to see how things are. They are not perfect.

Daryl Janmaat was seen for the first time. Remy Cabella was also there along with Jack Colback, Facundo Ferreyra and Emmanuel Riviere.

It was by far the ‘best’ team the manager has put out all summer.

So how did they get on? Well, there were some really good bits and a few moments of real concern.

If you are a ‘glass half full’ type of person, you would say it will be alright on the night. If cautious pessimism is your thing, then the sloppiness at the back would not have gone unnoticed. It needs to be addressed.

For the first half-hour Newcastle played some really good stuff. Then fell out of the game. Those of a black- and-white persuasion will hope that fatigue played a part, which it probably did.

Paul Thomas/Getty Images Daryl Janmaat in action for Newcastle against Huddersfield
Daryl Janmaat in action for Newcastle against Huddersfield
 

Let’s concentrate on the positives for a moment.

There were some encouraging signs that Newcastle will be far closer to the team that challenged for the top six, rather than the one that so meekly finished the season.

Cabella enjoyed himself. He likes a wander and once he gets completely up to speed could be a joy to watch. Sissoko was strong in the middle of the park, which is where he belongs, while Janmaat and Massadio Haidara did well on either side of the defence.

At times the players moved the ball about well, mostly along the ground, nobody stood still. Everyone seemed to know that their manager, whose name was chanted last night, wasn’t treating this like another friendly.

But with no Tiote sitting in midfield, the Huddersfield attack found it easy to get in at and through the United back four.

It started well. Six minutes had gone when Newcastle created a decent opening which began with Cabella cutting inside right-back Joel Lynch. He passed to Sissoko who thought about switching play and then slipped a nice ball to Yoan Gouffran who had made a good run into the box.

And it was unlike the Frenchman to pull his shot across goal instead of making the goalkeeper, Alex Smithies, work.

But then on 16 minutes, Newcastle scored with a goal that combined passing, movement and the imagination that we want to see a lot of this season.

Cabella had been hungry for the ball, going looking for it even in areas he had no business to be in. Then he got possession on the right and showed great skill to beat Paul Dixon and slip the ball to Gouffran, whose cross to the back post was touched home by Riviere.

All done in a few seconds. It was good stuff.

For a while, Pardew would have liked what he saw. But his team dropped off the pace and then Huddersfield scored from nothing, although it was a top goal. On 36 minutes, the Yorkshire side’s new signing, Radoslaw Majewski, received the ball on the edge of the box.

He controlled, turned and aimed a curling shot well past Krul, who hardly moved.

Cabella almost restored his side’s lead with a shot from 20 yards five minutes before the break. The intention was right even if the direction just off.

Paul Thomas/Getty Images Remy Cabella in action for Newcastle against Huddersfield
Remy Cabella in action for Newcastle against Huddersfield
 

Huddersfield made 11 changes at half-time, while Pardew made a few switches as well in the second 45.

One of the home side’s new men, Duane Holmes, made Krul work on 57 minutes with a shot that fizzed along the ground. The Dutchman had to be smart to get down on it.

It was a difficult night to come to any real conclusions.

Huddersfield were stronger in the second half, they did have fresh legs in every position, and Newcastle found it difficult to create.

An effort from Huddersfield’s John Stead on 66 minutes deflected off Coloccini and looped into the net.

Newcastle levelled with two minutes to go. The ball broke to Cabella inside the box and, when one on one with Huddersfield keeper Joe Murphy, he dinked the ball over him with a chip Peter Beardsley would have been proud of.

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