Newcastle began their pre-season campaign with a 2-1 defeat against Oldham Athletic.

Siem de Jong captained the side and opened the scoring in the first half with a stunning volley, before the hosts hit back and scored through Timothy Dieng and trialist Willy Gros.

Alan Pardew sent out a team with a mix of youth and experience, with teenage keeper Jak Alnwick, Rolando Aarons, Adam Armstrong and Mehdi Abeid all starting.

Jack Colback and de Jong partnered Abeid in the middle and all three impressed – with the notable exception of Abeid’s less than decent corners.

Colback played the full 90 minutes and was bright throughout, always making himself available to receive the ball from the back four and rarely giving it away. Given that he can play a couple of different positions, the former Sunderland man got off to a good start in the holding midfield role.

Abeid used his powerful frame well and made a couple of forward runs that caught the eye. This performance certainly trumped his last one – when he looked out of his depth in the FA Cup defeat at Brighton two years ago.

But the star of the show from a Newcastle point of view was de Jong. Captaining the side, the Dutchman floated between the lines nicely and showed some nice touches. The cherry on the cake was his goal though, smashing a volley into the top corner when his free kick came back off the wall.

The free kick was won by Aarons, who accelerated away from two Oldham defenders before being brought down in what was his best contribution.

The match was a typical pre-season friendly, with no real rhythm or flow but the genuine first-team Newcastle players looked good enough to ease to victory had they all been on the pitch simultaneously.

However, there was one glaring exception.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa had another woeful game at the heart of the Magpies defence. Whenever a long ball or goal kick came towards him, the Oldham player would win the aerial contest easily. The only header the Frenchman won all night was from a cross that landed on his head in the first half and he never looked comfortable with the ball.

The whole performance was capped with Oldham’s winner. Yanga-Mbiwa had the ball near the halfway line and the whole Newcastle team ahead of him. Instead of passing it wide to Massadio Haidara (who played quite well down the left when he came on), the former Montpellier defender tried to dribble round an Oldham player and was tackled, leaving Newcastle outnumbered on the counter attack.

Had a more experienced defender been on the pitch the danger may have been dealt with easily but Remie Streete chose to dive in and try and win the ball back quickly. He missed and the home side broke away and Gros’s shot squirmed under Alnwick into the goal.

Hopefully Alan Pardew will have learned more about his squad from the game against the League One side, with more new signings still to return from holidays and bed in before the Premier League season kicks off in August.

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